Back in the day, as the saying goes (or to be more precise, the 1980s!) I used to spend a good number of my weekends in London visiting the bookshops of Charing Cross Road with my female friends – mainly my good friend J. It pleases me that we still do the same thing all these years later, although I rue the loss of many of the bookstores; and one in particular was brought vividly back to me recently by an unexpected find in the Oxfam:

silvery moon
“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” was published in 1994 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Silver Moon bookshop; based in Charing Cross Road, this was a women-only establishment, housing a feminist bookshop on the ground floor with a cafe in the basement. And to allow it to remain women-only, you had to sign up to membership (like a Men’s Club) which J. and I duly did (in fact, I probably still have the membership card lurking about somewhere). The shop was quite small when we visited, so I suspect this was the original premises at no. 68; but although small, it was stuffed with interesting titles, and I still have many books I bought there.

Alas, the shop closed in 2001 and was amalgamated with Foyles; by then, I had lost touch with it owing to the rigours of family life and child raising (how ironic!) But I remember happy times there, with tea and cake and book shopping, and I shall think of the shop while reading the stories collected here…

(As an aside, I had a little look online while writing this to see if there were any pictures of the place – and found this: – so pleased someone snapped the place!)