Did I mention my penchant for a paving slab sized coffee-table book? Despite the shift to online consumption, specialist bookshops seem to be thriving. And taking full advantage of this is Assouline books, whose new space at Liberty is an absolute delight. From the vermillion walls (“inspired by the Rubens room at the Louvre, which I first saw at the age of 14”, Prosper Assouline told me), to a finely curated selection of vintage books, to the hand picked objets – a kaftan-shaped vase! a Goyard library-trunk! – the shop has the innate mix of old school charm, wit and luxury that slots right into the Tudor-esque surrounding of Liberty.
“These are objects, they decorate your home,” said Assouline’s Vice President of Global Communications, Mimi Crume Sterling, explaining the enduring appeal of the huge ‘dining room table books’ (as opposed to coffee table books) and smaller gifty offerings (next on my wish list: Robert Indiana). “They bring colour, design, a sense of culture to your home”. Joining the party is a cluster of small tables to sit at and enjoy a coffee, tea, wine or champagne while you leaf through your copy of Rebel Style or The Allure of Beauty. Whatever we’re calling this new library-leisure trend, I’m signing up for the long haul.