Personal Luxuries | The Reconnoisseur

A London bookstore that offers food for the soul

The bookstore where fruitcakes are welcome

A London bookstore that offers food for the soul

February 11 2010
Catherine Moye

For five years I worked out of an office in London’s Leicester Square, and while food for the body was never a problem, food for the soul was harder to find. Then I discovered Watkins bookstore in Cecil Court, just off St Martin’s Lane. Established in 1879, Watkins specialises in books on mysticism, eastern religions, Jungian psychology, yoga and contemporary spirituality.

Back then, in 1995, Watkins’ bestselling book was Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, since when the shop has doubled in size; its bestselling book today is The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle.

I still go there regularly to root around shelves that are both a rich cornucopia of alternative ideas and a genuine escape from the modern world. There aren’t many places in London where one can find a sympathetic ear to one’s more arcane thoughts without being thought a complete fruitcake. Yet the staff here have a deep and empathic understanding of their subject and will recommend books that they’ve read and loved. My own recommendation: anything by the Jungian analyst and author, James Hollis. The man is totally for real.

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Books, Shopping