Books and coffee, I love them both! One of my favourite things is a well-stocked bookshop with a café.
In Wimbledon High Street there used to be one. It wasn’t specifically addressing alternative, same-sex or quirky subjects nor weddings, yet it was a real pearl. I remember it very vividly. It had colourful comfortable cushions near the coffee area. I used to take my children there. We would spend hours reading books and looking at the illustrations. The final treat, after the many hours of getting lost in books, would be to have a hot chocolate and maybe a piece of freshly baked cake.
I absolutely love London, it’s so cosmopolitan and eclectic. Bookshop cafés like the one in Wimbledon are now scattered around the capital. I love them all, but I prefer the quirky and extravagant ones, as they are more in tune with my photographic style and subjects.
Gay’s the Word is a fine independent queer and eclectic bookshop pioneering the first lesbian and gay bookshop. Established in 1979 in London is one of my favourite places to meet with same-sex clients and an inspirational landmark to my many projects. The cafe’ is next door, Moreish.
Books for Cooks is a small fun bookshop dedicated to cookery and books. A winner in my eyes!
For a cosy lived-in atmosphere, then it must be the Joseph’s Bookstore. It’s one not to be missed if you love jazz, like I do.
I am based in Wimbledon and Nomad Books in Fulham, is the bookshop for me. It’s perfect for the family and children too. And guess what? The coffee area is located amongst the bookshelves. That is definitely quirky to me! Oh, a real dream!
Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6:30pm, the London Review Bookshop is another ideal venue where to meet with clients.
Reading has always fascinated me, it’s definitely my way to travel without moving, to dream when you need to re-recharge the battery. Every day after many hours of working, editing, emailing, cooking, talking, worrying about things, I look forward to reading my book before falling asleep. It calms my body and stimulates my mind. I feel I can do whatever I want, when I want. Have I always loved getting lost in books? Hmmm…. Yes, I probably have no matter whether on a classic or quirky subject.
I push my memory back to when I used to live in Italy with my family and I can distinctly see my room, full of books, from small to large, softcover, hardcover, coffee books, school books, romance, and photographic books. My room was full of them. I guess I inherited this ‘book passion’ from my paternal grandmother. Bless her!
Even though she left school very early (I think probably at the end of primary school) she was an avid reader. Once she told me, ‘Paola, I can read a book in one night. I would do it taking care not to ruin the pages, so that I can return it to the shop the following day. Explaining that it was not what I was looking for and picking up a new one, so I could read some more.’
Let me explain, the library as we know them here in London did not exist in Napoli about 20 years ago, and books were expensive to buy.
I miss my grandmother terribly, it was so comforting to see and hold her. But I am very thankful for what she has given me, the love for books.
Reading helps my imagination to travel free and it is the same imagination that helps me to create emotions in my photographic work. My images are silent, and yet whispering millions of words to the viewer. Or, so I hope!