Planning ahead is a very good skill to have. Apparently.
It would certainly have come in handy a few weeks ago, when we set off in search of orange bunting-clad bookshops celebrating National Bookshop Day. The day was a success, but it could have gone very wrong when the first bookshop we visited turned out to not been the bookshop we were looking for.
The mix-up occurred due to my inability to remember names combined with a vaguely similar address, so it's a miracle we even ended up at a bookshop. However, given this bookshop's apparently not even on the internet, I'm seeing my error as a happy turn of events: If I'd gone to the right place, who knows how long it might have taken me to even appreciate the existence of Highgate Bookshop.
Everything you could want an independent bookshop to be, it's packed with a great selection of books and obviously well-frequented by the community. There was room to move but the shop was busy enough to mean manners were needed to comfortably work my way around all the shelves.
The bookshop's clearly split into non-fiction, children's and fiction, with a good mix of new releases and standout titles highlighted for those in a hurry. General fiction covers two walls and is impressively varied. In particular, I was pleased to find their book-buyer obviously appreciates their classics and had selected a number of more unusual books by some of my favourite authors. This led to a long time eyeing up the works of Edith Wharton, who is rarely seen beyond her most famous title*, with the only reason I didn't buy from among this selection being that I need to check which ones I own. Instead I bought Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell, another writer who can't be recommended enough.
Like this week's blog, my time in Highgate Bookshop was brief, but my appreciation of the place isn't. The fact is, the story of this destination is simply that it's a stereotypically good new bookshop: a place to escape the every day and find your next favourite read, in a smart setting and the company of other book lovers.
9 Highgate High Street,
Tel: 020 8348 8202
PS. I usually like to include a link to the bookshop's website and social media, but apparently Highgate Bookshop cannot be found in the virtual world, so instead here's a link to a (much more detailed) write-up at The Matilda Project. And if you'd like to see more (and better) photos, check out London Books. Finally, if anyone does know of a web link that might get people to the bookshop itself I'd appreciate your sharing it.
*The Age of Innocence happens to be my all-time favourite book, I'm still collecting up her slightly lesser-read works.