Category Archives: Bookshops I Love

Bookshops I Love; Oxton Village Books

Whenever I choose a new abode I am known to base it on the amount of book shops and charity shops containing books in the vicinity. However there have been occasions where, without sounding ungrateful, I wouldn’t have normally chosen to live. My aunties was one such place, when 2010 ended in the most hideous of ways and I went to live with them, however fortunately no longer had I moved there than a charity shop of just books opened. Moving in with The Beard earlier in the year was another such time. The area is full of converted Georgian mansion houses, like the one we live in, and trees as far as the eye could see, and I couldn’t imagine a bookshop would be nearby. Well as it happens I was wrong, there was a gem waiting. This of course had nothing to do with me wanting to move in *cough*.

When I move somewhere new I do many ‘getting to know the area’ walks. This involves turning left or right in a randomly strategic (?) way and seeing what I discovered. Well after an art museum at the end of one road away, then a castle folly on another, I turned the road to Oxton Village and was walking to what could be seen when the words ‘BOOK SHOP’ appeared hanging above the post office. I blinked, looked again, blinked, looked harder and was thrilled to see I saw right. This was no mirage. It was closed though, or so I thought, as the post office team were on lunch and it shares the same spot.

I went home, memorising the route (which I now tread almost every other day) and within the hour I was walking back. Well I have to say that Oxton Village Shop is a real treat indeed. As you walk in they have shelves lining the entrance with discount books for 50p or £1, until you turn the corner and find the till (always manned by lovely staff that I am slowly but surely getting to know) and an array of new books and books of local interest greet you on your left, to your right there is a children’s section, travel section and other nonfiction. I admit by this time I was thinking ‘erm, where is the fiction’ until I saw a staircase leading to the basement. Well guess what awaited me…

The downstairs section of the shop is just full to the brim with second hand books, generally £2 each, and it is a really wonderful mix. You have classic novels and penguins…

There is a crime and thriller section, a historical section, memoirs and autobiographies and of course a large literary fiction section, contemporary and chick lit I then discovered were also upstairs, which I spent most of my time in.

I was completely smitten and got completely lost in this underground warren for quite some time and left with a wonderful Muriel Spark.

I have of course been back and bought a fair few books since, they somehow seem to have books I suddenly need for various things as well as gems I discover I never knew I wanted until I saw it (books about The Archers for example), and what has been really nice is the discovery that they accept donations, perfect, they have had quite a few from me I can tell you.

So I thought I would tell you about it. Oxton Village Books can be found on the internet here (where you can check your Bookoscopes lol) and if you happen to be in the area then it is found at 44 Christchurch Road, Oxton, Merseyside, CH43 5SF let me know if you pop and visit, I may be free for coffee ha! So where is your local bookshop, is it an indie or a chain?

P.S I do feel I should apologise for the lack of book reviews on Savidge Reads of late. This is all the Green Carnation Prize’s fault as we have had so many submissions, though I am not complaining, this year it has completely taken over my reading. Naturally I can’t talk about these books (and some are utterly brilliant so I am bursting to) until at least the longlist has been announced, maybe longer. There will be a report from Italy, more bookshops I love, general reading musings and other bookish bits in the interim though. I hope that is ok?

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under Bookshops I Love

This Could Be Where It All Started…

Today I visited a bookshop in Southport that, if the Savidges could dish them out, should have a blue plaque above the door for services to readers and reading…

20120507-223951.jpg

The reason for this is that ‘Broadhursts of Southport’ was were Granny Savidge Reads would go in as a child “I couldn’t afford the books, but I would sit in the corner and read, hopefully hidden”. So the love of reading that’s been passed down to me, via Mum of course, could have started here.

Alas it was closed today, though fortunately two other bookshops in Southport weren’t, so I couldn’t have a good wander around. However I will have to go back, maybe with Gran, as I am thinking of writing a ‘Good Bookshop Guide’ of the UK, I don’t think such a thing exists shockingly!?!

