The London Bookshop Crawl

I enlisted the help of a friend better up on the streets of London than myself and we set out to explore London’s bookshops.

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Some go in for rummaging in charity shops, crawling about to trawl through racks of clothes. Others go in for a pub crawl with their mates and then crawl home too. But me, being prematurely 70 years old, I opt for bookshops, so when I saw NinjaBookbox’s London Bookshop Crawl, I was very excited.

As I mentioned earlier this month, I was too late in booking tickets to get a place on one of the guided tours. Instead, I enlisted the help of a friend better up on the streets of London than myself and we set out to explore London’s bookshops. After a bit of a fumble on timing and a cup of coffee in a nearby café, we began our crawl in the lovely Belgravia Books. In which, I picked up London Stories: a collection of short stories unsurprisingly set in London.

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Good job Barb!

From here we headed toward Sloane Square to discover what rapidly became one of my favourite bookshops in all of London, The BookHaus. A cozy little shop set back off the busy street, TheBookHaus offers a relaxed atmosphere and a bargain box filled with books selling for £3 for paperbacks-£5 for hardbacks. The BookHaus is also part of the publishing house of the same name which is housed in the offices above the shop. I was lucky enough to speak to two of the editors, Emma and Silvana (pictured in the featured image), at great length about everything from literature and upcoming publications to how picturesque the shop is. Time incredibly well spent in my opinion. Continue reading “The London Bookshop Crawl”

Interview: Jon of Word on the Water

Well, the way I look at it is if it doesn’t sell today, it’ll sell tomorrow. You know what I mean. Like as I was saying many bookshops closed because they wanted the quick sell but that just not how it is now.

You may or may not have seen it, but earlier this week I found the place at Word on the Water, the London bookbarge. Needless to say, the name alone had my wordplay side gripped from the moment I saw it. After I left, I could not stop thinking about how it had come about, and got on the Facebook to ask for a word with them to fulfil my craving.

Thankfully Jon, the owner, agreed to talk with me when I went back to visit later in the week. The afternoon was warm and sunny when I went back to meet Jon, and being the amateur I am I had prepared a pen and paper set of questions. Almost immediately I regretted this decision as Jon had so much to say I tidied them away pretty quickly. Let’s skip the rest of the rigmarole I keep typing and erasing and get down to what we actually spoke about…

So, I suppose my first question would have to be when did you start up the bookbarge, and how did you come up with the idea?

Jon: Well in 2011, we started up here because…well I had a bookstall, I still do, it runs on Saturdays at Archway, word on the Street that is. But anyway, so my mate he lost his job and came to work on the bookstall. And we were living down the canal at the time and one morning he said to me “Wouldn’t it be good if we could just stay at the canal and didn’t have to go to work?”. And so that’s what happened.

Wow, that’s literally the dream, wouldn’t it be good to have work come to you. So, does the barge have to move along the canal, I imagine barges aren’t often stationary?

Continue reading “Interview: Jon of Word on the Water”

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.

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. Continue reading “London’s Literary Locs Vol. 1”