So this time I’m not going to talk about a book or film I’d like to recommend to you but a place where I love to do my book shopping whenever I’m in London.
The Camden Stables Market is one of London’s famous markets, which is also why you might not want to go there on Saturday or Sunday afternoon since there are going to be lots and lots of tourists roaming around in a very narrow space. However if you find the time to go there, try and visit this little stall at the far back of the underground stable market. The elderly gentleman who owns it loves to talk about books and he always gives me brilliant recommendations based on what I like. He also doesn’t mind if you just want to roam the shelves undisturbed for an hour.
You can find almost everything here, from novels, poetry, old travel logs to old anatomy books. Obviously all the books are second (or third/fourth/fifth) hand, but that allows you to find editions you couldn’t really get anywhere else. I’m really not one of the people who condemn modern book stores or online stores, because I order my books online or buy them in big chain stores just like everyone else, simple due to availability, but rummaging through the shelves in this little stall while being surrounded by this distinctive smell of old books makes it a completely different shopping experience. I could always stay there for hours and just get lost in looking at all the beautiful books.
This time I only left with the five wonderful books you can see in the picture on the right, but I’ll definitely be back next time I’m in town. If you ever happen to be in London, I strongly recommend that you visit this lovely stall at the stable market and treat yourself with a few of those treasures 🙂
“Happiness is a certain way of seeing things” – François Lelord
Hector is a London psychiatrist who has a seemingly perfect life: a perfect job, a perfect girlfriend, following the routines every day. Until one day in the middle of a session with a patient, he is forced to think about the question whether he is actually happy with his life. Since he cannot truthfully answer that question with a clear YES he decides to go on a trip around the world to find out what makes people happy.
His journey leads him from Shanghai, where he befriends a rich business man, to a buddhist monastery, to Africa where he visits an old friend and helps out in his clinic and to many more stops all over the world. He meets a lot of interesting people and gets even more different answers to the question “What is happiness?”
His journey ends in America, where he visits his ex-girlfriend, whom he never quite managed to forget. However, she is happily married and a mother now. She makes him realize that she is not what will him happy and she helps him see what he really wants from his life and what has to do to actually live it this way.
Although Hector and the Search for Happiness deals with a rather philosophical topic it is still a very easy read , because it has a very light air to it. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry but most of all it’ll make you think about your life and about the question what happiness is for you. At least that’s what it did to me. If you happen to be fluent in French you might want to read the original “Le voyage d’Hector ou la recherche du bonheur” since it’s usually preferable to read it in the original language. Nevertheless I recommend to read this book no matter in which language. And I also strongly suggest that you watch the recently released movie starring Simon Pegg (Cornetto Trilogy, Star Trek) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl). It captures the feeling of the book incredibly well and Simon Pegg did an amazing job playing Hector.