I do love reading books set in bookshops. Recently I very much enjoyed The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. It recounts the joys and pains of running a second-hand bookstore and is full of amusing anecdotes. I do not much share Shaun’s reading tastes, and almost every book he himself read or recommended, or even sold, seemed to have been written by a man and I was tempted to send him a good list of books by women. But his book was funny and sad at the same time, and it did make you ponder the troubled future of bookshops. He describes how one day he shoots a kindle, then sticks the damaged kindle on the bookshop wall, as a warning to his customers of what e-books are doing to shops like his.
Shaun’s shop is in Wigtown, the Scottish official ‘book shop’ town. Did you know that you can go and stay in some rooms above a bookstore there and work behind the counter during the day? The concept of this ‘shelf-catering’ holiday has proved so popular that the place is fully booked for the next two years. You can find details on https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/7908227
What other books can you think of that are set in book shops? There’s The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (recently made into a film), 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (light, but pleasant), Riceyman Steps by Arnold Bennett, The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad (I don’t think I’ve ever pitied anyone as I pitied the poor women in that Kabul family!), and The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee.
Would you like to run a bookshop? I know I would! Please leave a comment to tell me.
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Riceyman Steps by Arnold Bennett
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
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