Literary circle

Resolved to read more this year? Ianthe Butt finds much to tempt in London’s quirkiest independent bookstores.

FOR THE FOODIE – Books for Cooks, W1I

Take thousands of tasty cooking titles, mix in a kitchen-cum-café to test them in, sprinkle with a cosy sofa and the result is Books for Cooks in Notting Hill. Nibble on a three-course lunch menu from Tusday to Saturday while thumbing through tomes to inspire your own culinary experimentation.

FOR THE COLLECTOR – Daniel Crouch Rare Books and Maps, SW1

Channelling a pared -down contemporary library, this shop in St James’s is the place to find a beautiful collection of atlases, maps and rare books in a relaxed environment. lt’s the stuff cartographers’ dreams are made of.


Globetrotters can take a journey back to the Edwardian era at the Marylebone branch, with its beautiful panelled walls and wooden floors. Daunt has six branches dotted across London, which offer the best in authentic travel writing and guidebooks. Perfect for fuelling your wanderlust.

FOR THE SOPHISTICATE – The Victoria & Albert Reading Rooms, SW7

Those who like to be a little different will love browsing the eclectic mix of titles covering everything from fine art to vintage at the V&As off-site bookshop in South Kensington. Settle down with a book while nibbling quails’ eggs and sipping Prosecco from the in-store wine bar.

FOR THE BOOKWORM – The School of Life, WC1

Feel overwhelmed by the choice of books out there? Drop into this store, set up by philosopher Alain de Botton, and book in for a consultation with a bibliotherapist who will create you a personalised reading prescription for £70. It also runs interesting talks and classes to ‘help you live wisely and well’.