My Trip to the Bookshop
On Saturday I paid a visit to a large book retailer. I do love a book shop. A book shop is like a real life visit to Twitter. You pop in for five minutes and before you know it a whole hour has passed. The shopping experience is quite unlike visiting any other type of store.
I went in to buy a copy of On Writing by Stephen King as recommended by Julia Crouch in her workshop at the Festival of Writing earlier this month.
I asked a friendly member of staff where I might find it. She took me to its location (in the horror section – I was so glad I asked, I’d never have looked there) and gave me her personal recommendation of the title. I browsed for a while. And eavesdropped.
In the women’s section next door, two ladies, strangers as far as I could tell, were suggesting titles to each other based on the novels they’d got in their hands. A foreign student, in broken english,was asking a member of staff for advice on choosing a book that would challenge him. The salesperson pointed him towards the new James Bond novel.
Small twins were noisily discussing the merits of one picture book over another and a solemn faced little girl was sitting on a bean bag, totally engrossed on a Cathy Cassidy.
In the centre of the store Daniel Kemp was doing a signing of his book The Desolate Garden and although I didn’t stop to talk to him, I sent him a telepathic message of good luck.
It was, quite simply, a lovely place to be; a convivial atmosphere, shared interests and a palpable passion for books.
Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that our bookshops continue to hang on in there; the high street would be such a poorer place without them.