As the first place recommended before I'd even written a word, it took approximately 370 days before I finally made it through the doors of this central London bookshop, which is probably a shameful thing to admit given how close I live to the capital. But if there's one thing I've learnt with bookshopping, it's that - just like you wouldn't turn straight to the back page of a book - bookshop visits can't be rushed.
Even when they include cake.
But back to the important stuff.
London Review Bookshop is one of the more famous indies I've had the pleasure of visiting, with its own magazine – London Review of Books – and cake shop, with the former enjoying a massive following. All of which made me uncertain of what to expect and, frankly, terrified of writing about somewhere that's already so well known and loved. Meaning I never pushed too hard when trying to pin down a friend to meet for tea, cake and a browse.
Beyond the fiction there were books crammed into every corner, and if bookshoppers choose to venture behind the till they'll find stairs to the basement and a well stocked children's section, more non-fiction and a comfy seating area to rest a while, enjoying the peace and calm of your surroundings. Not that anyone would want to sit downstairs for too long when there's the lure of the cake shop next door.
Entered via the bookshop, this is no ordinary cafe, but a reading cake lover's paradise complete with tea menu and more books to drool over (hopefully not literally).
Given I was the only reader in our group, I was surprised when I realised we'd enjoyed a good couple of hours in the book and cake shop. Had I been alone I could've possibly dragged it out even longer as I got comfortable in the cafe, but as it is I had to be sociable.
My purchases of Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami and long-awaited find of The Unknown Unknown by Mark Forsyth had to come home to be read instead. My bookshop visit may be over, but the memory lives on every time I turn a page.
London Review Bookshop
14 Bury Place,
Tel: 020 72699030
@LRBbookshop @LRBcakeshop @LRB