December 3, 2006

Hush, its a secret

During my adventuring around London yesterday I found this mysterious book store called Persephone Books. It was sunset when I discovered the store and it was curious that the lights inside were very low and the store was filled with women. Didn't look like a regular book store either - more like an office that was secretly selling books. All the books were covered in the same grey cover and there weren't any prices. The only helpful information was “This book good for a Sunday read” and “Perfect to read by the fireplace” and other comments of that sort posted near each pile. It was clearly a hush-hush kind of place so I grabbed a catalog and snuck out.

Once safely on the tube I could read the catalog and figure out what the heck this place was about. Check it out…

“Persephone prints mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women. The titles are chosen to appeal to busy women who rarely have time to spend in ever-larger bookshops and who would like to have access to a list of books designed to be neither too literary nor too commercial. The books are guaranteed to be readable, thought-provoking and impossible to forget. We sell mainly through mail order, through selected shops and we have our own shop.”

Through further investigation into Persephone I discovered on Encyclopedia Mythica ™ that Persephone is the goddess of the underworld in Greek mythology. Ah yes, it is now all making sense.

Here are some of their 70 titles (which apparently sell for £10 each):

Title No 1William - an Englishmanby CICELY HAMILTON

Title No 4Fidelityby SUSAN GLASPELL

Title No 6The Victorian Chaise-longue by MARGHANITA LASKI


I’m a cover shopper which is also how I buy bottles of wine. If the cover looks interesting then I’m in for a whirl. I think I’ll have to trust their selective judgement and pick one up. Hopefully they have a title that is “Perfect for a long night beside a dripping boiler whilst you wait for your bankcard to arrive.”