Confucius, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Desiderius Erasmus, Voltaire and Galileo Galilei all found enlightenment and knowledge in either exile or isolation. Their reading taught them valuable life lessons and inspired new philosophies; just as many of us may have discovered over the long months of lockdown.
Lockdown has been a good time to catch up on reading and provided an opportunity to expand our knowledge of many topics. For the foreseeable future, we may have to adapt to a more confined and remote life, and reading is a good way to fill the void. Don’t worry if you haven’t read much in the past as there is no better time to start than the present.
We have compiled a list of bookshops which will definitely catch your attention. These shops offer online purchases, or you may even want to take advantage of the new social distancing regulations to go in for yourself and have a peruse of what they have on display. Opening times are subject to the new regulations, so be sure to check online if you visit them in person.
John Sandoe Books 10 Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea, London SW3 2SR johnsandoe.com/browse-catalogues/
This bookstore offers a wide range of cerebral novels in a variety of genres. If you’re unsure of what exact category you would like to read, then definitely give this highly rated book shop a visit as they have hundreds of books on offer. They publish quarterly catalogues as what they advertise online is a fraction of what they have in stock. They deliver books, but be sure to drop in if you are in the King’s Road area, the shop is just a stone’s throw away from Sloane Square.
Persephone Books offers thought provoking books and is almost entirely dedicated to selling and supporting female authors. The books on offer tend to give a female perspective in a multitude of genres from history through to art. Persephone books are available on their website or you can buy them from your local bookshop since the publisher distributes books all over the world to ensure that readers are not left out.
World’s End Bookshop 357 King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 5ES worlds-end-bookshop.co.uk
The World’s End Bookshop buys and sells second-hand, collectors’ and vintage books. They have an array of subjects such as history, poetry, art, sci-fi and the classics like Dickens and the Brontes: everything an academic or amateur would enjoy! This shop is a cultural landmark on the King’s Road, founded in 1986, and is a must-visit for those who find comfort in reading and bookshops. They are a 2-minute walk from the Bluebird Restaurant on the King’s Road and have convenient public transport around them.
National Theatre Bookshop National Theatre, Bishop’s, London SE1 9PX shop.nationaltheatre.org.
For those readers who are interested in more thespian themes, the National Theatre Bookshop specialises in plays, film scripts, theatrical novels, and as one could expect they have a range of Shakespeare’s works along with treatises on them and on past theatrical productions. The shop overflows with books and scripts, and offers a subscription service as a gateway to viewing the newest plays and books delivered every month. The bookshop is within the National Theatre complex and inside you will also find prints and posters, aprons and dish towels (etc), perfect to take home or to give as a present. The nearest tube station is Temple, just over the river and a 5-minute walk away.
BFI Bookshop Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XT shop.bfi.org.uk/books.html
Less than a minute away from the National Theatre Bookshop, the British Film Institute bookshop has focused on publishing and selling books to fuel readers’ interests in film and cinema. Ideal for film fans, students, teachers, professionals and casual readers. This award-winning institution displays paperback editions on many classic and cherished films, whether it is 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Back to the Future, this bookshop has it. Their online store offers a broader selection than the in-store shelves, and if you visit you also get to see a national landmark rich in culture.
The Hellenic Bookservice will entice anyone who is enthusiastic about ancient Greek or Roman publications. It claims to have the world’s largest collection of classical and modern Greek literature for sale. Its classical department encompasses history, mythology, art and music, and specialises in Theology and English translations of ancient poetry. If you are keen to learn Latin or ancient Greek, the shop offers learning DVDs and books to look at in your free time. The shop is just down the road from Tufnell Park tube station.
Stanfords 7 Mercer Walk, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9FA www.stanfords.co.uk
For the globetrotters and travelling enthusiasts, or for sparking your general interest in exploring the world, Stanfords is the bookshop for you. Situated around the corner from Covent Garden tube station, this geography-fanatic shop sells travel fiction books, such as Around the World in Eighty Days, travel guides and books on interests such as hiking, rock climbing, natural history and more. Stanfords also sell useful travelling accessories such as compasses and maps. You will find guides, globes and flags in the shop to cover anywhere you may wish to explore.
European Bookshop 123 Gloucester Road, South Kensington, London SW7 4TE www.europeanbookshop.com
For any devoted linguists out there, the European Bookshop may be the place for you. This shop offers a range of literature written in most European languages that you can think of. If you want to brush up on your language skills or are just beginning to learn a language, you can find what you need here; not just for European languages but also many others such as Arabic, Chinese or Korean. In fact almost any language you can think of, they have got it. Just a three minute walk from Gloucester Road tube station if you decide to pop in.
KCW London is a monthly, quality, London publication serving Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, and select boroughs including Wandsworth, and parts of Richmond, Lambeth, North London and the City.