North London's Cultural Guide

Why reading fiction matters

5 great tips to bear in mind from Archway Market's charismatic weekly bookseller Jon Privet

Jon Privett was selling books illegally from a shopping cart on Old Street when Archway Market manager Stephanie Smith invited him to be her first trader, buying him a trolley, a travelcard and a phone.

His exceptional selection of books and passion for literature soon won the hearts and minds of local customers – and eight years later he remains at the heart of the Saturday operation with his stall out on Thursdays too.

With over forty years of reading experience, John is the man to ask if you want a recommendation. Here are a handful of superior tips to get the most out of a book.


Top 5 tips by Jon

Reading for pleasure is a journey that never ends and takes us to unexpected places. It is a cumulative process that builds up from its own foundations.

When we make our reading choices we furnish and decorate the rooms of our minds as well as replenishing our personal storehouse of knowledge and information.

The bookstall. Photo: Stephen Emms
The bookstall. Photo: Stephen Emms
Reading can give us the benefit of experiences we would choose to avoid in real life, from shipwrecks to victimisation, madness and violence.

By choosing books from beyond our own sense of identity we can gain a breadth of understanding and insight into other people and other ideologies.

Well-chosen literature does not merely entertain, it can enlighten and expand our minds.

Find Archway Market every Saturday from 10-5pm on Holloway Road up near Upper Holloway overground.

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