I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
I have always loved books, and learnt to read quickly and voraciously from an early age. A weekly trip to the library was essential and often had to be topped up with an extra visit one day after school. As a child in my parents’ village my first steps of independence were to go to by myself to the village library and the newsagents to buy some sweets with my pocket money. As I got older I have tried to set myself a yearly reading list, of volumes I both want to, and should read.
At my secondary school we had a book club, located in a cupboard the junior common room and open twice a week, where I remember working my way through the entirety of Elinor Brent-Dyer’s Chalet School series in a term; when we read John Wyndham’s Death of Grass in English literature, I borrowed and read everything else he had written by the end of term.
With the guidance of an excellent librarian I had discovered the gentler novels of the 1920’s through to the 1940’s; suitable for younger teens; H E Bates, Somerset Maugham and Antonia White and amongst others. Of course the latest “bonk-buster” would be passed around the class to be secretly read, and hidden at the bottom of our school bags.
The speed at which I get through books means that I usually borrow rather than buy fiction; I have some much loved favourite books, bought over the years; which I read and reread – there is nothing as comforting as an oft read and well loved book you first met many years ago when you are not well – I reread Brideshead Revisited when I am stuck in bed.
For non fiction I do love visiting a bookshop, and will regularly make the trip into central London to the Waterstone’s flagship store on Piccadilly.
It is Europe’s largest bookshop, with 5 floors, including a coffee shop and 5th floor rooftop bar. I can quite happily spend all day in there, and often hold meetings as there is free wifi, the top floor bar offers very good snacks and cake. Additionally the location is perfect with access from numerous tube lines, and bus routes. The ground floor is always very busy and buzzy, but step into the lift or climb the stairs and the shop becomes far calmer.
If you forget your notebook there is is a fantastic and huge stationery section on the ground floor at the Jermyn Street entrance. Notebook heaven. Everything seems better, and deadlines more attainable when you have a new notebook!
I noticed a large new Russian language section – reflecting the both changing nature of London and the Russian owner of the chain. (The day to day management is done by the founder of Daunt books – whose successful focus was to make Waterstones feel like a local bookshop).
What I really, really appreciate about the store is that you are positively encouraged to linger; comfortable sofas and armchairs abound, you can (and I know that Ed frequently does) read for several hours if not all day. Staff are super helpful; Stan in the cookbook section spent about 15 minutes with me (and a good few flights of stairs) trying to find an elusive copy of Getting Things Done, which was showing on the computer but was neither in Business, Self Development or on the New Year, New You table on the ground floor.
Bookshop love at its best.
My 2014 Reading List
Sew It Up
I want to start being creative again, and to make things. I love sewing and have fallen out of the habit.
I am exploring macrobiotics at the moment, and this is an attractive and easy introduction. The author was Madonna’s personal macrobiotic chef for 7 years which seems a good recommendation.
Every Grain of Rice
I am a huge fan of Fuchsia Dunlop (she was the first Westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine) and this is a great introduction to simple Chinese Home Cooking. I am sent numerous cookbooks to review, but it is utterly pleasurable to buy one for fun, which I do not have to write about.
Plate to Pixel
This falls under the category of personal development and training, and I hope will vastly improve my food photography.
Engineers of Victory
Was on Ed’s list. He devours history books.
Getting Things Done
The classic book on, well, getting things done. Being a freelancer I am juggling lots of things and need a watertight system to catch everything that I need to do (as well as things I am waiting for, and things I want to do someday). David Allen’s system works well. We currently have Ed’s sister’s copy of the book, buying our own copy can now be ticked off the to do list.
We are giving the 5:2 diet one last chance. Even it if does not work for us there should be plenty of inspiration for lighter meals in the book.
The China Study
Detailing many things that are wrong with the modern (standard American) diet, the book examines how eating well can radically cut incidents of disease, and, I believe, advocates a plant based diet. It has been on the list to read for ages (see Getting Things Done above)