Bookshops I Love; Daunt Books

I haven’t done a post on any book shops for a while but have lately discovered two, one of which I will share with you today (I picked up a little something for you to win) and the other later in the week. The first book shop which I am going to tell you all about it Daunt Books in Marylebone, which would you believe in my eleven years living in London I had never entered the doors of, well until last week that was.

I am possibly preaching to the converted when I say that any book lover simply has to go here at some point. Having said that I had never been there before and I can’t be the only one surely? Having now been I can see why everyone raves about it as everything is beautiful; from the shop front to the window displays from the tables of especially set out books to the beautifully decorated (which hopefully you can almost make out) shelves dressed, almost literally –oh two puns in one there – in material.

It also has that olde-worlde Dickensian (thought it’s actually Edwardian) feel about it and looks very much like I imagine my private library will when I have that stately home in the English countryside/Brazilian outback one day… well we can all dream can’t we?

Why when I am on a book buying ban for a year had I allowed myself to enter into a store that possibly more than any other book shop I have been to (accept the 5 books for £2 charity book store down my road) in recent years? (Yes it’s that good!) Well, in part it was just to go and see it finally because so many people have told me that I simply have to go; the other was that the books are arranged not in alphabetic order but in order of country…

So though I wasn’t buying any books I was there doing some research into finding books from and about a certain country…

Yes, Brazil! (There’s a Brazilian theme that will be ongoing at Savidge Reads in the lead up to my popping over there.) I had a brief moment of despair when I couldn’t find Brazil anywhere, then I couldn’t find South America (I will admit I expected Brazil to have its own section ha, ha – I am already getting patriotic about my second home country without having been yet) but soon enough I found it hiding behind the staircase. What impressed me was that there actually were lots of books from there…

But I know there must be more and who better than to ask than all of you? I did mention on Friday that I wanted you all to pop your thinking caps on for Brazilian authors and fiction. So what have you all come up with, name a book and for your efforts a pair of you could win a lovely Daunt Books Bag just like this…

And each one will contain a book or two. Where’s the catch? You can only put one title each and can’t repeat a title that is already in the comments (oh and any in the pictures above won’t count). It’s open worldwide until the end of tomorrow (Wednesday 12th) and the winners will be announced on Thursday when another big Brazil based post goes up… Good luck!!!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Bookshops I Love, Give Away

42 responses to “Bookshops I Love; Daunt Books

  1. Emma Stickley

    I will have a little go at this one – I haven’t actually read any Brazilian fiction (I may have to rethink the amount that I read in translation perhaps) but how about Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado?


  2. Rob

    All of your photos look kind of secretive and covert. Where you ‘sneaky snapping’ without permission Mr. Savidge? Regardless, I kind of like the style. Makes it look all the more snatched and impulsive, even if the visit wasn’t.
    P.S. As for Brazilian fiction? Embarrassingly, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

  3. Ooh, a bookshop! How very restrained of you to manage not to buy anything. I like the idea of books arranged by country – sometimes different arrangements are really good for seeking inspiration. And I love their bags – I really really want one, so my suggestion is: Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus – it’s a hugely moving book about the poverty in the country.

  4. Well theres Brazil by John Updike, perhaps that one doesn’t count. Or anything by Paulo Coelho, except The Alchemist, one of those ‘just can not be bothered to finish it’ reads

  5. Sadly, I don’t have any Brazilian fiction to contribute either. I just wanted to sigh over the beautiful photos and renew my vow to get over there! (hopefully before my ONE year anniversary in this city – ahem)

  6. The Silence of the Rain – Luis Alfredo Garcia Roza

    “Lizzy in London” will be revisiting Daunt Books later this week. Fabulous place and I spent ages moseying around the German shelves. I didn’t spot the fabric bags though …..

  7. m

    Anything by Clarice Lispector, eg The Apple in the Dark (not a recommendation though because I haven’t read it!)

  8. I am desperate to go to Daunt Books but I want to go when I am more financially solvent so I can do some real damage! Organised by country intrigues me and it will be perfect for choosing themed reading when jet-setting all over the world!

