Skoob bookS

It took me a shamefully long time to get the pun in the name of this bookstore even though they make it obvious in the sign. An excellent collection of books here in a space that reminds me somewhat of the basement of The Strand before it got its fancy renovation.

They sell the Penguin mugs, though not all of them. Jane Austen’s Persuasion seems a bit more difficult to find for example. Pride & Prejudice, yes. You can guess which mugs the Hound owns no doubt.

Many many many orange Penguins lay about this store in boxes and on shelves. It seems the most abundant colour. Penguin has some marketing genius going on these days. Too bad the brilliance doesn’t spread into areas such as acquisition and upper management. One wonders what it would be like to have editors who approached their job with a little verve. Out in their tights looking for the rare and original instead of standing at the end of this or that assembly-line waiting for the prefabricated manuscripts to pop off the end of the line.  I am somewhat in jest here, but only slightly. Acquisition should be a strange game, no?

In any case, very much liked this bookstore, in the heart of Bloomsbury, in the basement of the Brunswick Centre, which is a mall, running parallel to Southhampton Row and near Coram’s Fields. Not a very good looking mall as malls go, but a busy one, with a Waitrose and Starbucks for surfing and various other restaurants for noshing. You have to go in the “back door” of the mall to find this shop. It isn’t obvious. It’s downstairs as well.

This bookstore is all about regrets for me. So many excellent literary biographies that are on my list, so many modernist treasures–Ottoline Morrell, Woolf’s biography of Roger Fry, Letters of Vanessa Bell, Marjorie Strachey’s novel and so on. Books about England, history, geography, travel, some I’d never heard of and many I wanted to read. And good copies at that. Note to self: bring empty suitcase next time.

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