if your taste in books is more niche, less bestseller list, forget borders and blackwells. venture into one of london’s independent book shops for a feast of rare finds, thoughtful selections and second-hand hard covers of another-man’s-treasure varieties.

here are a few of my favourites:

koenig books, 80 charing cross

i get insatiable urges for a trip this small but dense shop piled high with books on modern and contemporary art, photography and architecture. i just picked up richard renaldi‘s figure and ground filled with poignant portraits and landscapes; cotton puffs, q-tips, smoke and mirrors: the drawings of ed ruscha; and on the way to work about damien hirst. it’s worth wading through the tourists swarming the leicester square tube stop to get to busy charing cross road, where you’ll find a host of specialists book shops like murder one (which only sells crime and mysteries, dahling). there’s also a koenig books at the serpentine.

highgate bookshop, 9 highgate high street

not sure if it’s the titles they carry or the location, but i cannot resist a little snoop around this charming store — even though i usually feel i’m shattering the silence by tiptoeing around the place. while you’re in the area, check out the oxfam book store down the road at 47 highgate high street. the highgate cognoscenti tend to have a lot of disposable literary treasures.

daunt books, 193 haverstock hill, belsize park

formula for feeling utterly civilised: go for a walk on hampstead heath, see a flick at screen on the hill, followed by a thorough perusal of daunt books (directly across from belsize park tube). then spend the next day on the sofa completely guilt free.

find more listings of independent book shops here.