Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Indie Advent: Jean Lambert on Camden Lock Books, Old Street Station

I'm delighted to welcome MEP Jean Lambert to the blog today to talk about Camden Lock Books!

Name and location of shop: Camden Lock Books, Old Street station

Why you love it: Near my office and an independent

What one book would you buy from there as a Christmas present, and who would you give it to. The Shadow Girls – Henning Mankell for Teresa May, Home Secretary. It's a story of young, women migrants in Sweden and their encounter with a miserable writer who gives them a voice.
Independent bookshops? What independent bookshops is my first response to being asked to name my favourite one - they are all too rare in many places.

I think a further category should be ‘most missed bookshop’ and for that I would nominate Murder One, which of course used to be one of the many jewels brightening up the deeply missed bookshop strip along the Charing Cross Road. But sadly and all too obviously, rent and online competition are the clear culprits in many such disappearances.

I’m a voracious crime-fiction reader and have even attended the occasional convention. I really welcome the increasing publication of books in translation – such a skill to be able to do that well. Of course I read other genres and authors from time to time and working in The European Parliament is constant reading of one kind or another. Perhaps one of the things I enjoy most about crime writing is the fact that justice usually prevails – unlike in much of real life.

And so this morning I was in Camden Lock Books in the labyrinthine underpass of Old Street Station. I am very happy that it’s there, and remains independent and very near my London office - long may that be the case. Jason, the owner, is a real example of a dedicated bookseller: knowledgeable, and somehow on top of teeming stock.

This feels like a booklovers bookshop – it is not stylised and neat (although the different areas are clearly marked) and there are far too many books for the available shelves and floor space – bliss. It carries a wide range of stock but not just the bestsellers and can fill orders for the following day, so you don’t have to queue at the sorting office or wonder if your new neighbours can be trusted.  It would be a crime not to shop there.

Camden Lock Books can be found on their website and on Twitter.
Jean can be found online at her website and on Twitter.

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