Our forthcoming events are listed below. We would love to see you here, but seating is very limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.
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Tuesday 4th October 2016, 7pm (£30 including book / £10 ticket only / £5 concessions)
BEN MACINTYRE discusses SAS: Rogue Heroes
More Information and Booking

Saturday 8th October 2016, 2pm-3.30pm (£25 including book, tea and supplies)
POPPY CHANCELLOR: Cut it Out, a Papercutting workshop
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Tuesday 25th October 2016, 7.30pm (£25 including book / £10 ticket only / £5 concessions)
RORY STEWART discusses The Marches
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Tuesday 22nd November 2016, 7pm (£10 ticket only / £5 concessions)
More Information and Booking


Saturdays at 10.30am – STORYTIME
Half an hour of reading for the under-five set, just turn up!

To join this book club, please email

To join this book club, please email

Wednesday 26th October 2016, 10.15am – JUKE BOOKS
To take part in Juke Books, please email


Tuesday 28th June
HISHAM MATAR discussed The Return with WILLIAM FIENNES

Tuesday 21st June
ANITA BROOKNER: A panel discussion
Chaired by Juliet Annan, with Carmen Callil, Rachel Cooke and Tessa Hadley

Thursday 9th June 2016
EMMA CLINE discussed The Girls with Alexandra Heminsley

Tuesday 24th May 2016
PHILIPPE SANDS discussed East West Street with KATE FIGES

Tuesday 17th May 2016
JOHN PRESTON discussed A Very English Scandal with ROLAND PHILLIPS

Tuesday 19th April 2016

Tuesday 16th February 2016
ELIZABETH STROUT discussed My Name is Lucy Barton with CRESSIDA CONNOLLY

Tuesday 8th December 2015
ADAM PHILLIPS discussed Unforbidden Pleasures

Wednesday 28th October 2015
GARTH RISK HALLBERG discussed City on Fire with Tom Sutcliffe

Wednesday 30th September2015
Grief… and Happiness: MAX PORTER and JACK UNDERWOOD were in Conversation

Tuesday 29th September 2015
SEBASTIAN FAULKS discussed Where My Heart Used to Beat

Wednesday 9th September 2015

Wednesday 2nd September 2015
BILL CLEGG was in Conversation with ROLAND PHILIPPS

Tuesday 1st September 2015

Thursday 13th August 2015
DAVID GATES and STUART EVERS were in Conversation

Tuesday 14th July 2015

Tuesday 23rd June 2015
Conversation & Clothes Swap with LEANNE SHAPTON

Tuesday 16th June 2015
JAMES WOOD discussed The Nearest Thing to Life

Tuesday 2nd June 2015
HADLEY FREEMAN discussed Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies.

Wednesday 27th May 2015

Tuesday 19th May 2015
Doctors Dissected
MARTIN SCURR & JANE HAYNES were in Conversation

Tuesday 12th May 2015
Germany & Britain

Tuesday 5th May 2015
On The Wilder Shores of Love
GEORGIA DE CHAMBERET discussed the life and works of Lesley Blanch with ELISA SEGRAVE

Wednesday 29th April 2015
Love, Sex & Other Foreign Policy Goals

Tuesday 21st April 2015
Who Governs Britain & Get it Together

Tuesday, 3rd March 2015
ALEXANDRA FULLER discussed Leaving Before the Rains Come

Thursday 26th February 2015
DANA THOMAS discussed Gods & Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano

Tuesday 25th November 2014
WILL SELF and IAIN SINCLAIR discussed JG Ballard

Tuesday 28th October 2014

Wednesday 15th October 2014
TIMOTHY DONNELLY was in conversation with ADAM PHILLIPS

Tuesday 1st July
ADAM PHILLIPS on Becoming Freud

Thursday 29th May 2014
JOANNA RAKOFF discussed My Salinger Year with RACHEL COOKE

Wednesday 28th May 2014

Wednesday 21st May 2014

Tuesday 13th May 2014
PATRICK NESS discussed More than This with VIV GROSKOP

Tuesday 6th May 2014

Thursday 24th April 2014
ALICE GREENWAY and REBECCA HUNT were in conversation

Tuesday 25th March 2014, 7pm (£8)
BEN MACINTYRE on A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Tuesday 18th March 2014
REBECCA MEAD was in conversation with FERNANDA EBERSTADT on The Road to Middlemarch

