It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of many books must be in want of a book nook. As deep winter sets in, this is a desire that becomes only more urgent. We trawl the streets, looking hopefully through the windows of cafe, restaurant and shop, for a place to hang our excess layers and pull out our latest read. Our demands are few – we ask only for a comfy chair and a steaming cup of our favourite winter drink. Yet there is a definite hierarchy of eligible places within this.
The search for a favourite reading spot is one that has preoccupied me for a long time now. Having moved house (and country) countless times over the past 10 years, this is one quest that has proved constant. Throughout my life, books have the most consistent source of relief from the anxiety and stress that accompanies moving to a new and unknown place. It is, therefore, no surprise that my most recent move has involved another extensive search for the city’s best reading corners. To document my attempts to seek out new favourite spots, I have decided to take my quest public on The Book Habit. Here’s hoping that we can build a global map of the best literary haunts!
We begin in my new home city of Colchester, England. After a year of attempting to crack on with my PhD remotely, I finally recognised that no amount of self-motivation could combat the compelling draw of the books surrounding me at home. Only with a move to campus was it possible for me to retain any hope of actually getting this qualification finished. Fortunately, Colchester has proved a great location for an unrelenting bibliophile such as myself. Good bookshops and cafes are everywhere – but one location, in particular, has won my heart.
Those who know me personally will be well aware that I have a pretty big obsession with the 1940s. From swing dancing to tea dresses, I love it all. So imagine my enormous joy at discovering the 1940s-inspired Jacqueline’s Tea Room. With Glenn Miller playing in the background and 1940s paraphernalia in every corner, this little tea shop is a window into another time.
It is not only the 1940s ambience that makes this the perfect readers’ retreat – the cakes and teas are one of (actually THE MAIN) reason for passing a couple of hours in one of Jacqueline’s armchairs. You all know that I could not survive without my daily ration of tea, but this stuff is a step beyond my usual Tetley teabags. The selection is astonishing and so, so delicious. Tea and books are, undoubtedly, the ultimate combination.
So bring a book to Colchester and we can meet for tea at Jacqueline’s. Comfy chairs, friendly people, and a feeling that you’ve just stepped out of the TARDIS – surely all things we look for in a perfect book nook?