#DecolonizeReading2023 Book Hunting Expeditions Features Reading Life Reading Themes

[BHE 566] Book Hunting in London (Part 1 of 4): An Ode to Waterstones and Foyles

GatheringBooks in the UK.

Myra here.

I was just in the United Kingdom a few weeks back for a global engagement research that I have been invited to be a part of by a colleague from University College London (UCL). I made sure that I timed my visit during the week of the London Book Fair, of course. Inevitably, I visited quite a number of bookstores – hence I thought of sharing my book hunting expeditions in bits and pieces – in four parts, actually, and here’s the first part.


My husband and I must have visited at least three branches of Waterstones as far as I can remember, and thanks to iPhone’s location function on photographs taken in my Photo Gallery, I have a rough idea of which Waterstones branch I visited:

Branch #1: The Grand Building, Trafalgar Sq, London WC2N 5EJ, United Kingdom | Phone: +44 20 7839 4411

I am always impressed by the curation of Waterstones booksellers – they make the titles seem even more inviting than usual.

As delicious as the titles are, I did not end up purchasing anything at this point in time.

Branch #2: 82 Gower St, London WC1E 6EQ, United Kingdom | Phone: +44 20 7636 1577

I loved this branch – so cozy, and just the way the books are inherently made part of the overall design of the space’s architecture, it’s gorgeous.

I was naturally thrilled to find This Is The Canon: Decolonize Your Bookshelf In 50 Books (Amazon). I especially liked the poetry nook that they have with the comfy couches:

Branch #3: 19-21 Tottenham Ct Rd, London W1T 1BJ, United Kingdom | Phone:  +44 20 7436 1886

It was in this third branch that I finally ended up getting my first (and apparently only) purchase from Waterstones – it’s a book written by our lovely host in London, Candy Gourlay. I’ve been meaning to find her Bone Talk for the longest time – but it’s not available here in the UAE, so I am thrilled to finally get my hands on it.

(01) Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay (Amazon)

Foyles Bookstore

107 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DT, United Kingdom | Phone: +44 20 7437 5660

I must have gone to this place three or four times – just to browse, sample a book, and exchange a title that I apparently already own and bought from the recent Big Bad Wolf book sale here in the UAE, and just simply enjoy their cortado in the 5th level.

I really enjoyed the way they presented the books in such an inviting manner – I am a sucker for translated titles, so this section here naturally caught my eye.

Here are the titles I managed to bring home with me:

I thought it would be good to purchase titles written by British authors – and these are the two that stood out for me.

(02) Mischief Acts by Zoe Gilbert (Amazon)

(03) Trespasses by Louise Kennedy (Amazon)

(03) A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding by Amanda Svensson (Amazon)

(04) Bewilderment by Richard Powers (Amazon)

(05) The Shape Of The Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (Amazon)

(06) The Censor’s Notebook by Liliana Corobca (Amazon) – since we are traveling to Romania in May, I thought I might as well get myself a copy of this one.

Any of the titles here caught your eye? I know I must have missed out on one of the biggest Waterstones branch in London that I visited back in 2015, but honestly can’t complain – with all these fabulous places I did manage to visit.

1 comment on “[BHE 566] Book Hunting in London (Part 1 of 4): An Ode to Waterstones and Foyles

  1. Pingback: [BHE 568] Book Hunting in Bath (Part 3 of 4): Topping and Company Bookseller – Gathering Books

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