Wednesday 11 December 2013

One final purchase on a bookshop crawl for #BAMB

There comes a point in any good pub crawl when you're a little but more drunk than you should be, you've spent too much money, dawdled a little too long in each pub and - if you're a girl - your feet hurt.

At this point you have a number of options, among them are admitting defeat, stopping buying drinks and heading home, or instead you can find your second wind, take a different tack and find a new burst of energy. Admittedly where booze is concerned you probably shouldn't've drunk so much, but when it comes to books I can highly recommend the latter option. And that's exactly what happened on my bookshop crawl.

By the time I reached Belgravia Books I was in the equivalent situation: I was running late and carrying a very heavy bag of books, but I was happy.

The bookshop was a mass of colour and books and just the tonic I needed. A five minute walk from Victoria train station, Belgravia Books is packed with all the variety a discerning bookshopper could need and I again found myself marvelling at what I saw - I may have walked around a number of bookshops that day, but my journey never once felt repetitious.

From the book art above the shelves - which revealed further delights when you looked behind the front rows of books - to the £5 fiction section that proved independent doesn't have to mean full price, I couldn't help but drink in the view.

However, as is only natural at this stage in any good crawl, I was tired. And whilst I was enjoying the view my decision-making capabilities had pretty much run out. I needed help.

Fortunately there was a friendly bookseller on hand to come to my aid. After a brief chat in which I explained how much I'd gorged on books and just needed something fun to revive myself he came up with a number of suggestions and, much to my relief, patiently talked me through them so helping to reduce the number of tough decisions I had to make. Not that this took him particularly long, because within moments of our conversation he'd picked out Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos - I'm sure I don't need to remind you of my weakness for translated fiction.

With this choice a weight was lifted from my shoulders and I was able to further enjoy my surroundings, chatting with the bookseller about the shops and our love of books. He even introduced me to the Love Your Indie loyalty card, which after ten stamps entitles the holder to a free book. As you'd expect I'm not far off my first reward, and I think this scheme sounds like a wonderful way to reward bookshop fans for their support.

But back to Belgravia. I had hoped that before writing this post I would return to the bookshop to meet their resident pet Baxter, but as he only works Wednesdays I've not - yet - been able to make this happen. Having followed his Twitter feed I've discovered he has impeccable taste in books, so if the human I spoke to is anything to go by I'm sure I'll have an excellent time talking books with Baxter too.

In the meantime my bookshop crawl means I've some reading to do...

Belgravia Books
59 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London, SW1W 0NZ
Tel: 020 7259 9336

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