The Director Of London's Coolest Bookstore Shares Her Spring Reading List

Photographed by Holly Whittaker
Welcome to It’s Lit – a series of discussions about books. Join us every month to find out who’s reading what.
Lucy Kumara Moore became director of the cult fashion and photography bookshop Claire de Rouen in 2012. Since joining, she has founded Room&Book (an art book fair), curated the library at Opening Ceremony London and is now setting up a new publishing venture.
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"All the books and magazines in Claire de Rouen are ones that I like – they reflect my taste. But my taste is broad," Lucy says. At home, her own impressively broad collection of books and magazines is arranged on a staircase that leads to nowhere.
She confesses to being a slow reader and likes to take her time selecting what to read next. "I feel like people are always saying ‘Read this, watch this, do this, go to this’ – we share things with each other so much now, it’s nice to follow your own instincts and choose books for yourself."
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading my friend Michael Bracewell’s book Roxy: The Band That Invented an Era.
What is your earliest memory of reading?
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I remember reading with my mother when I was very young, maybe 4 or 5. One of my favourite books as a child was called I Want to See the Moon.
Did you spend a lot of time in bookshops as a child?
I think I spent more time in them as a teenager. I liked spending hours in Waterstones, alone, enjoying the solitude and freedom to discover. I think bookshops are very important in that sense.
Photographed by Holly Whittaker
How do you select titles for your bookshop, Claire de Rouen?
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I want Claire de Rouen to feel like a survey of contemporary culture, particularly London’s culture. At the moment, I’m especially interested in eroticism, feminism, the interplay of fashion and art, and in the work of specific publishers who are committed to a focussed group of photographers – STANLEY/BARKER in London for example, or Little Big Man in Los Angeles. In terms of fiction and non-fiction, Fitzcarraldo Editions seems to me to be the best new publisher in the UK.
Which magazines are you faithful to?
POP magazine and Arena Homme+ magazine, which are brother and sister. POP was the one I got really into when I started running the bookshop and it inspired me to start writing again. They’re the best magazines for fashion and art. I think Hot and Cool is quite special, too, it’s very singular in its vision, which is also true of POP and Arena Homme+ – for me, that’s what makes a good magazine. I like the ones that are really clear about what they’re doing, instead of ones that try to please lots of people and reach a large audience. Magazines are super-important, especially now.
Who are your favourite authors?
At the moment, Chris Kraus and Elena Ferrante. And since I was a teenager, Emily Brontë and from my 20s, Vladimir Nabokov.
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I can’t believe I still haven’t read any Elena Ferrante…
Oh, you should. I’ve never read anything like it before. She writes with so much feeling. I had to stop reading her for a while because it was so intense!
What's the most requested title at Claire de Rouen?
Books by Wolfgang Tillmans are always in high demand.
Where do you shop for books?
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I like Dashwood in New York and I also admire Donlon Books here in London.
Are you (or have you ever) been part of a book club?
No, although it is something I would love to do.
Where do you get your book recommendations from?
From friends who I respect but, in truth, I read very slowly so I do not need recommendations very often! I’ve got a list – I still have so many to read on my shelves.
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Photographed by Holly Whittaker
How do you organise your bookshelves at home?
By theme, artist or photographer.
What do you use as a bookmark?
At the moment, a postcard of a Tom of Finland painting of two men dancing together.
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Is there a book you've read more than once?
I’ve read the beginning of Proust many times! Also Wuthering Heights and Lolita, which I’ve read so much I’ve had to Sellotape it together.
Which three books would you recommend to a stranger?
Neue Welt by Wolfgang Tillmans, I Love Dick by Chris Kraus and On Immunity by Eula Biss.
Where and when do you read?
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In the mornings when I am on holiday, in the evenings otherwise. I only read at home, in bed, never in transit. I listen to music when I’m travelling around London because I like looking at what is going on around me. You see great things out of the bus window all the time.
Photographed by Holly Whittaker
Do you have a Kindle?
No. When I go away sometimes I take three or four books with me and it can be really heavy but I’m not sure they’d even be available to buy for Kindle. I associate screens with connectivity – the antithesis of reading. I really love knowing where you are in a book and how much you have left to read. I always fold down pages that I like. Also, you own books – you can’t share a book on a Kindle with your friends so easily.
Lucy’s Reading List
Roxy: The Band That Invented an Era by Michael Bracewell
I Want to See the Moon by Louis Baum
I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Neue Welt by Wolfgang Tillmans
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
On Immunity by Eula Biss
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