Tuesday 4th March 2014
BEN WATT was in conversation with JOHN NIVEN

Thursday 6th February 2014
JAMES LASDUN was in conversation with ADAM PHILLIPS

Monday 2nd December 2013
Nina Stibbe was in conversation with Nick Hornby

Wednesday 27th November 2013
Adam Phillips was in Conversation with Lisa Appignanesi

Wednesday 30th October 2013
Emily Berry was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Thursday 5th September 2013

Wednesday 28th August 2013, 7pm
Leanne Shapton in conversation with Craig Taylor

Thursday 15th August 2013
The Interestings and Clever Girl
Meg Wolitzer and Tessa Hadley in conversation.

Tuesday 16th July 2013
Philipp Meyer discussed The Son with Chris Cleave

Thursday 11th July 2013
Holland House
A Talk by Linda Kelly

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
The Woman Upstairs
Claire Messud talked to Kate Figes

Monday 1st July 2013
Ruth Ozeki and Matt Haig were in conversation with Jamie Byng

Thursday, 6th June 2013
Curtis Sittenfeld Discussed Sisterland with Viv Groskop

Wednesday 1st May 2013
Ron Rash discussed Nothing Gold Can Stay

Tuesday April 30th 2013
William Sutcliffe and John McCarthy were in conversation with William Sieghart

Wednesday 27th March 2013
Oli Hazzard was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday 13th February 2013
Stephen Grosz and Andrew Solomon were in conversation with Cressida Connolly

Wednesday, 6th February 2013
Lucy Hughes-Hallett discussed The Pike

Monday, 21st January 2013
Don Paterson was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, November 28th 2012
Connie Bensley was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, September 12th 2012
Jane Draycott was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Monday, September 10th 2012
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi discussed Jerusalem with Giles Fraser

Wednesday, August 1st 2012
Leanne Shapton discussed Swimming Studies with Craig Taylor

Tuesday, July 3rd 2012
Ned Beauman and Nick Harkaway discussed The Teleportation Accident and Angelmaker with Roland Philipps

Thursday, 21st June 2012
Kate Summerscale discussed Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace with India Knight

Tuesday, 12th June 2012
Adam Phillips discussed Missing Out with Giles Fraser

Monday, 28th May 2012
Chad Harbach on The Art of Fielding

Monday, 23rd April 2012
Ben Macintyre discussed Double Cross

Thursday, 19th April 2012
Peter Stamm discussed Seven Years with Adam Thirlwell

Wednesday, 21st March 2012
Philip Gross was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, 14th March 2012
Sadakat Kadri was in conversation with Barnaby Rogerson

Wednesday, 22nd February 2012
John Fuller was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Thursday, 9th February 2012
Lavinia Greenlaw was in conversation with Ted Hodgkinson of Granta Magazine

Tuesday, 31st January 2012
Laura Del-Rivo and Michael Horovitz were in Conversation with Julian Mash

Tuesday, 22nd November 2011
Cressida Connolly and Vendela Vida were in Conversation

Thursday, 17th November 2011
Adam O’ Riordan was in Conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, 28th September 2011
Bernard O’Donoghue was in Conversation with Adam Phillips

Thursday, 23rd June 2011
Hisham Matar was in Conversation with Philippe Sands

Tuesday, 31st May 2011
Evelyn Juers discussed The House of Exile

Wednesday, 25th May 2011
John Burnside was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Monday, 23rd May 2011
Nicola Shulman discussed Graven With Diamonds with Alan Jenkins

Thursday, 19th May 2011
Wilson Stephens Jones Decorative Arts Sale

Wednesday, 11th May 2011
David Miller and David Flusfeder discussed Today and A Film By Spencer Ludwig

Wednesday, 20th April 2011
Christopher Reid was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Sunday, 10th April 2011
James Frey discussed The Final Testament of the Holy Bible with Kate Muir

Sunday, 23rd March 2011
Jennifer Egan discussed A Visit From the Goon Squad

Thursday, 17th March 2011
Jesse Norman discussed The Big Society with Anthony Fry

Wednesday, 16th March 2011
Jo Shapcott was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, 26th January 2011
Emma Forrest discussed Your Voice in My Head with Jon Ronson

Wednesday, 24th November 2010
Geoff Dyer discussed Working The Room

Wednesday, 17th November 2010
Adam Phillips discussed On Balance

Wednesday, 3rd November 2010
Justine Picardie discussed Coco Chanel: A Life

Wednesday, 15th September 2010
Rebecca Hunt and Ned Beauman discussed Mr Chartwell and Boxer Beetle


September 17, 2016
Amaryllis: Pollyanna or Eeyore?