    I would love to be entered into the draw and suggest Tristes Tropiques by Claude Levi-Strauss (memoir/travelogue).

    P.S. Love the title of this post!

  9. What a beautiful bookstore! No Brazilian recommendations for you though, sorry. I’ll look forward to seeing what other bloggers come up with!

  10. Beate

    Darcy Ribeiro might be an interesting author, because he’s writing about the problems of the country in an interesting way. So you can a) enjoy a good read and b) get to know more about your new “homecountry”.
    Please count me in for the bag competition ! They look fantastic.

  11. Merenia

    Oh, this post was like a dagger in the heart, because I lived literally around the corner from the Marylebone Daunt’s for several years. I used to loiter in there almost daily on my way home from work. It was in the Turkey section that I discovered Rose Macauley and Towers of Trebizond, one of my very favourite books. Thanks for the lovely post. I am in ignorance of any Brazilian authors/books, alas.

  12. Sad to say I can’t think of any Brazilian authors at the moment, but wanted to say that the bookstore looks incredible!

  13. Linda P

    Thanks for highlighting Daunt bookshop in London.
    Re. Brazilian writing – Ashes of the Amazon – author Milton Hatoum – I haven’t read it, but the author and subject sound interesting.

  14. I have never been either! Will be rectifying that asap!

    What a great giveaway! So excited!

    I offer:


  15. Tee

    Bahia Blues by Yasmina Traboulsi was a good read that was based in Brazil.

  16. Suejustbooks

    This is such a coincidence. I just returned one week ago from a trip to London and my main destination while there (other than visiting my daughter studying at UCL) was a visit to Daunt Books. I purchased books that were not yet available in the US and one of those was Heliopolis, by James Scudamore, set in Brazil. I love your photographs of Daunt Books. I am a bookseller at a small independent bookstore near Chicago, which explains my excitement about this store.

  17. I recently saw a book in a bookstore, which was translated to Dutch as “Brazilië, Brazilië” by João Ubaldo Ribeiro. So I’d like to recommend that one. I have to admit that the English translation doesn’t seem to be available on amazon though:, it’s “Hail the Brazilian People”, or “An Invincible Memory”. The books looked very interesting, but I was trying to hold back because I have so many books still waiting to be read and I was trying to be sensible.

    As for the Daunt Bookstore, it looks simply beautiful.

  18. These pictures make me want to hop on a plane right now. While chain bookstores are closing all over the place over her, it’s nice to know there’s such a wonderful place somewhere in the world.

    I like bookshops that look like the places in the actual books.

  19. Dabarai

    I absolutely love Daunt Books, my boyfriend took me there couple months ago and patiently spent far too much time there…
    I have read a good review of My sweet-orange tree by Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos and Chatwin Bruce, The Viceroy of Ouidah, which is about Brazilian culture, does it count?
    Paolo Coehlo is massive in my native Poland and loads of people love his books, but I couldn’t finish The Alchemist…so gave up on others. However we have a selection of his titles in your favourite library…

  20. Armen

    When i was a kid, i loved Jose mauro de vasconcelos. I’ve read several of his books in Translation and i really loved them. My Sweet Orange Tree with a character called zeze was my favorite.

  21. Mae

    Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. A brazilian friend calls this her favourite of all time.

    Wow for the bookstore! I’ll definitely be daunted by that store!

  22. That looks absolute heaven and I shall definitely be visiting. Afraid I haven’t read any Brazilian writers, though.

  23. OMG I am so jealous that you went here! This shop was on my list of book shops to visit on Saturday in The Big Smoke but the damn tubes weren’t running properly so I went the other way instead! This shop looks like my idea of heaven.

    Brazilain books: There is one called The Seamstress (not as girly as it sounds) by Frances de Pontes Peebles. I was givemn it as a gift last month and want to read it soon – there are some great reviews of it knocking around.

  24. JoV

    hi Simon,
    I’m taking part in the daunt book bag giveaway. You can start with Machado de Assis, A chapter of hats.

