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Daunt Books
83 Marylebone High Street
London W1U 4QW
United Kingdom
020 7224 2295

Daunt Books is quite possibly my favorite bookstore in the world.  It’s a gorgeous shop, and is divided into two sections.  The back area is organized by countries, so for each country–or area of a country–there are novels, poetry, travel books, nonfiction accounts, maps, etc. The front area is a more conventional–but excellent–bookshop.  Between them, I always find something marvelous and unexpected. Daunt has several other stores which I haven’t seen, but this one, the original shop, is on Marylebone High Street, which is always worth a visit. (Check out Bridgewater Pottery across the street: their teapots are beautiful.)

Hatchard’s Bookshop
187 Piccadilly
London, W1J 9LE
020 7439 9921

A spectacular selection of books next door to Fortnum & Mason.  What more could one ask of life? Hatchard’s is the oldest bookshop in London, and is spread out over several beautiful floors, with lots of cozy nooks and crannies.  The staff are unfailingly well-informed and pleasant and helpful. It’s possible to spend countless hours browsing there, but once you’ve finished, take yourself to Fortnum for a knickerbocker glory in the Parlour Restaurant

The Persephone Bookshop
59 Lamb’s Conduit Street London WC1N 3NB
+44 (0) 207 242 9292

Persephone Books is a small and charming publisher of unjustly neglected works by women.  All of their books are attractive, with gray bindings and beautiful endpapers.  Their bestseller Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a wonderful story about a down-on-her-luck governess whose fortunes change completely over the course of a single magical day. Their shop is tiny and delightful and staffed by cheerful ladies drinking tea.  Before visiting it, I would recommend looking over the titles on their website: as all of the books are gray, they can be a bit confusing to browse.  But the shop is fun to visit, and given the high cost of having books shipped to the U.S., it is far cheaper to collect them in person. And you will want to read some of their titles.

Written by Lorin on May 17th, 2010

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