There is a lot to be said for booktrails around book shops – in fact the author Emma Chapman, author of ‘How to be a Good Wife’ is herself currently indie bookshop trailing up and down the country visiting lots of hidden and not so hidden gems of literary goodness. What a dream job! We’ve done a few ourselves this week – only a few – a kind of mini bookshopcrawl – and it’s been fun. Wonder what Emma’s book haul might be!
The biggest and newest bookshop we visited last week was the brand new spanking Foyles in the middle of Charring Cross Road. I was excited about this one – as having seen the huge amount of work that the booksellers had done by merely filling the shelves and getting the store ready was amazing to watch. See the video here –
As soon as I walked in the large glass doors, light flooded into the entrance – like a scene of Downton Abbey when you walk in the main doors and see the grand staircase of the house – but instead of women dressed for dinner and men suited in classic jackets, the only visions I saw were well dressed book displays and book jackets making themselves quite at home thank you very much on shelves, tables, the stairs…
I felt a bit giddy… I mean where do I go first? Straight to the back where the children’s section was with some really nice table displays, turn right and head to the latest releases, and literary gifts near the tills. What about all those lovely floors to explore? Which one? There’s even a store directory – now that is a book department store is it not?
But then I looked a bit further – why not visit the cafe – the sign brilliantly displayed on vintage typewriter keys….I say that, it took me a further 40 minutes to get there as, well, I kept getting distracted….
The store is just one delight and discovery after another. The music section, with music gifts, merchandise all dotted around and displayed in imaginative ways…The ‘party’ table with all those having book birthdays having a ball….The crime vaults…
And my personal favourite – the translated section and the foreign language fiction – Aah I can’t tell you how much time I spent here (or books bought). Separated by language and country – aah I felt as if this book shop had been arranged just for me. Ever since Grant and Cutler had gone to that great bookshop n the sky, I had been I could wander via country and read the words of Carlos Ruiz Zafon in his native Spanish, then wander to read Muriel Barbery in French.
Then off to the translated titles…hmm this looks good 😉
Wandering around the corner, I discovered the section that was to kept me in its throes for a good 3 hours. Was it three? I only know that it was bright sunshine when I entered the store and pitch black when I left.
But that is where the real magic of a bookshop experience lies…that when you come out you have no real idea and no real care of how long you’ve been in there.
Foyles flagship store is at 107 Charing Cross Road in London – http://www.foyles.co.uk/