Thematic shelving, an amazingly curated selection and a lot of yellow- New favourite bookshop….
Full disclosure: This profile might be a little bit biased because I fell in love with the place. Also, the book seller (Lloyd) enthusiastically entertained my one million excited questions. I’ll lead with that….
Libreria is a beautiful, charming little book spot near Brick Lane opened by Second Home across the road. You probably didn’t notice it there. You will probably only find it by accident (well, not now that you are reading this). Managed to get in without being knocked over by hipster cyclists pedalling at velodrome speeds. The mirrors on the back wall and ceiling makes it feel like stepping into a secret forever land of books. It seems classic but innovative all at once- almost a bookshop that start up culture built- creative, just without the tech and ‘bro’ things.
The decor and ambience are immediately inviting but it was the sheer range of books laid out that impressed me. I also noticed a good number of titles by authors from the Black or Asian Diasporas right by the mainstream titles. Its very honestly London. Very impressively curated. Whatever genre you are into- whoever your favourite author is- you will probably see the best of it here… and in such a relatively small space! Someone had obviously taken their time to pick books with the best covers for display. As a shameless book-cover judger, I was in a candy store. Hide my debit card. Change the PIN.
The thematic shelving puts Libreria a cut above other bookshops, indie or otherwise. The books are mostly shelved based on theme rather than author surname or typical genre. Something I loved about the place was the fact that Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha was only a few books down from Teju Cole’s Known And Strange Things. Dave Egger’s The Circle was right next to Nir Eyal’s Hooked Up. Im not even sure what the theme was in one corner but I saw Jamel Shabazz’s Sights In The City next to Revival Type. It’s not completely random though! I still found Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider by Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. Makes sense thematically and alphabetically. You’d be hard pressed to find an independent that stocked all these.
The knowledgeable staff also made the experience a standout. Lloyd has been curating and working at Libreria for a few months now (it opened in February 2016). As mentioned before, I asked a lot of questions and got quite a few book recommendations. This post was getting too long so the ones I remember are here, on the next post….
Libreria, 68-80 Hanbury Street, London E1
Opening Times: Monday- Closed;Tues-Weds-10-6;Thurs-Sat 10-8; Sunday 11-6
Online: Website @librerialondon