Everyone laments the death of the book shop. Apparently Kindles are ruling our brainwaves, iPads are essentially burning the printed word and shoving emojis down our throat to provide megalolz. But then you look at Foyles‘ new flagship store on Charing Cross road and know that the rumours can’t be true. Here lies five storeys of pure, unadulterated, carefully bound, beautiful smelling literature, cheering up the perusers and browsers that float in from the cold.
It’s impossible to know where to start when confronted with so many books. It’s how I feel in libraries too: a vague sense of panic in case I miss something; a underlying ‘fear of missing out’ if I pick the wrong title; and feeling totally overwhelmed when looking up and just seeing books. It’s a rare pleasure to take the time to actually go shopping and take in everything around you. I hardly go into actual stores anymore; a slave instead to the ‘Pinterest > eCommerce > delivered to desk’ circle of overdraft doom, but I love to just look (and inevitably, buy).
This trip was planned in advance. Since moving out of a shared flat with AJ, we’ve ensured that we have regular ‘dates’ to ease the pain of not seeing each other every day, and this was first on our list. I had a list in my head of the books I actually wanted to buy, but that all fell to pieces as soon as I came across the recipe book section. You may have noticed that food is becoming a very regular topic on this blog, and my obsession with it grows daily. I snapped up some cheap and cheerfuls, plus a bookset (that’s a box set of books and I’m pretty sure I just invented that word. TRADEMARKED!) about bread making for my mum.
We meandered through fiction and non-fiction, on to crime and sci-fi, through towards history and children’s books, picking up books along the way with reckless abandon and the heady smell of ink to spur us on (dramatic, isn’t it?). We really were unstoppable though. In a crappy attempt to whittle down our choices, we sat on the floor by the Latin section and read the blurbs of our choices out to each other, hoping that the other one would make our decision easier.
I settled on the recipe books (budget meals, healthy dinners and ideas with fish), Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Illustrated Man’ (I recently fell head over heels for ‘Fahrenheit 451’) and ‘Eat My Heart Out‘ by Zoe Pilger (rave reviews from Dazed and Confused, but I’m half way through and praying it gets better…). Of course we then went to the cafe and had an obligatory giant cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows before struggling home with our purchases.
You really can make a whole evening out of a visit to Foyles. I’ve written about supporting book shops in the past, and contrary to other people’s criticism, I think these ‘superstores’ are a great way of luring in customers and keeping the digital threat at bay. It just so happens that Foyles is also on my way home from the office, so it’s highly likely I’ll be dropping in again very soon…