Daunt Books

Daunt Books, Marylebone

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Posted 01/07/14
By Esin Huseyin

So today’s review is going to be slightly different, for once I’ve put down the food and picked up something very different; a book. For those of you that don’t know my background, I’m a bit of a bookworm; I studied English Literature at university, and absolutely love getting absorbed within the soft smelly pages (you know what smell I’m talking about), and I’ve always fantasised about having my own library.

This obsession with books probably started from a very young age; my parents used to describe me as just sitting snuggled on the sofa reading in silence – what a good child! This probably grew more and more after watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast; I mean damn, that library. After three years at university I probably could create my own small library, but that dark wood…well, Daunt Books has books and dark wood in abundance.

Daunt Books has a few sites around London, but I decided to go for the Marylebone branch as they categorise themselves as the travel specialists – and I happen to be travelling to Thailand in a months time and wanted to have a cheeky browse at some of the guides to gain some inspiration.

When I walked in I was greeted by what you would expect to be greeted by in a book shop; shelves of books, categories, little tables with thought provoking piles of books, and little hideaways with chairs – but what I wasn’t used to, was the fact that this place had character; it was both uniformed, in the sense that I would be able to tell what shop I was in from just a snippet of the shelving, but it still seemed individual. Odd.

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Now, as I delved in to the store deeper…BAM…that’s when I was hit by the uniqueness, and iconic Daunt look; beautiful stained glass window and sky lights, and a balcony. Now, supposedly this was one of the first Edwardian book shops in London, looks like the Edwardian’s didn’t do anything by half. For me, book shopping is one of my favourite things to do – I like to graze the shelves captivated by the front covers, browse over blurbs, and engorge myself on the first chapters until I finally find the books I want to purchase – the shop was so quiet and bright, dangerously so that I lost 45 minutes in there, that it felt like a literary haven.

There was a set of staircases that went up, and a set that went down; ascending to the first floor to take in the views of the entire store was something you don’t see in your local Waterstones, but it wasn’t until I noticed that they had a “London” section – Amazing. I like the idea that you can browse about the history, geographical fiction, and even non-fiction books (as well as travel, obviously). Asia was downstairs, so down I popped – honestly, why is looking for a travel guide so bluddy hard!

There is nothing too crazy to discuss, it is after all a book shop; but I love the way they not only categorise their geographical locations, but they also pop in non-fiction books and fiction books in the location spots as well. It’s a great way to not only get a “feel” for the area you’re visiting, but a whole new way to shop and explore different genres and texts you may not have even bothered looking at before. On top of the new way of categorising, and beautiful character to the building, they also host talks; Q&A’s with authors etc. It’s just a super refreshing way to keep the print alive and exciting, and I’m all for it.

What books are you reading at the moment? Let us know in the comments below.