STIG AROUND TOWN : FOYLES
We might be well into the digital age, but there’s still something to be said for a good book. Just like a well-made shoulder bag, there’s something deeply satisfying about the smell and tactility of a book, with the additional joy of the knowledge, information and escapism that’s held within.
London’s bookshops are legendary across the world, but none more so than Foyles. The infamously labyrinthine and overcomplicated Charing Cross store had in recent years become significantly more anodyne, and when Central St Martin’s art school packed up next door and moved up to King’s Cross, it was only a matter of time before Foyles reclaimed the building that was once also its home.
The new building at first seems stark and modern, the total antithesis of a dusty, mahogany-shelved writer’s garret that your mind associates with bookshops. But, give it some time and the space easily provokes bibliophilic tendencies. First off, there are books everywhere. And space to browse. Shelving oscillates wildly between packed ceiling-height bookcases and solo-copy bookstands; neutral décor and massive helpings of natural light bringing the magic of books to the fore. As you wander in, you can’t help but be sucked upwards, half a flight to fiction; another half a flight to travel. You get seductively pulled into departments that you’d never normally visit (military history anyone?), but the layout is disarming – there’s always something you want to open within an arm’s reach, something that catches your eye two shelves away, a distant book cover that sparks a forgotten desire.
As a lovers of the old-skool Foyles, we weren’t expecting to love the new building as much. How can you replicate the slightly eccentric and haphazard layout, or the decades of history that the old store held in its shelves? Somehow the architects have managed it, and made the space feel luxuriously light and airy for a central London location.
It’s easy to get carried away, but its clear that the new Foyles is far from an anodyne space. Not only is it purpose-designed to hold a lot of books, it’s also specifically designed for browsing, for reading, and above all, for discovering. We can’t recommend it highly enough.
So all this talk about Foyles got us chatting books. So we had a quick straw poll in our studio of our most loved reads. And here they are!:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
by Milan Kundera
An exquisite fusion of philosophy and prose where dreams and subconscious flow forth and mingle freely with the waking world.
by Roald Dahl
Having grown up on demented Roald Dhal books, it’s fascinating to explore his adults short stories. (Adult as in grown up, not XXX). They are equally dark as his children’s stories but in a totally different way.
Wolf of the Plains
by Conn Iggulden
The story of how Genghis Khan came to be. Extremely well researched, this is the surprising story of how the largest empire to have ever existed came from nothing. Couldn’t put this book down!
by Alberto Moravia
Dark, disillusioned Camusian youth at its best, from the author that Godard’s Le Mepris was based on.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
by Hunter S. Thompson
Two beautiful freaks travel deep into America’s throbbing brain stem. Despite their psychedelic fortitude they ultimately flee in the face of its deranged savagery. Even for the professionally weird some things are just too strange.
Hackney, that Rose-Res Empire
by Iain Sinclair
Back in reality, Sinclair’s psychogeographical study of Hackney epitomsises his unbelievably beautiful prose style.
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again
by Andy Warhol
Whether you like his art or not, Warhol’s ideology and thoughts on money, art and fame is simply a joy to read. This book is basically clusters of thoughts, no real chapters or narrative threads. It’s definitely one of those books you can just pick up and enjoy a random page or two on a rainy Sunday.
Photo credit: www.now-here-this.timeout.com