During last month’s trip to Scotland, my boyfriend and I had a few spare hours to explore Edinburgh. We had a lot to cram in and I hadn’t imagined there would be time to check out any bookshops. So I was delighted when we stumbled upon what must be the best bookshop in Edinburgh (although please let me know if there’s a better one and I’ll put it on my list for next time).
The floor-to-ceiling shelves in Armchair Books divide the shop into sections, creating lovely nooks packed with books. As I wasn’t on the lookout for anything in particular, I made my way down the corridor of general fiction that runs along the length of the shop. I left my boyfriend at the entrance, browsing the science fiction and fantasy shelves.
I had a quick glance at the philosophy section, but aware that I was running out of time, I gave up my browsing to explore further back. I was very excited to find a whole other room filled with musty old books… and a few dusty looking teddy bears.
I really wish I could have hung around a bit longer to properly explore this part of the shop, there were so many interesting books. I glimpsed a few beautiful old covers and a couple of familiar favourites from Dickens and Shakespeare, as well as some that I’d love to take a closer look at such as Aunt Louisa’s Sunday Book and Romance & Legend of Chivalry. Well, maybe next time!
On my way out I picked up a couple of books from Penguin’s Great Ideas series (The Pleasure of Hating by William Hazlitt and On Friendship by Michel De Montaigne). The bookseller was extremely friendly, making conversation with every customer and handing out recommendations.
I was heartened to see that in the 15 minutes I spent in Armchair Books, there was a steady flow of customers and quite a number of purchases. I can see why people go out of their way to visit this shop and why customers will return again and again. I certainly hope I’ll get to browse the shelves again in the future, and hopefully when I have a little more time.