London’s Literary Locs Vol. 1

Want to feel the literary history and spend as little as possible, while avoiding the crowded tourist traps? Moz’s big day walking the bookshops of London Town has you covered.

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Apologies for the long break, it’s been a hectic week, and my portable dongle ran out of internet before Sky have managed to hook me up. It seems the elders of the internet do not know who I am. Luckily my local library has internet access so I’ve managed to find a (free) haven to post from. In reviewing news, I do have a review of The Secret Scripture to come but thought seeing as you’ve waited 8 years since the book’s release you’ll wait a little long to hear what it is I think.

So, as the better half had an interview in central London yesterday afternoon I decided to get up and out and do some touring of my own. Due to my cash strapped nature I avoided the tourist spots of Platform 9 3/4, Baker St., and anything else that charges entry opting instead for the peace of looking in second hand book stores. Keep reading if you want to see great spots for reading/buying  books while avoiding crowds.

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This guy just hangs around outside the British Library.

Starting from King’s Cross underground station, the first stop had to be The British Library. Follow the signs for The British Library from the station, it shouldn’t take long to find the library, and once there you can see the massive collection of tomes available.

After breathing enough of that beautiful library smell and seeing the free exhibits, the other half and I headed to buy some of the titles coming up in the book club we are part of. Taking the Euston Road exit from the library we took a right along Euston Rd. then crossed the road and headed down Marchmont St. to Judd’s Books. Judd’s is a charming shop filled with hundreds and thousands of secondhand copies, downstairs in the old cellar there were even more than we had time to see as we were running along to try and fit in as many shops as possible on our tour.

Lucky for us, the helpful assistant in Judd’s pointed us out the door and to the left toward Skoob, yet another second hand shop. However on our way we did find ourselves walking past the rather famous (in certain circles) Gay’s the Word Bookshop. Made famous in the recent movie PRIDE (2014). This was actually my favourite of the bookshops we visited yesterday, possibly because of the title, you know I’m a sucker for a good title. But also because of the selection of titles and genres of LGBT literature and of course, the helpful staff member who didn’t roll his eyes when we asked for help finding a book that turned out to be in plain sight.

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Some of the Folio Editions in Skoob

Following picking up the copy of Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ we continued down Marchmont to Skoob. Which, it turns out is Books spelt backwards! That took me altogether too long to figure out I’m ashamed, but not too proud, to admit. Skoob is a basement shop crammed with folio editions, ancient manuscripts and even sheet music. If it’s been printed, you might have a chance of finding a copy in here, it’s like Disneyland for book lovers; quite magical. Indeed, the first book I put my hand on was Peyton Place, yet another book club read for later in the year.

If like me you’re exhausted from all this walking, the next stop on this mini-tour is for you: Tavistock Sq. Garden, a beautiful little park featuring the bust of Virginia Woolf you might have seen on our Instagram account a few weeks ago. Reading in the park is definitely the reprieve from the traffic and bustle I needed just then. However, given as Bloomsbury is one of the most famous parts of London for literature, don’t be surprised to see many others out and about in this area. Also, you’re in central London so quiet is relative, something I have to remind myself of constantly.

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Entryway to Any Amount of Books

From the park we walked to Leicester Square, or at least in that general direction, to get to the Charing Cross Rd. Bookshops, a must for any book-lover. Added bonus: you get to pass by the theatre for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and see hundreds outside queuing if you catch it between shows. These shops each cater to those with big intellects, bigger bookshelves, and of course, deep pockets. Naturally, there are regular books in there too, I’m just exaggerating for dramatic effect, although Any Amount of Books does have a rare book section behind the till, so you KNOW that’s fancy.

Lastly, we happened upon this amazing statue in Leicester Sq., erected to honour the timeless Agatha Christie. I say happened upon because we were just wandering around to waste the last few minutes of raised tube fairs for peak hours so it was far from intentional.

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Total cost of entries: £0.

Total cost of books: £18.50

So that was our London Literary Locs Vol.1. If you’ve visited these places, let us know what you think, or if you think I’ve missed a shop or two, or seven, or ten, please drop us a line in the comments.

-Moz

3 thoughts on “London’s Literary Locs Vol. 1

    1. Thanks Anna, we had a good time looking around! It was an added bonus that we had a packed lunch!

      As for the cost of the books, the three shops we were first in were very reasonable and so we bought there. That said the prices for second hand copies in the others were all similar with bargain bins outside!

      Liked by 1 person

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