Must-read books this February | St James's London

Books

Must-read books this February

Your next central London bookstore haul

Read more

From legendary authors to debut writers, art books and rare first editions, we’ve got a list of hand-picked titles for you to get stuck into. Discover our top picks and expert recommendations from our exceptional book stockists in St James’s and read your way through 2024.

Hatchards

Established in 1797, Hatchards is one of the oldest and most famous booksellers in the United Kingdom. This month, be moved by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hisham Matar's deeply personal new novel ‘My Friends’ which follows the story of three exiled Libyan friends living in London after an act of real political violence at the Libyan embassy in St. James’s Square in 1984. Forced to live in exile himself, learn more about Matar's experiences and journey to writing this novel on the Hatchards podcast.

If you prefer non-fiction, Hatchards recommends, 'The Promised Party' by Jennifer Clement. From growing up next to Frida Kahlo's house to experiencing counter-culture in 1980s New York, this account of a life intertwined with art and revolution across two countries makes for a fascinating read.

The London Library

The ultimate hideout for all your reading pleasures, The London Library is bursting with over a million books which span a variety of subjects - you’ll always find a pleasant book to peruse.

For fans of Australian crime novels, or fans of any great crime writing, Head Librarian Amanda Stebbings recommends 'Wake' by Shelley Burr. 'Unexplained disappearances, family tensions, the merciless scrutiny of online commentators, all taking place in the heat and wide open spaces of the bush. A deserved winner of the CWA Daggar in the Library, I read this in one sitting'.

Waterstones

You may need to invest in some extra shelf space after a visit to Waterstones Piccadilly, as there’s something for everyone. With six storeys of books, alongside a gallery café, bar and restaurant - you can sit down for the day and unwind with a book and a drink. As part of LGBT+ History Month this February, join Waterstones book club's discussion of Tom Crewe's 'The New Life', a poignant re-imagining of the lives of the two men who published the first English medical textbook on homosexuality. YA reader? Try queer lovestory, 'Afterlove' by Tanya Byrne.

Maison Assouline

Known for bold illustration and its aesthetically-pleasing coffee table reads, Maison Assouline is the place to shop (or just browse) and treat yourself to a cocktails or two at its Swans Bar. If you’d like to make a quick trip around the world, browse Assouline’s expansive Travel From Home collection. This month, swap winter blues for ocean hues in its new 'Ocean Wonderlust' tome.

Thomas Heneage

The heart of the art world, Thomas Heneage curates an exceptional selection of art books within its walls. If you're interested in art history and ownership, explore the journey of ancient objects in 'Antiquities In Motion. From Excavation Sites To Renaissance Collections'. Whilst you’re there, why not browse its collection of signed books, limited editions, and original works of arts.

Daniel Couch Rare Books

A specialist dealer in rare books, Daniel Couch Rare Books stocks first editions and antique prints dating back to between the 15th to the 19th centuries with a focus on travel and discovery.

This month, Daniel's recommendations include a journey into early Americana with the ‘Ionannis Cameras minoratani’, by Caius Julius Solinus. Dated 1520, this landmark work in American cartography includes the first map in a printed book to include the word ‘America’. The only printed map to use the name ‘America’ before this was Martin Waldsemuller's 12-sheet map of the world, which was purchased by the Library of Congress for ten million dollars. Another central piece for any collection is Peter Martyr’s map of Florida and the West Indies which is the first map specifcally devoted to the New World, dated 1511.

If the book worm in you is not yet satisfied, why not discover more great bookshops in our neighbourhood. Take a break from your work day and settle in with a book at one of our best places to work remotely in London.