Strand speed dating for book lovers

Meanwhile, I'll just have to keep looking for that tall, handsome, man reading Middlemarch on the train.

“I made sure that the day was the pinnacle of a normal Sunday," O'Duffy said.

Bass' father, Ben, started the Strand when he was just 25 years old, with 0 of his own savings and a 0 loan from a friend.

Fred's daughter, Nancy, began working at the Strand when she was 25 and now runs the entire store.

Credit: Newsday / Alan Raia In the 1980s, the Strand opened a branch on Front Street similar to its Union Square shop that sold mostly used books.

In 1996, this South Street Seaport branch relocated to Fulton and Gold streets, but it closed on Sept. Unlike the Union Square location, which has constant traffic, this spot was popular during lunch breaks and after work.

In spite of the unfavourable odds, I refused to be discouraged and began the evening with high hopes.

The men I met brandished books by authors from Franz Kafka to George Friedman, from Aldous Huxley to Richard Bach and from Jonathan Swift to Evelyn Waugh.

On the night itself a group of about 30 met in a room of the LSE's New Academic Buildings.

Inexplicably, though, literary speed-dating has yet to become commonplace here.

Anxious to try out this 21st-century method of merging reading and romance, I gate-crashed a literary speed-dating event hosted by the London School of Economics' Student Union Literary Society as part of the LSE's Literary Festival.

One man gave an impassioned reading from JL Carr's wistful novella A Month in the Country, and another, championing Tom Wolfe's seminal novel about greed and consumerism, The Bonfire of the Vanities, carried his copy on his i Phone – an irony I found quietly amusing.

The atmosphere was relaxed, the company congenial and the conversation pleasant – but did I, oh did I, find love? I sincerely hope that more small independent bookshops, libraries and literary societies follow LSE's lead and start to hold literary speed-dating events.

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When the Strand's buying desk moved to the back of the store, employees discovered a treasure trove of old love letters, photos, article clippings and more, recalled first-floor manager Cale Hand.

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