I listened this morning to a BBC podcast about the riots and looting in London. (Podcast is downloadable here; it's called "I'll Keep Looting Till I Get Caught.") Reporter Nick Ravenscroft talked to youth on the streets who said they had balaclavas at the ready to pull over their heads and a plan for looting. Ravenscroft sounded baffled as he asked them, repeatedly, why they thought this was OK; the unnamed youths seemed equally baffled that someone would question their desire for free stuff.

(A chilling, excellent piece on the looting and the looters is here.)

(And an interesting bookstore blog from Wood Green Book Shop is here, blogging about the riots.)

The ray of light in all this madness seems to be bookstores. So far, they are mostly unscathed. It might just be that books are simply not what the looters are looking for. But in any case, few bookstores have reported much damage.

A piece in the Guardian yesterday mentioned that Waterstones books was the only shop in Clapham Junction that was untouched.

The Bookseller blog reports this morning that Pages of Hackney, in the heart of one of the riot-hit areas, has been tweeting throughout. (You can follow them at @pagesofhackney) Their tweets are spunky and brave:

"Phew, just a deathly looking row of burnt out cars and motorcycles over the block. We're ok though, for another night."

"Put shutters down, then decided against it and opened them again! Come and buy books."

"We're open, we're ok, morale is low but we're drinking a lot of tea and trying to keep our chins' up."

And, this morning: "Wow. There's a £750 Limited Edition set of Murakami's 1Q84 coming out. Fully understand if you want to 'wait for the paperback.'"

Hopefully, that means things are mostly back to normal.