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Archive for the ‘London’ Category

On Being a Book Giver

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I grew up with books; they were (and still are) my food, my happiness, my refuge, my world. I met the most important people in my life because of books. And naturally, I have always wanted to share this love, this secret of happiness if you want. Being a book giver at the World Book Night on 23 April 2012 was a unique experience for me. Why is that? Even though I have been spreading the love in a different context by teaching Literature at University students, taking it a step further and talk to strangers was an entirely different thing.

The point of World Book Night was to reach audiences that are not normally passionate or even exposed to books, so this excluded giving out the books in libraries or bookshops, which would have been of course easier for me. In my book giver application I suggested that I wanted to give out the books at Lewisham Shopping Centre, which is a meeting point for a lot of people and sadly has no bookshop inside or even around.

Following the suggestions at the World Book Night blog, I gave out some books on the 21 bus to Lewisham. In an enclosed space like a bus, I was able to explain what it was all about and people even asked me questions about the book I had chosen. They were eager to find out. The greatest pleasure was when later in the shopping centre I saw a young boy passing in front of me, reading while walking, absorbed by the book I had given him earlier in the bus.

In the shopping centre however, the experience was almost terrifying. People would not stop, not even to see what this was about, even though it was clear from my self-made banner with the World Book Night logo that I was not trying to sell them anything. It is saddening to realise how suspicious we have become of each other, that the simple gesture of giving without demanding anything in return does not even occur to us anymore as a possibility. So those who finally stopped and talked to me did not just receive a beautiful book, but also the live confirmation that unconditional giving still exists. Maybe this triggers them to give unconditionally, too; and this makes me happy.


Written by Georgia

April 30, 2012 at 17:21

On a sunny February Sunday in Deptford

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Deptford, London SE8.

Blitz time sign on the bridge on Tanners Hill pointing to Shelter in 160 yards.

Lower end of Tanners Hill, one of the oldest streets in Deptford.

































The Wellbeloved butchers are there since 1829. Here is a map of 1833. If you click and enlarge you will see that Tanners Hill was densely populated, while everything else around was pretty much fields.

Deptford High Street

















Deptford High Street, a street with far too many betting shops and pawnbrokers.

But it also has The Deptford Project:

The Deptford Project, a train wagon turned into a cafe.

Street Art near The Albany theatre

Deptford Lounge

Deptford Lounge










































And this is the brand new Deptford Lounge, a very nice space to read and socialise. The new library, which belongs to Lewisham Libraries, has ordered 1000 new titles covering all tastes, including those of difficult readers like myself. To give you an idea, seeing BolaƱo and Houellebecq staring back proudly from the shelves gave me a smile that stayed all day on my face.

Deptford Creek Rail Bridge
































The walk continued towards Deptford Creek. This is the famous Deptford Creek lift bridge, reconstructed in 1963, but originally in use since 1838. It is one of the very few opening bridges in Britain, used for the ships to pass to the Royal Dockyard, which was in Deptford since 1513.

The Laban Dance Centre














































The Laban and new apartment blocks.
















Where the Deptford Creek (the tidal reach of river Ravensbourne) meets the Thames:
















Along the Thames in SE8:
















You can see the Cutty Sark from here:

Opposite Canary Wharf











































































New apartments at the former Pepys Estate, named after author Samuel Pepys, who spent some time in Deptford.



































Here you can find a lot about Deptford’s history.

If you haven’t been there yet, go have a look before it becomes too popular.

Written by Georgia

March 1, 2012 at 01:10