You all know by now that I love to travel. But what you may not know is that I recently went on two trips. The first was back in December when I traveled solo (for my very first time) to London. And most recently, I went for a long weekend adventure with my bestie to San Antonio, Texas.
Now, one of the highlights of traveling for me is discovering new and interesting places to see and things to do. And the one thing that is always on my things to do and see list are check out the local bookstores.
I thought it would be fun to share with you what books I picked up on my first solo adventure in London.
London is one of my absolute favorite cities. I love the bloody history and the beautiful sights to see. Besides that, as a shopper, I love the shopping that this hip city has to offer. And that includes the London bookstores.
On this trip I visited three bookstores, and found treasures in each.
The first bookstore is one I literally stumbled upon. While walking around Portobello Road in the Notting Hill area of London, I turned down a side street to find a bit of space and quiet to take a phone call, and I spotted a strange sight: a group of tourists snapping pictures of a store front that I couldn’t quite see (that’s how many people were crowded in front of it.) I stepped a bit closer to discover that it was the Notting Hill Bookshop and aside the sign there was a blue tile stating the stores fame: it was featured in the movie Notting Hill.
I have a rule .. whenever you stumble upon a bookstore, especially an independent one, I have to pay it a visit. I walked in, and yes it was crowded. And not just because of the massive amounts of people in it, but because it was very small. Although small, it was charming.
I looked around and found myself in the children and teen section of the store. The Notting Hill Bookshop had a great selection of some of the most popular books. I think found the children’s classics section since I’m always on the hunt for a new addition to my (always) growing Alice in Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass collection. While most I already had or had seen, I found the picture book adaptions. And that’s when I saw it. That’s why I saw the most unique edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
This edition, not adapted, but illustrated and created by Irena Trevisan and Nadia Fabris, tells Carroll’s famed story with beautifully intricate cut-outs.
I also bought a matching bookmark because … why not!
The next store I went to, I didn’t necessarily stumble upon. I sought this one out. I went to Foyles Bookstore – a massive store that seemed like it would have every book imaginable.
Going into this London adventure, I had researched books – books that I’d potentially want, books that weren’t necessarily published in the States. I mean, I didn’t want any old book I could buy. And I found a ton of books that I would want, but I knew I couldn’t buy all of them. There is a luggage weight limit after all.
One of the two books, which I was sure they’d have, it turned out it wasn’t available. As much as I was saddened about it, I was still hopeful that I could still find it at another bookstore. The second one, however, they had stacks of.
In Foyles I purchased a total of four books, two of which were new to me editions of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. both were books that I read about online, and both feel like true “Nicole” books. The first one I picked up was a signed copy of Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles. The second was Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling.
As I was checking out, the guy helping me flashed the copy of Bookshop Girl I was purchasing, and commented that “I had great taste in books!” I told him I was excited to check the book out, as I heard good things about it. He proceeded to tell me that the author of Bookshop Girl, Chloe Coles, is an employee at that very Foyles. For whatever reason, I found that totally cool, and made me only want to read this book more and more. I am so glad that I purchased this book.
On my last day in London, I ended up in the Piccadilly Circus area. It’s an area that, even though it’s very reminiscent of NYC’s Times Square, I absolutely love it. I went back to the very first Waterstones that I had ever stepped foot in several years ago. This Waterstones has several floors, and it’s chock full of books. Immediately, I knew what book I wanted. The one I was hoping to find at Foyles but sadly didn’t: Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence. I can’t explain exactly why I wanted this book so much, besides the fact that the summary really appealed to me, but I had to have it. And as luck would have it, there was only one copy left! Score one for me!
There’s one last book I purchased on this adventure. However, I didn’t purchase it in a bookstore. My first full day in London I had a ticket to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. (In case you’re wondering … it was AWESOME! And if you want a post about it, let me know in the comments!) While walking around the store I (finally) came up on the various house editions. I knew I wanted a Hufflepuff edition, and before actually seeing what stock was available, I wanted my favorite book in the series. But they only had one book in the house editions: Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets. So I quickly bought it, and no regrets as it is probably my second favorite book in the series.
In total, I purchased a total seven books. And I know that’s a lot, but considering I have very little self control when it comes to books I’m pretty proud that I didn’t fill my suitcase with books!