Biblio-Text: Muswell Hill Bookshop

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 108 months ago
Biblio-Text: Muswell Hill Bookshop
Lovely books on display
Lovely books on display
Peruse the artists' card among the bookshelves
Peruse the artists' card among the bookshelves
Just the beginning of the shelving warren
Just the beginning of the shelving warren
The shop supports independent publishers. And rightly so
The shop supports independent publishers. And rightly so
Piles and piles of books for your browsing pleasure
Piles and piles of books for your browsing pleasure
Olde time postcards of Muswell Hill and north London
Olde time postcards of Muswell Hill and north London
Muswell Hill Bookshop / image courtesy of Will Webster
Muswell Hill Bookshop / image courtesy of Will Webster

Continuing our amble round London's independent bookshops

Among the leafy streets and genteel cafes of Muswell Hill stands the aptly named Muswell Hill Bookshop. It's a lot bigger than it appears from the outside and there's a certain pleasure to be gained from popping your head round a shelf stack to see what lies behind. A quick comparison of their weekly bestseller list to the national buying trend gives a good idea of what you can find in Muswell Hill - Robert Peston, John Updike, Pascal Mercier, Kate Atkinson - nary a John Grisham or Jeremy Clarkson in sight.

It's browsing heaven - big enough to spend lots of time in, but small enough to feel you've covered it properly. Make sure to visit the well stocked poetry and travel sections, and the bit devoted to independent publishers.

In the best traditions of non-conglomerate bookselling they also find the time for local authors: did you know that Highgate vampire chronicler David Farrant is publishing his autobiography, In the Shadow of the Highgate Vampire? Without the Muswell Hill Bookshop, neither would we. Manager Tim Robinson put the book down for a few minutes to answer some questions...

What kinds of books do you sell and why?

We are lucky enough to be in a very literate area, so we tend to sell quality fiction and non-fiction. Hopefully we are catering to the demands of our local area!

Why did you become a bookseller?

Because I'm not good enough as a jazz musician.

Are there any local myths or curiosities attached to your shop?

One member of staff suggested "The manager".

What are you reading right now?

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, published by Gallic Books.

What's your hot tip for our next read?

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

Go With Me by Castle Freeman

Which up-and-coming authors should we watch out for?

Ewan Morrison, Jonny Glynn, Paul Neilan

What's your favourite book about London?

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

If you were a book, which would you be?

An old musty one, possibly with an aroma of wet dog.

Independent bookshops: the future?

The more virtual the world becomes, the more authentic experiences will be sought out.

Muswell Hill Bookshop, 72 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill. Images author's own except where stated.

Last Updated 10 February 2009

paulcox

It's been a few years since I visited this shop, but it looks the same. One of those places that makes you feel bad about not reading enough.

Wow, David Farrant is publishing his autobiography? Now there's an interview Londonist needs to do.