As much as I love a bookshop with bestsellers all laid out on the table, the latest biographies displayed in the window and the feel of crisp new covers as you pick up a book to read the description on the back cover, the bookshop I frequented the most in London was a little Marie Curie charity shop in Belsize Park.
Belsize Park is situated in one of the best parts of London (ok, I may be slightly biased, but here’s why). It is just up the hill from Camden – got to love those markets, the Goths, and Bar 55 (two for one cocktail happy hours!) – and just down the hill from Hampstead (one of the literary hotspots of London – and has been for centuries!). Yet the best part of this location is that, my little bookshop as it came to be known, seemed to received all the cast offs from the Hampstead elite – those with enough money to churn through books and send them to the charity shop before best selling hardcovers had even made it into paperbacks!
This meant I had the choice of Zadie Smith, Alexander McCall Smith, Charles Dickens, Marian Keyes, John Le Carre and Harry Potter on the shelves – all for just £1! Yes – my little bookshop sold paperbacks for just £1, and when they had a sale on (which was frequently), I’d be able to nab a bargain – three books for £1!
A visit to my little bookshop fast became my Sunday morning ritual. Husband would head out to Belsize Village to stock up on freshly baked Belsize Bagels. These would then be consumed with homemade blackberry jam (the blackberries themselves picked from Hampstead by husband’s hands) and topped with cream cheese. Delicious, delectable and thoroughly indulgent.
So what better way to finish off the morning than a trip to the bookshop! I certainly burned off a few calories carrying my purchases home!