14 Comments

Filed under Bookshops I Love, Granny Savidge Reads, Random Savidgeness

Much Wenlock (A Town of Books)

What could be more perfect on my birthday than visiting a wonderful olde-worlde village brimming with history, antique shops, delis, tea rooms and book shops? Well actually going with my book loving Gran, mother and little teenage sister as it happens. Fortunate really as that is what I ended up doing on my 30th Birthday back in March. Knowing that if you read this blog it would be something that you would enjoy I took pictures along the way so you could do the jaunt with me, be warned though there are pictures of very tempting book shops and their contents ahead…

I didn’t know very much (pun not intended) about Much Wenlock before we took the thirty minute drive from my mother’s tiny village on my birthday morning. My 13 year old sister soon told me that it was the town which started the Olympics, which I refused to believe until my mother told me to ‘listen to your little sister, you might learn something sunshine’ and I learnt it was true. I have since found out it is the birth place of Mary Beard (who I am officially obsessed with at the moment) so it has grown on me favourably even more. The first thing I did notice was how quintessentially English it looked. To me this is the perfect stereotypical English country town in all its glory…

20120501-132743.jpg

One of the reasons we had headed that way was that my mother and I had had the idea that maybe for my 30th we should get something from an antique shop that I could keep forever as a memento, and we found a brilliantly bonkers little store on one street which was literally crammed with delights…

20120501-132908.jpg

Sadly nothing was quite what I was after, so we came away fruitless, though I was tempted by an owl…

20120501-133006.jpg

So next came the bookshops, first of which was Wenlock Books a tardis of a store which has both new books and old.

20120501-133055.jpg

You walk into the stores ground floor and are hit with a level of book porn which is almost too tempting for its own good frankly…

20120501-133226.jpg

And thats before you go upstairs…

20120501-133318.jpg

Where there are nooks and crannies of bookish delights awaiting you in secret corners.

20120501-133448.jpg

I chose something suitably apt as my memento of my visit there.

20120501-134025.jpg

Next up was Much More Books which is a solely second hand store just down the road.

20120501-134201.jpg

You walk in and are hit with that always welcoming scent of old books needing a new home and the possibility of finding real gems on every shelf.

20120501-134413.jpg

I made my sister spend her pocket money on this…

20120501-134726.jpg

How could I not? It was on a very impressive Penguin shelf. The sea of orange is always so tempting.

20120501-134841.jpg

I grabbed a rare piece of Daphne Du Maurier’s non-fiction which I had never heard of and seemed like it simply had to be bought by me and no one else.

20120501-135152.jpg

I didn’t buy, and am slightly kicking myself for not doing so, a copy of a very rare Daphne Du Maurier short story/novella ‘Happy Christmas’. It wasn’t the fact it was a lot of money, it was more the fact that it was a Christmas book and I don’t read those at any other time of year.

20120501-135437.jpg

I am hoping that someone (Mum, Gran, The Beard… anyone?) might just get me a copy for Christmas this year. Hint, hint.

So I came away with two treats, Gran with three, but my sister and mother did the best coming away with a whopping six books each! Well done them! Eventually, though it took a while, we were rather booked out and so we left (via a tea room, Abbey and a deli) and headed home for champagne. What a wonderfully bookish birthday treat!

33 Comments

Filed under Bookshops I Love, Random Savidgeness

Bookshops I Love; Reid of Liverpool

So while I was in Liverpool earlier in the week how could I not try and hunt down a good independent bookshop? I mean you have to when you go away to a new city/suburb/street don’t you, it’s only right and proper, in fact it would be rude not to.

With only a limited amount of time I couldn’t visit all the three that I wanted to, I did manage to find my first destination of choice and that was a second hand book shop on a wonderfully Dickensian, actually make that Victorian as I don’t really know my Dickens as we know, street… Reid of Liverpool.

It just tempts you from the outside doesn’t it, and its promise is fulfilled when you walk through the doors and are greeted by endless books.

What is quite quirky, though what could drive a quick browser to distraction, is that really there is no order to the books at all. Fiction and nonfiction are mixed together so if you are after a specific book you could get frustrated but I love walking along the shelves and seeing what gems I might locate and in what order. So I was in heaven.

Of course I couldn’t leave empty handed, again it would have been rude not to, and I did find not one gem but two, which are now back at Savidge Reads HQ waiting to be read at some point.

