Waterstones Piccadilly! So … well, so many books. There is difficult to say anything else, except that any store that has four or five floors of books is a store where I’d be happy to live.
It was also here that I was reminded of one of the great things with this UK bookshop-tour: talking to booksellers about their own favourite recommendation.
This is how the conversation usually goes:
Me: “I am only allowed to buy one book, so can you recommend one to me?”
Them: “What do you like?”
Me: “Anything” (quite true)
Them; “What was the last book you read?” (excellent question to find out about taste! Mine right now: Enchanted April)
Me: “Don’t worry about me. Give me something that you‘ve read and loved.”
And either they immediately head ot to two or three or possibly four books, all of them interesting, or they say something like this, slightly apologetic:”Well … it’s fiction you’re after, right? I’m more into non-fiction/childrens book/young adult”
“Anything is fine.”
And then you can just relax and enjoy the passion with which they speak about their favourites, the brilliant books they’ve read. In Waterstones Piccadilly the conversation (non-fiction), e.g., went something like this:
“Oh, where is it… it’s absolutely brilliant. This one is also very good, of course, but … no, wait, here it is. Oh! No, I changed my mind. This one instead. I read it in one evening, and then passed it along to a friend who did the same. Definitely this one.”
Her recommendation: Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz
“It’s based on a true story; concerns an important topic, and reads like an international thriller.”
If you have nothing to do for an evening or a weekend, I highly recommend visiting your locan bookshop, ask the person behind the till for anything he or she has personally loved, and just buy it. Allow yourself to be surpriced. And enchanted.
I think I also shocked Louise a little bit, with the wild abandon with which I books. I walked in there, saw I book, picked it up from the table, and a minute later decided to buy it, happily breaking my one-book-rule yet another time.
“So you had wanted to buy that for some time?” Louise asked.
“What? No, we just got here.”
“But you’ve read about it before?”
“So you just walked up to it and decided to buy it?”
First of all: it’s title was Arsenic for Tea. Secondly, the cover looked nice. Thirdly, it mentioned Agatha Christie and cosy crime on the cover, in a shameless bid to make readers like me think: “Well, who doesn’t need some arsenic for tea and some quiet, cosy killings? Not like any of those modern murders, no, simple, traditional Brittish ones.”
And it obviously works.