Reflecting on last week’s epistle, I am conscious that I came over a bit Corporal Fraser with his portents of doom (I have watched the repeats!). I am a bit of a cracked glass, fully empty but there is no reason to inflict my negativity on others so I am aiming for more Pollyanna, less Eeyore this week. Although, of course Eeyore beats Pollyanna hands down in the glad game when he gets excited about putting a burst balloon in a jar licked clean of honey as a birthday treat!

But first of all, I cannot let pass my umbrage at the Man Booker panel for ignoring my suggested shortlist, well four of them! Doubtless they have their reasons but they are wrong! Still it is fine, I have graciously moved on and have even given up a shelf to display their chosen ones but shall be really annoyed if one of my two favourites don’t win…

Anyway, to return to happier things: earlier this week my friend, J, and I went out blackberry picking in the Essex countryside. Those who judge Essex badly have obviously never visited – is it really about the footwear? I only employ white stilettos as a very successful weapon of deterrent to any would be basement builders and high street hi-jackers, and I’m sure the same is true of my neighbours – because it is very beautiful and very happy (see back issues).

So, we went happily in search of blackberries but were largely unsuccessful because most of the fruit had obviously suffered the unseasonally high temperatures and drought conditions and shriven on the bramble. However we did see a lizard and a dragonfly, so not a total disaster zone, and many different birds but neither of us is great on identification. Indeed, also being a bit short sighted, we have on occasion enthusiastically spotted a large bird – heron, crane, vulture? – which on closer inspection turned out to be nothing more than a stunted shrub, and on this occasion a hare was revealed to be a horrid little plastic bag… But I had better not get started on litter as that is nothing to be glad about. Actually nor is no blackberries, therefore no jam, nor apocalyptic weather… so the game isn’t going too well at the moment. Perhaps book club tomorrow can change all that…

[some time passes, please imagine sped up clouds, the rushing of waves towards the shore, a sunrise etc]

Well, I have just emerged from bookclub in a much gladder frame of mind. It was the reunion of the original bookclub which had taken a break over the summer so we were all very excited to be back… Today, over coffee and doughnuts, we were discussing Grace Notes by Bernard MacLaverty which I have to admit wasn’t my favourite book of the group so far although it was beautifully written. It just felt a bit bleak and flat especially after the wonderful Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty which we did last week in my other book group. But we had a very spirited debate and I was glad I had read it, sort of…

Being Pollyanna is exceedingly trying and must have been incredibly annoying for those around her. I would much rather hang around with Eeyore and play his sort of games. We are better suited and, anyway, it is no secret that depressive people have very vivid imaginations and artistic leanings…

September 9, 2016
Amaryllis Takes the Train

I have always been very fond of travelling by train: travelling at speed through hill and dale, the possibility of romantic brief encounters; in fact it is quite one of my favourite places in which to read and that is fortunate because I spend quite a few hours on trains throughout the week…

However, being of a very sensitive nature, I have noticed some distressing habits creeping in among my fellow travellers. This is quite apart from the crazy compulsion that seems to overtake many to phone everybody and anybody the moment they take their seat, and then to treat other passengers to the intricate and intimate details of their relationship breakdowns, ailing parents and exactly what they had for lunch… But, horrific as it is to be seated in the vicinity of such people, I am talking about the new phenomenon that has brutally forced itself upon my attention! As soon as people plug themselves into a laptop or phone and don headphones, they seem to believe that if they can’t hear themselves, then no-one else can, and because they are holding some contraption they are unable to use a handkerchief or put a hand in front of their mouth. So, all their horrid little germs are free to waft over me as they heedlessly cough and splutter and sniff and yawn. How am I meant to relax into my book with that going on around me? Yet I am the one too embarrassed to tie my cardigan around my nose and face in case I offend them – and, yes also because I would look a bit odd…