‘The Girl from the Fiction Department’ was a book I had never heard of before but grabbed me from the title which called out to me from its spine on the shelf. I thought it was fiction but discovered it is actually ‘a portrait of Sonia Orwell’ George Orwell’s second wife. I know nothing of her at all, I have discovered from the blurb that ‘portrayed by many of her husband’s biographers as a manipulative gold-digger who would stop at nothing to keep control of his legacy. But the truth about Sonia Orwell – the model for Julia in nineteen eighty-four – was altogether different. Beautiful, intelligent and fiercely idealistic, she lived at the heart of London’s literary and artistic scene before her marriage to Orwell changed her life forever. Burdened with the almost impossible task of protecting Orwell’s estate, Sonia’s loyalty to her late husband brought her nothing but poverty and despair.’ Now doesn’t that sound like a brilliant book? I don’t think it’s in print anymore. I also love how the cover is designed to look like its battered when actually pristine.

The ‘Selected Works of Djuna Barnes’ is a book I have been seeking out for ages; well actually that is not 100% accurate. I have been searching for ‘Nightwood’ since I read about it in Kate Summerscale’s ‘The Queen of Whale Cay’. Now my searching has paid off and I have an omnibus of three of her works, let’s hope I like her.

Anyway I thought that Reid of Liverpool was quite a find. If you are ever in the city do pop in. You can find more details about it here.

11 Comments

Filed under Bookshops I Love

Bookshops I Love; The Book Barge

As someone who doesn’t really like boats and really doesn’t like books set on them, you might be surprised that when I heard The Book Barge was coming to Manchester I was both excited and intrigued. I had heard about it on the Guardian book podcast a while back and thought the idea of having a book shop on a narrow boat that travelled around the country actually sounded like a rather lovely jaunt. I also love books and the idea of bartering for books intrigued me, so armed with a bag of M&S lunchtime treats I headed to the Quay to find out more.

Well, I was smitten. A moored boat that only wobbled slightly as I clambered, yes clambered – I don’t have naval ready legs, on and was decked out with lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (is that enough lots to tempt you?) of books was like a quiet and calm haven.

Then as I got to chat to Sarah (which you can hear on this week’s episode of The Readers podcast)who I became equally smitten with, as she is just lovely, I discovered it wasn’t quite the delight you might think. I doubly noticed this when I realised there was no toilet on board let alone a bathroom… or even a kitchen. Just lots and lots and lots (here come those ‘lots’ again) of books.

This is where the bartering comes in, as Sarah travels the country (at a ridiculously speedy 4 miles-per-hour) if she is in need of a shower, a meal, something fixed, or even a haircut, she will swap these for a book, or maybe two if it’s something specific or slightly more costly. This idea would fill me with dread; you could end up in a loonies house after all, but Sarah said she could spot them (I hope I imagined a small knowing squint aimed at me) a mile off and that most bookish people tend to be rather lovely.

Well one trip wasn’t enough and I ended popping abck a few times, including to one of Paul Magrs signings and also bringing Carol Birch and Jane Harris on board before Bookmarked, which Sarah then came to. In fact as the time went on I was even more thrilled with the Book Barge as not only did I leave with a wonderful old copy of ‘Trilby’ by George Du Maurier and ‘Fun Home’ by Alison Bechdel (which Rebecca Makkai had recommended we all read) but I have found a lovely new friend in the lovely Sarah and might just be spending a weekend on the Barge on its final voyage home after it visits Leeds and Nottingham. Do, if you can, pop and see Sarah (she is ace), preferably armed with an M&S picnic and grab a few books. She will be heading to Europe next year too.

Oh and before it combats the channel’s choppy waters, the Book Barge has quite a test coming… Polly of Novel Insights and I will be taking it over in the spring for a bit! How exciting is that? I am not sure Polly and Sarah are quite aware of what I have signed them both (and myself actually) up for!!

You can find out all about the Book Barge on it’s website here.

P.S I didn’t take either of these photo’s I will be replacing them later as mine are still on my phone. Oops.

21 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Bookshops I Love, Random Savidgeness

Chorlton Bookshop & Charity Shops Galore

A few weeks ago I went on a trip to post flyers for Bookmarked in all the places that I could think of in South Manchester. There were two particular destinations I had in mind, the Oxfam Bookshop in Didsbury (which I have been in before and almost spent silly money) and the Chorlton Bookshop which is meant to be one of the finest independent bookshops in the country. I went and got a bus day-saver, the buses up here are something else cost wise honestly, and set about my journey and eventually found my destination…

Doesn’t it look like the shop in ‘Black Books’ from the outside? As you can see there was the dreaded/thrilling words ‘book sale’ on a sandwich board outside, and just peering in the window I knew temptation would be a possible issue. I haven’t seen these publisher specific display shelves in years (the books don’t actually correspond to the publishers but I like the look)…

So in I went and was instantly smitten by the fact they had comfy chairs and a fireplace, I covertly took pictures, in what is the children’s and non-fiction section, doesn’t it have a homely feel?

