Tag Archives: Local Bookshops

A Good Bookshop Guide?

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!

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Filed under Random Savidgeness, The Good Bookshop Guide

Browsing Bookshops…

I don’t know about you, but sometimes just browsing around a book store for a while (ok, maybe an hour or two) can be one of the best things to do when you are having any reading issues, or if you just want to calm yourself. I did this recently when my head was in a spin and it was just what I needed, a chance to gage where my ‘reading head’ is and let my eyes and mind wander over the spins.

As I went from A – Z, I saw authors I had been recommended only days before (Jenn Ashworth), authors that I had heard kerfuffle about and wanted to try (Leo Benedictus), authors I have started a book of recently and then not finished though I don’t know why (Jasper Fforde), authors I ‘really should have read’ but still ‘really haven’t’ but will honest (William Golding), authors I had never heard of but after the spine catching my eye, a read of the blurb and flick through I really fancy reading (Tama Janowitz), authors whose books have impacted your life (Harper Lee), authors who remind you of the excitement and reading possibilities in translation you haven’t as yet uncovered (Per Petterson), authors you seem to be hearing about all the time at the moment and have decided you simply must read them (Owen Sheers) and authors whose debut novels blew you away and you wish they would hurry up and write another one (Kathleen Winter).

As you wander the shelves, rather than be intimidated by the vast number of books you might not get to read, there is a certain joy in the books you spot be they the ones you love or the ones you might love in the future. Oh how a browse can be such bliss.

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Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

Celebrate Your Independent Bookstore

I have put my Bookish Bits to one side for a week again because something I hadn’t heard of has been brought to my attention I wasn’t aware of. This week, well the 14th to the 21st of June, is ‘Independent Booksellers Week’, no I had no idea either, so I thought what small little contribution should I/we make to this special week as we all love our local independents don’t we?

Before I go any further I do want to thank both Cornflower Books and Stuck-in-a-Book as it was posts from them that alerted me to it as I haven’t seen much mention of it around.

Anyway I thought we could celebrate this event by telling each other about our favourite local independent book shops and I don’t mean second hand book stores that you might have up your nearby roads and by ways. I have decided to give you a selection of three, two of which you have seen before and one you haven’t.

The first has to be The Village Bookshop in Wandsworth (sadly it doesn’t have a website) which I accidentally spotted on the way to the local massive supermarkets. I had to get straight of the bus as soon as I saw this gorgeous frontage.

There is also the picture perfect Kew Bookshop (again no website sadly) which has featured in The Guardians Finest Bookshops and I found on a surprise day out a while back. It’s the sort of bookshop I would love to own one day in my dream world and is so picture perfect people have actually painted it…

Now for the one I haven’t mentioned before and I really, really should have mentioned sooner, and does actually have a website, its also just a bus ride a way which is just too tempting – I might have to pop in undercover soon and get some pictures of the lovely inside, until then here it is…

The lovely Clapham Books a book store in Clapham funnily enough, which has an impressive collection of new and classic paperbacks and hardbacks as well as a wonderful children’s section, ‘London’ section – I do like those, and much more. Not only do they have a website (which you can find here) they have also started to tweet of late. You can find them on twitter here. If you are ever in the area then I strongly suggest that you pop in, it’s a very nice store indeed. There that’s me done and my locals.

What about all of you though? What is your local bookstore that you absolutely adore? Any links to their websites or images of them would be marvellous! Let’s have a little celebration of our local independent bookstores this weekend and show our support. Oh and have a look at the Independent Booksellers Awards shortlist too, what do you make of that?

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Filed under Book Thoughts, Bookshops I Love