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Secret #2 ... The new kid on the block

Smith Court Soho

Bluestocking Books tours bring people into London bookshops they might not enter on their own - today let me take you over the threshold of The Second Shelf, the newest shop on my tours.

Making waves in the bookselling world and with a fair amount of press in the US, The Second Shelf is still a secret to the general book browser. Hidden in Smith Court in Soho, just off busy Brewer Street, it is a secret that needs to be shared.

miniature book

The Second Shelf sells antiquarian and rare books by women. There is something for everyone - £6 vintage Penguin paperbacks, 1940s cookbooks, science fiction magazines, contemporary zines, Victorian novels and a huge selection of twentieth century fiction. Plus special finds, like miniature books and early Jane Austen.

magazine cover

Whether you pop in on your own for a browse or bring friends along, the gorgeous shop is worth half an hour's exploration. You'll likely find the owner Allison or bookseller Pema in residence, ready to discuss favourite writers and the bookshop's mission of balancing our bookshelves.

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