Sunday, 25 February 2018

Book shopping in Oxford.

Oh, hey. Me again! The excitable book blogger who recently (finally) embarked on her first trip to Oxford. If you want a cafe/restaurant/pub tour of the city, then GO HERE. If you are after a gushing gig review, set in the O2 Academy Oxford, then GO HERE. If you're wanting a little info on the bookshop scene in Oxford...you're in the right place. 




As soon as I arrived in Oxford (and was scooped up at the station by the angelic Demet Charlotte, aka @ books_polished) I swear, I felt the bookish energy. Then the following morning (after a delightful dinner and a drink in a Potter lovers' pub the night before) as I stepped off the bus into the city centre, I was practically tingling with Book Nerd Lust™ and as I ate my vegan breakfast baguette in my favourite Oxford cafe, I planned my attack on the bookshops. 
Demet had told me to check out Blackwell's - as had many of my online friends when I tweeted about visiting this city - but she then added 'go to the back of the shop, and go down the stairs. Trust me.' 

I was a bit puzzled by this cryptic instruction, and at first thought maybe there was some kind of ancient magical artefact on display in the shop, or a first edition C. S. Lewis novel the locals were sworn to protect...but, no. Turns out the (perfectly charming) ground floor of Blackwell's is just a fraction of what the shop really has to offer. Yep, there is a whole other world to be found beneath the surface! The Norrington Room apparently boasts 3 miles of shelves and over 160,000 books - all on exciting and academic topics. It properly stunned me. 




Next up, the Oxford Oxfam Bookshop. It's no secret around here that I love Oxfam bookshops; most of my money these days gets spent at their branches in Eastbourne (that one's opposite my most regular cafe, so y'know), Islington (that one is so legit, it's crazy) and Winchester (they once did a sale in there during the annual Hat Fair, 2017 - half price second-hand hardbacks, that were already going for £3.50?! I nearly fainted). 

I liked the bookseller in this shop; as I entered, I got a polite nod and smile from the guy behind the desk, but he didn't force conversation, he let me explore quietly. I then heard him explaining the difference between 'regular fiction' and literary with a clueless customer, and chuckled ('ah well, literary is usually written by authors we know for a fact are dead'). 

This store had a cute little underground area as well; all their historical and geographical reads could be found down some rickety stairs in the floor of the fiction section. I was also impressed by the YA and children's collection, tucked away at the back. 

There was also, of course, a big Waterstones in Oxford. I popped in there on my second day exploring, hoping to find a space in the cafe to sit and read, but alas, the laptoppers were rife in there and despite it being a pretty large cafe space, I couldn't squeeze in. 
I was actually a bit disappointed overall, because I love Waterstones and yet this branch didn't seem as warm as the ones I frequent. Having said that, I did love the special Oxford-themed sections on the ground floor - all the Potter memorabilia, the C. S. Lewis special editions and His Dark Materials loveliness. 

Well, that's it for my bookish Oxford experiences!
Are there any more places I should have visited, or things I should have seen?
Comment below or tweet me with any more suggestions for my next visit!

4 comments

  1. Next time you visit Oxford you should hit the weird and wonderful indies. My personal choices are the Albion Beatnik and The Last Bookshop!

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    1. I had no clue about either of those! Will definitely hit them up next time, thanks! x

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  2. Glasgow has an EXCELLENT Oxfam book shop, and also an Oxfam record shop which is so good it is famous. Come visit. I'll buy you a cup of tea.

    Lis / last year's girl x

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    1. I've never been to Glasgow! Maybe I should go - if only for the bookshops and tea!
      xo

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