In praise of a very Brixton bookshop

Our Features Editor Luke Massey gushes unrestrained about just why Bookmongers on Coldharbour Lane is so totally awesome (opinions may be Luke’s)…

Browsing in Bookmongers Credit: Antonio Sansica -
Browsing in Bookmongers
Credit: Antonio Sansica –

Bookmongers has everything a second-hand bookshop should have: an ordered chaos of sprawling literature – with everything from history and philosophy to travel writing and poetry laying claim to their own little fiefdoms.

But it’s more than this that makes Bookmongers special – it’s the ambience: the dulcet notes of folk, blues or Americana on the stereo; people talking with Patrick the owner about Brixton goings-on or asking for book recommendations; children petting Rosa – the resident dog and Madame of the establishment – and then pining to return when dragged away by their parents.

It’s finding a book I didn’t even know I wanted and excitedly leafing through it, while in the background Patrick sings in a half-hush with the music and Rosa stares thoughtfully out of the window from her perch.

It’s a bookshop which, to me, is a beautiful reflection of Brixton. The diversity of the customers and their interests, the personal and homelike atmosphere, and the divinely unordered collection, form a wonderful microcosm of the vibrant patchwork of our community. To me, Bookmongers is the bookshop of our community.