Clapham Books and Sophie’s World

I said I was going to visit and review indie bookshops in London, and now here I am. Writing about it. What a world, what a world.

Before I begin my tale, let me preface with this caveat.

Each bookshop I visit, I’ll review a book in turn. I can do this as I am an abnormally fast reader and always reading multiple books at any given time.

I know. I’m fabulous. Deal with it.

Clapham Books – Where it all began.

This little bookshop is just off the Common in Clapham, which is kind of near where I live (Be like Lola. Lola is smart. Lola doesn’t put her address on the internet).

It was a Saturday when I meandered in, killing time before a hair appointment. My 70th hair appointment of the month. At this stage, I don’t actually have any hair. It’s all an elaborate and expensive illusion.

As I browsed the shelves it struck me how special these little indie bookshops are. All of the books are lovingly curated by passionate owners, each with their own stories to tell.

Clapham Books has a fantastic variety of non-fiction which takes up the majority of the store. Up a charmingly creaky staircase (it couldn’t be indie if it wasn’t whitewashed walls and creaky staircases, right?) is a beautiful children’s section. If that’s not idyllic enough for you, every Thursday at 11am they do picture book readings.

The quirky ‘coffee table/gift book’ section was very small and practically hidden up the back. I respect that, I fucking hate that section. Go to Urban Outfitters if you want a book on pugs in mugs (I am in no way against pugs in mugs, there’s a time and place for everything).

It’s also here I first picked up the map that inspired my pseudo-intellectual blogging journey. It’s a giant black and white map of London with all the independent bookshops highlighted in red. It now hangs on my wall above my bed and has given me a new motivation for London exploring.

Find out more about Clapham Books and sign up for the mailing list on their website, here.

The book I picked up: Sophie’s World.

Sophie’s World is cleverly disguised as a children’s book – but it is oh, oh, so much more.

Try this for size – it’s a summarised history of philosophy coated in a 14-year-old’s philosophical mystery adventure, written by a Norwegian philosophy professor. SAY, WHHAAA?

The philosophy summaries are not well integrated with the story over all, but it is still one of the most concise books I have ever read. I mean, think about it. That’s A LOT of wafty hee-haw to pack into a book that’s meant to appeal to both adults and children. (Don’t tell anyone I called philosophy wafty hee-haw, k?)

I like that the authors personal preferences are reflected in the amount of time he gives to each philosopher (Nietzsche gets a paragraph but Sartre gets chapters), it’s just enough to spark your interest and motivate follow up reading.

I hate precocious children as a rule and therefore hated Sophie as a character. She had way too much free time on her hands. If I was her mother, I would have slapped her and given her more chores. I had to read a few chapters of Charles Dickens to settle down. There’s a man who could write up a well disciplined child.

Overall the book is fabulous and deffo makes philosophy more accessible.

So ends my first book and bookshop review. See ya!



About Hol Roy (53 Articles)
Feminsit pop culture addict, writing about feminist pop culture.

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