Saturday 5 May 2007

Bookshops Of The World Unite

I do hate to harp on... but if you have an RMH come to mind yet, do mention it. One of the problems with comment boxes/stats counters is that I feel a little like a performer at times, counting the number of empty seats in the theatre...

But I'm calling on you all for help again, I'm afraid! This will be another little series, in the same line of my '50 Books...' But instead of my despotism coming through, a little blogging demoncracy will be introduced...

Wait one moment while I attempt to so
und like a Heart-Warming Family Viewing Programme. *Clears Throat* "Bookshops give so much to us, isn't it time we gave something back?" But it is true. Where would we be without secondhand bookshops? I'd still be reading Goosebumps, probably. Well, probably not - but I wouldn't have come across half of my favourite books, and I'm sure the same is true of my visitors - so let's celebrate some of the bookshops (secondhand or otherwise; even some on the internet, why not) which have given us such literary privileges.

Every family holiday is spent in searc
h of secondhand bookshops, consciously or otherwise. Our Vicar will always be on the look-out for a Tourist Information, regardless of whether or not he's been to the place eighteen times in the past month. The Carbon Copy will wander around Woolworths wherever he is in the country, rarely buy a single item, and clearly relish in the identical home-from-home that every Woolworths is. Our Vicar's Wife doesn't consider a walk down the drive complete without having stopped somewhere for "a nice cup of tea" (on this we are in accordance). But all the family will willingly spend time in a secondhand bookshop, however much our tastes and spending differ. True, my squeak of excitement is perhaps solitary, but the rest of The Clan are probably squeaking inside.

So, I'm going to start the ball rolling with Bookcase of Carlisle.

When did you find out about them?
We have friends who live in Cumbria, and I think we came across this shop when visiting in 2001. I think I've been back just twice, but next time I'm in Cumbria...

Why are they so great?
Scattered over three floors, every square inch of this huge, old house is covered with books. Lots of modern paperbacks, but also many old hardbacks - and lots of non-fiction, probably, but I rarely venture into those realms. Pricing is sometimes reasonable and sometimes not quite so, but a lot of books you're unlikely to find easily elsewhere.

What did you buy?
Gosh, I can remember what I bought in 2001. If I May, Once a Week and First Plays by AA Milne. They were some of the first AAM books I bought, actually, and I was very excited. The next time I went, I'd set myself a budget for books bought (fool!) and so had to leave behind the Journals of Sylvia Plath. Did buy a Penguin guide to Twentieth Century Literature. (Does anyone else remember where their books came from, like this?)

Contact information?
Can't find a website, but there is some information here. Also - but the best thing I can suggest is to visit if you're ever in that part of the world!

Anything else of interest?
Like all the best secondhand bookshops, it's down a backstreet and away from the town centre - and, if memory serves, opposite a church which has been converted into a printers. I happened upon the shop entirely by accident - thought it looked like the kind of street which might have a secondhand bookshop, though The Clan tried to dissuade me. Triumph, methinks!

Ok, that's my first one. DO PLEASE HELP ME OUT! Would love to hear about your favourite bookshops, whether in England or elsewhere. If you'd be happy to help out, with answers to these questions, and perhaps a pic or two, then just email or say so in the comments. I'll hopefully be able to make this a semi-regular feature. Let's give bookshops the thanks they deserve!


  1. I wish I could remember the name, but it's the most wonderful place to spend an entire day. I stumbled upon this great bookstore quite by accident. When I peeked through the window, the warm wood floors pulled me in. I could easily find it again, and intend to visit soon

    The childrens' department is the best I've ever seen. Have a look here

  2. A wonderful bookshop in the north west is Broadhursts of Southport. You start on the ground floor with an excellent selection of new books, and then work your way up floor after floor of antiquarian and second-hand ones, all arranged by subject. There is also a terrific large room devoted to children's books which always has a really helpful person in there who talks to the kids and suggests books they might like. When you've chosen your book (or probably books) you take it to the desk downstairs where it is wrapped in brown paper and tied neatly with string. And in the winter you are standing beside a real functioning fireplace while this is going on. It supposedly has a website but the URL does not seem to be working at the moment, unfortunately.


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