Anyway I alighted from the train last night gulping in the fresh sea air and with the song ‘Anything you can do I can do better’ running through my head. This was because I had been reading Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari and had reached the bit where humans basically become obsolete… I suppose I should have been feeling quite positive because presumably coughs and colds won’t thrive in the otherwise-identical-to-humans-robots he predicts, but still I can’t say the future looks bright for the average homo sapiens. In fact it looks like all those drugs Huxley consumed did make him pretty prescient as the future looks a lot like Brave New World. Of course, as always, the super rich will be alright: largely immortal, with robots to fulfil their every wish without having to pay lip service to working conditions and minimum wages and living in some sort of pure air pods to keep out appalling, killing pollution and rising tides. But the rest of us can look forward to life as a form of subspecies one up from the animals and obviously most of those will be extinct by then because, although the architects of the future can ensure their own immortality, they can’t protect the few surviving lions and elephants from gun-mad game-hunters with too much money! We’ll all be herded into the poisonous, ravaged wasteland gasping for breath and probably the new prey for the aforementioned when they fancy a bit of sport…

And if people can just be designed without flaws and with perfect intelligence, what happens to genius? I suppose Shakespeares, Mozarts and Amaryllises could become two a penny and where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, not to end on a down note, the Man Booker shortlist is announced next week and I have made my own selection of six which are:

The Story of Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout
Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine Thien
His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet
The Schooldays of Jesus, J M Coetzee
Serious Sweet, A L Kennedy
The North Water, Ian McGuire

We’ll see if the judges make the right decisions on Tuesday…

September 1, 2016
Amaryllis goes Clubbing

This week, we are beginning to see the return of the residents of Notting Hill from their sojourns to foreign lands, and now the carnival is over and the shadows are lengthening we are looking forward to the resumption of business as usual.

Yesterday, the first of our book clubs, the lunchtime classics group, reconvened to discuss the Awakening by Kate Chopin, much beloved by English literature courses on gender studies and hailed in the 60s, although written 70 years earlier, as an early strike for feminism. A very lively discussion took place over the smoked salmon and lemon cake but we were somewhat divided as to how we viewed the central character, Edna: 29 years old, married, 2 children, suddenly decides she doesn’t want this comfortable life any more, takes lovers, learns to swim, (close your eyes now if you don’t want to know the ending) kills herself…

So oppressed, victimised, early feminist heroine or rich spoilt southern belle who needed to get a grip? Willa Cather famously described the book as ‘the Creole Bovary.’ But there is a crucial difference: Emma lives a relatively poor, stiflingly provincial life for whom shopping becomes a frenzied attempt of diversion and whose persecution by creditors contributes to her suicide. Like Edna, husband and lovers disappoint but she also has to face the condemnation of rigid social mores; Edna lives a life of luxury with the means to travel and buy endless boxes of bonbons and, although affairs are not actually condoned, she does not seem to face the fate of social outcast. Kate Chopin herself was widowed early on, raised 6 children and took on the running of an estate that was deeply in debt. She also conducted at least one affair quite openly and wrote stories about divorce and venereal disease… And really, if one of my lovers judged it his duty to tell me how a book ends ‘to save … the trouble of wading through it’ it wouldn’t be my own life I would be thinking of ending! Anyway the hour flew by and hopefully the next time JAM reads it she will be able to distinguish childbirth from an upset stomach…

Book groups do seem to have the potential to swiftly change from cosy chats around the table to bloody scenes of carnage. Kindred spirits and former allies are discovered to be deadliest adversaries. Eyes are averted, fists are clenched, voices drip with ice and it is advisable to remove all potential weapons from the vicinity. However none of my present book groups bear any resemblance to such a scenario. All are exemplars of conviviality, tact and forbearance, any breach smoothed over with lashings of coffee and cake (and all in thrall to the flash of an eye or the toss of a curl from your humble authoress). But I have to say that I am not so easily subdued! Should anyone dare to criticise a book of my choice, the wrath of my ancestral clansmen is aroused and is frightful to behold.

But happily such an affront is rare and our meetings are jewels in the crown of bookshop life.

August 27, 2016
Amaryllis on Happiness

Although my heart is undoubtedly in the glens, it would be churlish of me not to extend my ample charms to the world at large so I have taken up residence in a little seaside town on the Essex coast.

