Posts Tagged ‘seocnd hand bookshops’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on August 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm
Filed under: London bookshops. Charing Cross Road, seocnd hand bookshops, Shopping

Quinto Bookshop, Charing Cross Road

The old Quinto bookshop used to be one of my favourite haunts when I was living closer to the West End – and had fewer books on my shelves. I’ve now been forbidden to buy any more by my partner – if I do, I have to sneak them in when he’s not looking.

So I hadn’t been back since the bookshop had its redesign – that’s a few years ago now.

The old shop was higgledypiggledy, crammed full of shelves. Now, a glass case for rare books occupies the centre of the first large room,opening the space up to light and making the whole place feel less of a catacomb and more of a shop. Some loss of character, perhaps – but an increase in user-friendliness.

The shop is also tidier than it used to be – no piles of books on the floor. Very much a ‘normal’ bookshop rather than the hive it used to be.

Go through the smaller back rooms, though, and you’ll find the basement is still open, with the narrow staircase down and the slight smell of damp that I remember from the old days. But everything’s spick and span and well lit – and surprisingly for London, the prices seem very reasonable, too. As for the excitement of never quite knowing what you’ll find – well that is still there.

I came out having spent the ridiculously small sum of £3 on a most unusual book about the Leaning Tower of Pisa by Nicholas Shrady (whose Sacred Roads I’d read earlier and been impressed by). A highly unusual and rather disconcerting book, because the ‘lean’ has been built into the book! (Take a look at the cover if you don’t understand what I mean.)

So some of the shabbiness has gone – and alas just a little of the character. But this remains a super second hand bookshop, full of surprises, and highly enjoyable to browse.

Where: 48a Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0BB (Leicester Square tube)

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