Which is how, in the middle of this week's visit, I briefly found myself feeling a little alone (spoiler alert, the loneliness didn't last long).
Not wanting to disturb, I got stuck into the books. And what a collection they are. This is quite definitely a literary bookshop, but not in the sense that it should scare off timid readers. It's a place where you can feel confident that no matter what you buy it'll be good. Also, if you fall in love with a particular author found on their shelves, you're almost guaranteed to find the rest of their works there too. Which is how I started dithering over a number of fascinating-sounding titles.
During all this browsing, including a brief inspection down a few more steps to a nook perfect for hiding away in, the bookshop had begun to fill up and I'd naturally been tuning in and out of the quiet reading of the mother to her child. Torn between wanting to sit down with the family and not wanting to intrude on a tender moment, I instead zoned in and out of the other conversations around me.
Then sense prevailed and I remembered one of the people in this backroom crowd was a bookseller. I forgot my loneliness and went to say hi to someone I knew would happily talk books without the risk of my showing myself up as a nosy parker. We compared reads (past and present), reviewed my selections and (after consultation with another bookseller) agreed on my choice of Roberto Bolaño for the author. Next came the title itself, this took a bit more work but eventually saw me pick The Third Reich. (Which isn't a sentence I ever thought I'd write.)
Okay, so the helpful bookseller may not be my new bosom buddy and he's unlikely to make my Christmas list, but one thing is certain: We're all friends when it comes to bookshops.
The Broadway Bookshop
6 Broadway Market, London Fields, London, E8 4QJ.
Tel: 020 7241 1626.