    I know how you feel about Brazil. I bought a villa plot near Fortalezza (Hope I spell this right!) last July 2009. Good luck with your investment! 🙂

  25. Dan P.

    Dom Casmurro- Machado de Assis

  26. Oh that bookstore! Would they allow someone to have their ashes stored there? (Ew, I know that is gross but seriously, wouldn’t you want that to be your final resting place?) Anyway, I’m going to suggest to you “City of God” by Paolo Lins. See this way, you can also do the movie which is amazing and just a little terrifying.

  27. I knew you would adore this shop! It’s so AMAZING, isn’t it?

    Don’t enter me for the comp (I already have a stack of those bags), but I read ‘The Rainforest’ by Alicia Steimberg a few years ago. Review here:

  28. Wow, how amazing is that shop?

    As for Brazilian books, I’ve heard some very good things about ‘Nine Nights’ by Bernardo Carvalho, which have made me put it on my wishlist, although I haven’t read it myself, so perhaps that doesn’t count.

  29. Delyn Willimas

    How I wish I could go there! It looks wonderful and I’m going to recommend it to some American friends who are arriving soon. Unfortunately, I don’t live in London so will have to conjure up an excuse for a visit though, after a life in the country, I think it will prove too hectic.But, thanks for sharing the wonders of Daunt Books.

  30. I can’t think of any books, but wanted to share in the awe of that shop! I’ve never visited it either, nor heard of it (can’t believe that!) Must-see when I’m next in London.

  31. Not a competition entry, but just wanted to say that Daunt Books looks amazing, I’ve wanted to go for so long, but just never got round to it! You’ve inspired me to go soon 🙂

  32. winstonsdad

    cohelho ,de assis just about to read his short storys,rubeun fonsecu

  33. winstonsdad

    oh lispector and hatoum as well

  34. Mome Rath

    That’s a great bookstore — one I don’t think I could pass up if I were passing by. I love that the books are organized by country, since I enjoy world literature.
    My recommendation for a Brazilian book is The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (also translated as Epitaph of a Small Winner), by Machado de Assis. I just read this book last month, and the book’s narrator has a dry sense of humor (if a bit cynical at times) as he retells his great success at mediocrity in his life in 19th century Brazil. Machado de Assis is one of the more well known authors of his time in Brazil, and I see you have a couple other recommendations for his books up above.
    Hope the preparations for your move are going well.

  35. Sarah

    When I’m next in London I will be sure to visit Daunt books!

    I think the only Brazilian author I’ve read is Clarice Lispector.-Fortunately I would reccomend her books, especially The hour of the star, The apple in the dark and The stream of life.

    I’ve read Updike’s Brazil (a retelling of Tristan and Iseult set there) and have reservations about it- it vividly brought Brazil to life for me, but the sex is unsuprisingly very full on and I’m not sure the mythic retelling works.

  36. bruessel

    I’ll definitely have to look up that bookshop next time I’m im London, thanks for the recommendation.
    To enter the draw, let me add another woman writer, Rachel de Queiroz, and her Memorial de Maria Moura.

  37. This shop looks amazing, I can imagine my mom and me spending hours in there. Plus don’t we all dream of having our own library in a stately home…?!

    I’m afraid I don’t think I’ll be of any use for suggesting Brazilian literature. The only thing that comes to mind is Ira Levin’s Boys From Brazil because it has Brazil in the title lol.

  38. Not expecting to win anything because I’ve already made off with a book giveaway here in the last month but I did find a Brazillian author in the end and wanted to share. You might try ‘Orphans of Eldorado’ by Milton Hatoum

  39. I used to work not far from Marylebone and I had heard of this shop so one day after work poodled round and spent a happy evening there. I think it is a simply gorgeous shop

    the only Brazilian author I can think of if Paul Coelho and I would not rush to recommend him. Have tried him and though he is such a huge seller he is turgid beyond belief (IMHO of course!)

  40. Jacqueline

    My entry for the bag draw is Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist, do try to finish this book, although you have been advised that it is not worthwhile I often feel that starting a book and not finishing it is not worthwhile.

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