On the list of go-to answers for favorite things to do, reading is near the top for many people. In a bookshop (generally referred to as a bookstore in the United States), we find worlds we can live in for a season. The best London bookshops have many things to offer. For the purposes of this list, the credentials for a smashing (British slang for “awesome”) bookshop are a vast selection of books, an excellent atmosphere, and a diverse array of non-literary merchandise available.
London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL
The books found in the London Review Bookshop (LRB) range from fiction to children’s literature to poetry to travel. LRB customers love that it has the feel of a secondhand bookshop. To help enhance the cozy feel, the London Review Bookshop has a cake shop with one-of-a-kind, baked-to-order cakes. The LRB hosts at least one event a week. These events range from a monthly Late Night shopping, where customers get 10% off any book purchased that evening, to a World Literature Series, which includes translation and literary events that focus on various genres of foreign literature, such as crime fiction, picture books, and the Bible. At these World Lit. Events, the group members get to share what they know on the subject with an expert (scholar or author) leading the discussion. If you would like to go to one of these meetings, get your ticket early. With only eight spots available per session, the tickets go quickly.
For more information, visit www.londonreviewbookshop.co.uk
Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, 107 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DT
Foyles Bookshop at Charing Cross Road is the largest of the six Foyles Bookshops in London. If the five levels of books aren’t incentive enough, Foyles Bookshop at Charing Cross Road has a café where you can stay warm with a cup of English tea and enjoy that new book you just bought. The crowning attraction of Foyles Bookshop at Charing Cross Road is that it’s a book mall with plenty of space to lose yourself in a good book or two.
For more information, visit www.foyles.co.uk
Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4 QW
Daunt Books’s architecture sets the mood for its visitors with a beautifully arched stained-glass window and long main room. Daunt Books arranges its titles by country of origin, and because it doesn’t matter what type of book it is—biography, history, guide, or novel—finding the book or books you want becomes a journey. Daunt also sells book bundles, bags, and mugs.
For more information, visit www.dauntbooks.co.uk
Persephone Books, 59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3NB
Persephone Books is a publisher and a bookseller. The publishing side prints books that are intelligent, beautifully written, and thought provoking, written by mid-twentieth-century female authors. Every Persephone Book is covered in a simple gray sleeve, making them unique among the flashy and multicolored covers of today. The books appeal to busy people who want titles that are neither too literary nor too commercial. Persephone has a book-of-the-month gift option for up to 12 months, book groups, and an exclusive Persephone notebook with nearly 200 blank pages for writing or drawing. Upon entering Persephone Books you are taken on a ride of adventure by the books that reside therein.
For more information, visit www.persephonebooks.co.uk
Gosh!, 1 Berwick Street, London, W1F 0DR
If you love comics, Gosh! is the bookshop for you. Gosh!’s range of graphic novels is second to none, and it is always striving to source new and interesting products, no matter the genre. From translated European albums to mainstream superhero antics, compulsively readable manga to cutting-edge small press, and everything in between, Gosh! has got something for everyone.
If you don’t want to miss a comic, you can set up a standing order, the ideal way to avoid missing favorite issues. You can let your inner geek out as you browse through the graphic novels Gosh! has to offer its customers. Gosh! brings out the inner child in everyone, young and old.
For more information, visit www.goshlondon.com
Feature photo by Amanda Breann, cc