This town has just been voted the happiest place in Britain to live, just 3 years after I moved here. Some might say this is by lucky chance but my nearest and dearest,who have long basked in the glow of my sunny disposition, would see it an inevitability and only be surprised it took so long…

However, I also am blessed to work in that most happy of workplaces, a bookshop, and whilst my heart leaps upon entering most small, independent book shops, I do feel an extra surge of serotonin to be working in ours. I’m not really keen on people as a rule, having a Wordsworthian disposition, but bookshop people are the exception. We start talking about the books and end up by exploring the world, the universe and everything. I have never worked in a hedge fund place but cannot help feeling that walls of books would go along way to improving the conviviality of the place…

Take this week for example, a week comparatively quiet due to the holidays but full of happy incident: a visit from our beloved customers and friends ALF and PJS, the latter momentarily confined to a wheelchair, but wit and sparkle undimmed as we deplored the decline of the quality of the paperback (of which more at another time) and enthused about the joys of mudlarking.

Then on Wednesday we had a visit from an author, Michelle Paver who brought us proofs of her new book, Thin Air, and some bookshop staples: chocolate and tea. Michelle was a joy of an author, very interesting and interested in everything from ghost stories and films to the Arctic and Sherpas on Everest. Just the best kind of conversation! Thin Air looks a likely Hallowe’en best-seller at L&R.

Then yesterday: it began badly as I awoke to the sound of Nigel Farage speaking at a Trump rally – enough to make even the most effervescent cower under the bedclothes – but I refused to be cowed and was rewarded: this afternoon DH brought in a game for us to peruse before possibly stocking in the bookshop: I gamely volunteered to try it out it out and my efforts caused T to weep – with laughter and a sweeter sight is not to be seen! Needless to say, we shall be stocking the game!

And I haven’t even mentioned the books I read this week: the unputdownable My Bloody Project By Graeme Macrae Burnet, the wonderful Golden Age by Joan London and J M Coetzee’s The Schooldays of Jesus which engages the reader in questions and lets us make up our own minds.

I’ll stop now because I fear I’m in danger of becoming a bit Paulo Coehlo and that would be a tragedy.

Anyway, happy bank holiday, and happy Carnival to those brave souls who remain in Notting Hill. We shall be closed from lunchtime on Saturday, and back on Tuesday morning for another season of bookselling.

August 22, 2016
Amaryllis: Tech Support

A recent article in the New York Times was headed ‘London bookstores go rogue as no wi-fi zones’. We merited inclusion as the bookshop where you wouldn’t even dare to ask for the wi-fi code’. My colleagues (JAM in particular) assume that this customer asked me and I had no idea what he/she was talking about… Some shops actively advertise their shops as wi-fi and mobile phone-free zones. But contrary to my dear, very funny, colleagues’ view, I just don’t understand why one would expect or need wi-fi in a bookshop! I know our colleagues need it for the very important work undertaken in their secret bunker, but surely one comes into a bookshop to look at the books or to talk about the books or to inhale the books or to ask if we are ‘the famous library of the film’ – none of which require immediate wi-fi gratification as far as I am aware.

I would prefer that people didn’t use mobile phones in the bookshop: I know traffic makes it really hard to hear in the street but it’s really not great to step into the shop to continue the conversation… However I like to think that the bookshop is a haven of liberality and democracy and really just not the place for bans and interdicts – we all know what that led to in 1930s Germany. Anyway I have perfected the Paddington hard stare and that seems to floor even the most ardent user! Either that or what is a phone compared to the vision of an Olympian goddess behind the desk?

This week I went to an airport, Heathrow actually. The occasion was a sad one, seeing my youngest darling child literally fly the nest to the New World. Casting my tear-filled eyes around the soulless space (no books, lots of phones), I noticed a weird change. It’s been a long time since I was on an aeroplane but seemingly 3 year olds now make up the majority of the passengers… Mr Aeroplane and Mr Forgetful patronisingly (even for the junior traveller) remind one what you may and may not take and not to get on the wrong plane. I am sure most people crawl onto their aircraft screaming for gin!

Anyway, planes are far too mundane for my volcanic soul. In books and films, the only exciting event to hope for is the inevitable crash – hopefully in a desert where you either have to eat your fellow passengers or stumble upon shangri-la. Notable intelligent exceptions are No Highway by Nevil Shute where a crash is actually averted, Transatlantic by Colm Toibin which novelises the first atlantic crossing as a true awe-inspiring feat of courage and ingenuity. Trains, on the otherhand offer a wealth of possible drama: you can conduct love affairs, confront nazi spies, meet psychopaths or pick up a bear and those are just my own experiences! Other locomotive adventures feature in this week’s display in the bookshop.

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