Have you ever heard of a bookshop crawl before? I hadn't, before Rochelle asked if I wanted to join her on one. (You know Rochelle - my aerial friend and fellow bibliophile.) Like a pub crawl, but round bookshops.
This was an organised event in London, running from Friday to Sunday. We could only make Sunday, so we met on the train early yesterday morning and spent an excited couple of hours planning our day and talking books.
|View from the Train Station before I left
We picked our first route because it was the one with the most stops. It started in Soho, with Gosh Comics. They were offering 10% off on books to bookshop crawl participants, but we wanted to look at the comics. I was tempted by Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur and she with something from Wonder Woman but we both ended up with Buffy Season 8 Part 1 instead - fitting, seeing as I'm very keen to have her in my Buffy game when I finally run it...
From there, we walked round Chinatown to seek out the next stop, where I was hoping to pick up a book of Chinese folktales or mythology. Unfortunately, we couldn't find the shop! Still, with Chinese New Year coming up, it looked stunning and we weren't sorry for the walk, even if we'd have liked to have found the shop.
|Red lanterns of Chinatown
Then past theatres to get to the next stop - including the one where 'The Cursed Child' is showing. The external set dressing was beautiful.
|The cursed child!
And onto Foyles. Most of the shops were smaller, independent stores, and Foyles definitely isn't small! I loved it all the same. I wanted a reference book there, and spotted Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. It's a book Pterry says every author or aspiring author should have on their shelves, and is full of the sort of slightly random information I love. Rochelle also picked up some books on mythology and fantasy creatures, including one with beautiful illustrations.
|Inside Foyles, I think I found what I want on my gravestone
The last stop on this route was Forbidden Planet. I hoped they'd have some interested RPG or similar, but nothing caught either of our eyes and we walked away with their goody bag and nothing else. Still, it was exciting to get free stuff just for being on the bookshop crawl.
The second route we wanted to take we'd chosen based on Twitter reports, so we headed to Charing Cross. I'd mentioned the crawl to Ronelle, a colleague who lives in London, and she'd mentioned her favourite bookshop was on Charing Cross Road and there were loads... The one officially part of the crawl was Any Amount of Books, and was the one we liked best of the ones we nosed in. It also turns out to be Ronelle's favourite shop! It was crowded for such a small shop, so we didn't get anything there, but I think I'll be back another day.
|Any Amount of Books
The next stop was Persephone Books, which was the one Twitter had encouraged us towards. We were impressed with how pretty it was outside. Inside, all the books were bound in beautiful pale grey. They publish out of print books, primarily by female authors of the 20th Century. The inside of the covers has beautiful print from the year the book was originally published; they do bookmarks with the print on one side and the book blurb on the back, which crawl participants could pick up as many as they wanted for free, so I grabbed a couple for books I liked the look of. We both picked up a book of short stories (which I love as a way of finding new authors), and they offered a discount if you bought 3 books so I also picked up a short horror story, The Victorian Chaise-Longue, that looked suitably creepy.
Next stop was the London Review Bookshop, though by the time we got there we were both starting to wear out (or at least, I definitely was and if Rochelle wasn't she was kind enough to pretend to be). They have a cake shop attached that has a great reputation, but unfortunately it wasn't open on Sundays.
|London Review Bookshop
There was also meant to be a stop at Oxfam Books, which we passed as we headed to the tube station. We were too tired by now, so instead made our way back to Waterloo, were we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a spot of people-watching until our train came in.
Then home. I messaged Husbit, suggesting he might like to meet me at the station (thinking he could carry my books home). We flicked through Brewer's Dictionary, trying to find the most interesting or amusing facts. As we got closer to Rochelle's stop, I messaged again to point out the car might also like to meet me... I was very grateful he agreed, because I'm not entirely sure I could have walked the 15min it would take to get me home!
All in all, a wonderful day with a lovely person. Now I'm just looking forward to working through my loot!