I could spend hours in them, and indeed do.
The smell of them is so comforting. Particularly if there is a coffee shop attached to it :) When I first moved to London and didn't have a job and needed to occupy myself during the day, I'd spend the morning or afternoon combing through Waterstone's in Piccadilly, or the smaller book shops in Notting Hill, or the Foyles in Charing Cross Road, or the book market down on the South Bank. Being among all the books was like being among friends. I'd sit in the attached coffee shop and write too, for hours.
When I travel, I can never resist them, and always ask for recommendations! Five years before I went to San Francisco, I knew I wanted to see the City Lights Book Store if I ever got there. Some people go to Paris to see the Louvre - I went to see Shakespeare and Company!
And when I go back to Hobart and Melbourne, to the book stores that became my stomping ground - Fullers in Collins Street, Hobart and Readings in Lygon Street, North Melbourne - it feels like going back into a time machine, having access to the part of myself that has never changed.
And although I often buy books from Amazon (who doesn't!), nothing can replace that comforting, reassuring feeling you get wandering among the shelves, picking up a book and getting lost for hours; the smell of fresh pages and crisp spines. And I get a little shiver sometimes, thinking my book might be on that shelf one day. Let's hope so, anyway!
My favourite book shops in London are:
London Review Bookshop, Bloomsbury
Foyles, Charing Cross Road
Books for Cooks, Portobello Road
Judd Books, Bloomsbury
Oxfam Book Shop, Marylebone
Red Cross Book Shop, Palmers Green
What's your favourite book shop?