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Waterstones, Broad Street, Reading

DSC06760I first visited a Waterstones bookstore in December 1994, when I was in Cambridge. Waterstones usually has a dark-coloured store front. I had since walked to a few Waterstones around the UK, Manchester, London… but this particular one in Broad Street, Reading, ticks all the boxes of what a great bookstore should be.

I have seen enough mega bookstores in Malaysia, Singapore, China’s big cities, bookstores with cafes, with knowledgeable helpful staff. This Waterstones bookstores is wonderful because of the following reasons:

  1.  The Waterstones store building used to be the independent chapel. The Victorian architecture added a classy ambience to book browsing experience. A high, dome shaped ceiling, effused with natural sun light, with two set of curvy stairs converge right in the middle of the hall.
  2. The internal decor exudes an exquisite taste. A worn arm chair at the corner, tempting you to sit down, grab a book and read. The children’s corner is equipped with an aquarium, fluffy chairs, soft landing mat. Comfortable sofas at the centre of the first floor hall, the black /navy blue bookshelves accentuate the striking colours of book spines.
  3. The promotional strategy is equally amazing. A stack of books are adorned with Nick Hornsby’s handwritten recommendation of the books he read and loved. A shelf with handwritten notes of recommendation from the staff of Waterstones, from store assistant, distribution to sales staff.
  4. There is a full shelf of books for film adaptations and movie tie-in. A full 4 shelves of new publications. A shelf dedicated to featured writers. Many 3 for 2 offers booths. Must reads from old books to new, from classics to contemporary.

Everywhere I look, every book I browse, Waterstones is luring me to buy books from them. Books titles are wide ranging, e.g. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which the library did not stock, great selections of travel books, biographies and fiction titles.

Whenever I run out of ideas of books to read, I would come in here for a stroll and I could go back with list of books to read in my head. These are some titles that spur my interest:

the-wondrous-life-of-oscar-waodigging-to-americamiddlesexColourblind-willow-sleeping-womansoul-mountainA perfectly good familyrevolutionary-roadin-the-kitchenAtlas shruggedGame Control

 JeffreyEugenides is the writer of  The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction 2002.


Lionel Shriver is clearly one of my favourite writer, Haruki Murakami too. Rose Tremain’s The Road Home was my favourite read of 2008. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature 2008, Soul Mountain Gao Xiang Han is a Nobel Prize Laureate 2000. Ayn Rand was first mentioned as a personal friend of Alan Greenspan, a political activist, creator of objectivism, her books are now in Penguin classics titles.

There are so many good books to read, really, one shouldn’t have to endure a mediocre work and read it till the last page. Recently, I am cultivating the habit of not finishing a book, if I feel it is not worth my time.

Clearly some of the book titles are already sitting in my reservation list. Of all the bookstores in the UK, WH Smith, Borders etc. Waterstones is probably the best. It is classy, titles are wide ranging, not run of the mill from the current bookseller’s chart. The public libraries are doing a good job too. I tried looking up for the new book titles in the public library. Guess what? I always find them, albeit a bit of a queue sometimes. For this reason, I love the UK!!

Read about the birth of Waterstones bookstores here. Fascinating.

About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


2 thoughts on “Waterstones, Broad Street, Reading

  1. Oooooooo i’m so green with envy now….

    Posted by The Reading Monk | May 28, 2009, 2:25 am
  2. You can try some of these in your shop. or…. Come live in the UK. 🙂

    Posted by Jovenus | May 28, 2009, 8:15 am

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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