If ever I’m feeling either physically or mentally depleted at lunchtime, I can usually guarantee that a walk round Waterstones on Gower Street will give me the necessary stimulation required to lift me.
Today was a case in point. Not only did I browse Clive James’ incredibly moving, recent anthology of poetry, Sentence Of Life (from which the poem on the right is taken), but I found time to read the first few pages of Laura Barnett’s feted novel The Versions Of Us, as well as The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine.
But I wasn’t just after fiction and imagery to move me. I also browsed the rather frightening 2071: The World We’ll Leave Our Grandchildren and also reminded myself of just how good Art Spiegelman’s Maus is – possibly the most amazing work about the Holocaust anyone will ever encounter.
The Waterstones in Gower Street is particularly inspiring. Not only does it contain the usual selection of new releases, it also houses a huge remaindered section, chock full of fascinating titles at knockdown prices, and it’s also making a feature of kids’ second-hand books.
I wallowed in childhood nostalgia today rummaging through old hardback copies of Biggles’ novels, Eagle annuals and Richard Scarry books.
There’s something inherently comforting in a good bookshop – it surrounds you with endless possibilities, amazing experiences and doesn’t want you to do anything other than enjoy the time you spend there.
There are times when I nip in and out for just 5 minutes and others when I’ll while away always almost the entire lunch break.
But no matter how long I’m there, I always know I’ll feel more enriched than when I went in.