Friday 18 April 2014

My recommendation to you

One of the (many) things I love about going into a real-world, physical bookshop is the potential to meet a book I wouldn't normally read.

Recommendations tables are a favourite hang out of mine, and if that doesn't work I have no problem with tapping the bookseller for all they're worth. Sure, it can be good to have suggestions based on favourite authors - they're safe - but with so many writers and genres out there it would be sad if we only stuck to what we know.

So I was particularly impressed when I visited The Kew Bookshop in west London and found myself surrounded by hundreds of note cards with mini introductions to all manner of books.

From award-winners to forgotten favourites, serious or light, novels I've read and many I've never seen before, all inviting browsers to consider something new. And for shy readers what could be a better way to meet a new book than lots of lovely hand-written introductions? Or, for those of us more prone to chatter, the cards are a perfect ice breaker with the bookseller or other customers.

For me the ice was broken by the card introducing The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Written by The Kew Bookshop's Mark, the description ends with 'it all makes for an incredibly generous and warm-hearted novel with beautifully drawn characters you really care about and a wonderfully lyrical and moving ending'.

Having read the plot synopsis, generous and warm-hearted were not words I was anticipating, so I'm looking forward to reading about a subject I've not encountered before and seeing how the bookshop's review applies.

While walking around the bookshop I took lots of photos of the cards, at the time thinking it would help share the excellent reviews and show you how great they are, but as I write I realise it would be wrong to share them here. Instead the only recommendation I need to share is to give is to encourage you to go and visit and see the cards for yourselves - and allow them to introduce you to your next great read. Not even a stone's throw from Kew Garden tube station it's certainly easy to find and definitely worth your time.

And the thing about recommendations? The reason I visited The Kew Bookshop was because someone got in touch to tell me how great the place is.

The Kew Bookshop
1-2 Station Approach, Richmond, London, TW9 3QB
Tel: 020 8940 0030

UPDATE: I've just heard The Kew Bookshop is under threat of closure. Bookshops are already far too endangered and it would be a tragedy to lose this little gem to 'luxury retail'. Please sign the petition to help save this one.


  1. i don't understand people who will only read one or two authors or a certain genre. i have over 12,000 books in my TBR pile, (no this is not a typo!!). i will probably not live long enough to read them all but since they are pretty much unsorted, it is always a 'crap shoot' to see what the next book is going to be...sometimes, unfortunately the print is sometimes way too small in the older ones and as good as the synopsis on the inside flap may sound, it sadly goes to the discard pile. (joys of growing old...MOL!!)

    1. Given my fear of running out of books to read (abibliophobia?) I'm most impressed by your way of doing things!

  2. I lived in Richmond for 2 years or so and never went! Sad times.

    1. Perhaps it's time to revisit your old stomping ground and see what you were missing?


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