There are book reviews coming I promise, in fact there is a backlog of about ten which I really want to get on the blog, however you probably know me well enough by now that if there is a project in my head my full focus goes on that until I have cracked it. Yes, that’s right, I have another project that I want to start and this one involves a guide to bookshops.
You may have noticed in the last few weeks that I have been checking out bookshops in Liverpool and the area surrounding in Merseyside and the Wirral. When I find a new area I like to look at where I can get my hands on books, we all do don’t we? Since I visited one that had sadly closed down on Sunday and then saw three yesterday, including one where the Savidge family love of books might have started, I have been thinking wouldn’t it be a good idea if there was a really good guide to book shops. Not just the new ones but also the old ones too.
You see like most book lovers I do like to spend my time perusing lovely new bookshops as well as spending hours trying to find gems in all sorts of second hand shops (as the pictures above show, and thanks to The Beard for showing the excitement a random second hand bookshop finding can bring) as well as charity and clearance bookshops of course. So why is there not a guide for bookshops available in book form?
The answer is that there might be… somewhere. Though I would have thought in the years that I have been blogging that if such a book existed then someone might have just put me in the direction of it, or said book/guide could have crossed my path. Nothing has as yet, though now some of you might send me the link to one. I have found websites here and there, but all seem to simply give the details, and maybe a picture, but no sense of what the shop itself might be about, its atmosphere etc. So I thought, as I do the ‘Bookshops I Love’ posts maybe I should do one, or try to, and went off to a nearby bookshop in search of some material that could inspire me. I came back with these…
One book I have been familiar with for a few years, possibly since childhood though not for all the wrong reasons, is ‘The Good Pub Guide’. This is like a bible for pub lovers, like my family are (every time we were in a new area or town this book would come out at some point be it a day trip or a ten mile walk in the countryside), as it lists all the pubs in all the counties in the UK. It gives you some details about the country and then all the pubs; where they are, the food they do, the atmosphere, the prices etc. What could be a better format for a bookshop guide?
The reason that I also pulled Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ off the shelves in the shop was that this is the book in which he wittily captures British life (I haven’t read it but this is what I have heard) and what my idea was, if I could pull it off, would be to describe the area the book shop is in and the other people who peruse it. This could be done by sitting in cafes for a while, or merely ear wigging my way around the shelves. What could be a better way for me to spend my time?
I would of course also mention the staff, for example the horrid woman in one of the Southport bookshop’s who yesterday only stopped scoffing her second cream cake in a row, in the slightly hidden office where she was lurking, to shout ‘IF YOU WANT TO TAKE PICTURES THEN ASK’ across the store. She then sneered a ‘hello’ at every customer who came in after so at least I knew it wasn’t me, but it did stop me from picking up any books for purchasing sadly, there were some gems but I didn’t buy to spite her – just being honest.
I am hoping that something which is a mix of the two might not only make a good proper guide, but also be something that’s quite fun and also embraces the love of bookshops of all kinds… So that is what I am planning to do, the research is obviously going to be very difficult for me, ha. So what do you think?
I will write more once the website is up and I have had a crack at writing a few!