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Five Leaves Bookshop: a review


P1040025There’s a new bookshop in town! Always a cause for celebration and, to my knowledge, the new shop has welcomed at least three members of the CN team to it already. We love a good browsing session.

Anyway, the new shop is the physical manifestation of Five Leaves Publishers, local book-makers (not in that sense) of this parish for some 17 years now. Five Leaves specialise in social history, poetry and Jewish culture but also run crime imprints, local imprint Bromley House Editions (for forgotten Nottinghamshire writers) and New London Editions (for forgotten London writers).

In these days of shops, supermarkets and online warehouses stocking everything under one roof – from jaffa cakes to garden furniture to the latest celebrity hardback – how glorious it is to find a small select showing that highlights those gems that get hidden in the rush to push the popular. For a moment I was envious of whoever it was that placed the first orders – choosing what they wanted to stock, which titles to promote to their audience. (In days of yore, back when I worked at Waterstone’s, on your last day of work you placed an order of everything you wanted the shop to stock, rather than they what they currently did stock. It would be dealt with after you’d gone, a last hurrah of book knowledge over a central ordering system. I believe things are a bit different there these days… who knows? My choices included Beryl Bainbridge, Tim Pears, Tim Binding and Richard Russo. Fairly tame but still necessary.)

Go up here, it's only a few steps away!

Go up here, it’s only a few steps away!

Anyway, let’s get back to practicalities. What’s the new shop like? You have to seek it out a little. But only a little. It’s on Long Row, up a short alleyway next to The Works, across the path from the Tourist Information Centre. It sits next to Coral bookmakers so you can place a bet too (please gamble responsibly). The bookshop used to be City Gallery and therefore has a lovely big window frontage for display as well as lots of natural light for browsing.

You enter and you’re immediately hit with that new book smell. (I love that smell. When you work in a bookshop you lose the ability to detect it – it took over a year after I left Waterstone’s for it to return.) Tables and low level shelving are scattered with displays of books, themed lightly with big yellow and black signs. There’s a Five Leaves section, obviously, but also a strong LGBT section, some books about the Roma community, travel books – I especially liked the selection of Citypick books, writings about certain cities published by Oxygen – and a good selection of fiction. The only area I would have liked to see improved was the children’s section – there are so many good children’s books these days that this is a great area for an independent bookshop to get into.

There’s also a selection of postcards, journals and fair trade goodies on offer.

In short, we love it! Get down there and have a browse, you won’t regret it.

Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Open Monday – Saturday 10-5.30pm