Books Are My Bag is the biggest ever campaign for bookshops – running right up until Christmas 2013 – and encourages all those who love books – like, real books you can actually hold in your hands where the words within are served on delicious paper – to share your book-love by visiting your local bookshop. This is, of course, the best place to connect with books, where you can see them, smell and touch them, and maybe event talk about them with people who care as much as you do. Regular readers of Material Whirl may recall I recently wrote about this subject here. I like books, and I like talking about them.
So I am always pleased to discover a brilliant bookshop that feeds my greedy book-love. Enter Woolfson & Tay, a stylish independent bookshop, café and gift shop a stone’s throw away from Southwark tube on the famous orange lamppost route in Bankside. Tucked discreetly away from the bustling commotion of the South Bank, this is a great place to grab a coffee and while away an afternoon with only your favourite novel and a latte for company
Now I am a great lover of a secondhand bookshop but, to be absolutely clear, this is no antiquarian hangout. Instead, you will find an elegant and carefully selected range of crisp, new titles from the latest modern fiction to vintage classics – all with that intoxicating newly printed smell. The shelves are lined neatly with an impressive range of books that have been on your must-read list for as long as you can remember. This is a place to stop, slow down, take a breath. You can browse and select in your own time, and I think you will agree there is something rather beautiful about actually holding a book; reading the back page synopsis and absorbing its cover rather than scrolling aimlessly down a screen of images.
You’ll find more on the menu at Woolfson & Tay than just sumptuous books. There are author talks and performances, events such as ‘The Sunday Record’ and tai chi classes and workshops. A homemade Asian lunch is available from Monday to Friday - a sample menu includes Fried Tofu Squares in Sweet Sour Soy Tamarind Sauce, with side of Asian Salad in Wasabe-Miso Sesame Dressing and Nasi Lemak with Malaysian Chicken Curry - as well as an eclectic mix of tea, coffee and cakes. Yum. The gifts and cards are stylish and unique and I guarantee your friends will love you if you purchase something special for them from here.
What gives this indie bookshop even more of an edge is the fact that it is independent. It contains real people and real books and it is right here, right now on your local street. So as well as enjoying the creative space you can feel content knowing you have done a good deed for the day – supporting your local community with every flick of the page and sip of hot, strong coffee.
Woolfson & Tay is situated on the charmingly named Bear Lane. Grab a hot drink and a window seat for ample opportunity to watch Bankside go by – office workers grabbing a lunchtime pint at The White Bear, actors on their way to Jerwood Space, tourists on their way down to the river. This could well be your dream indie bookshop in South London.
Check it out.