It also has a really impressive selection, especially for a smaller shop, of the latest fiction which I had a gander through and saw some books I wanted, but I am being very strict and only buying books if I am desperate for them – I did want to give them some business but hopefully some of you will dash there and spend oodles on my behalf. 

So what about the charity shops, oh dear I did cave in on a few ‘must buys’. I didn’t even have anyone with me egging me on. You see rather than get the bus to Didsbury and then straight to Chorlton after Oxfam wouldn’t put my poster up (because it wasn’t part of the charity, fair enough) was then wander all down Didsbury High Street (which has lots of charity shops), then get off at Withington to visit some more, and then found lots more in Chorlton-cum-Hardy itself. Mind you out of a whopping twelve charity shops I visited I only came away with four treats…

‘The Beekeeper’s Apprentice’ by Laurie R. King because all of you who know I love Sherlock Holmes have said I should try this spin of series (and I loved the cover), ‘Curriculum Vitae’ which is Muriel Sparks autobiography of sorts so how could I not, ‘The Child That Books Built’ by Francis Spufford a book about books I have been meaning to get for ages, and finally Stella Duffy’s ‘Fresh Flesh’ which is the fourth of her five (so far) Saz Martin crime novels and one I have been hunting down for ages. Hoorah.

So what was your last charity find? Have you discovered any local independent bookstore gems?

The Chorlton Bookshop sadly doesn’t have a website but you can find it at 506, Wilbraham Road, Manchester, M21 9AW its open Monday to Saturday from 9.30 – 5.30 do pop in if you can the staff are lovely.

13 Comments

Filed under Book Spree, Book Thoughts, Bookshops I Love

Bookshops I Love; Simply Books

I haven’t really had a chance to get out and about quite as much as I would have liked of late what. However in between docs appointments, hospitals visits and generally feeling rubbish I did manage to find a bookish haven not a million miles away from where I am in the small village of Bramhall and as I know how much you like little virtual wanders around bookish places of delight I thought I would share this wonderful place with you all.

‘Simply Books’ is a shop I had heard raved about by several different sources, so naturally when I happened to be in the vicinity of Bramhall when getting from A to B the other week I had to pop round and have a snoop. Initially I couldn’t find it and instead spent a lovely hour wandering the high street and pooping into lots of charity shops, and then suddenly I turned a corner and look what greeted me…

I felt a little like I had found the Holy Grail on a random suburban road as round these parts and indeed in Manchester itself book shops, apart from Waterstones, are few and far between and I do love an independent book shop especially one that greets you like this…

And not only has a rather large fiction section for an independent but also has one of my favourite features in any book shop ‘the staff recommendation shelves’…

Not only that, and in many ways this is why this shop instantly became my dream ‘if I won the lottery I would have one of these’ sort of shop, but on the ground floor there is a small but perfectly formed café (though you can drink outside as you can see from the first picture) which I can personally testify does both great coffee and cakes…

I wasn’t expecting something so immaculate and yet instantly homely and cosy which the shop is, especially shown when you head up stairs and turn into the travel section and find this…

Who wouldn’t want a nice comfy chair to sit at when you have such a huge selection of non fiction and travel to choose from…

What’s more, and believe me there is more, there is another lovely relaxed sitting area and behind that a table and chairs which I thought would be perfect for any book group…

‘Simply Books’ is, quite simply, a little Aladdin’s cave/place of paradise for any book lover. If only you had one of these in every village and every suburb… or at least at the end of my street! Can you tell I am a little smitten? I think it’s because in many ways its my dream place, I might have to beg them for a job or something!

Do you have any marvellous local independent stores like this? Do let me know and if they have a website like ‘Simply Books’ do then pop a link as I do think we should all be supporting our local independents as much as we can, don’t you?

6 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Bookshops I Love