The Weekly Brief

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a good week. I am finally getting back into routine after catching Covid and it was really nice to be back playing the organ for church this morning.

Not much blogging this week but I have definitely got my blogging mojo back.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

So far I have not been able to put this down. George Eliot is fast becoming a favourite author for me.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (Review)

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Blurb

Meet Shaun Bythell, bookshop owner, bibliophile, and misanthrope extraordinaire. He lives and works in The Bookshop, Wigtown, whose crooked shelves contain anything from a sixteenth-century Bible to a first-edition Agatha Christie. A booklover’s paradise? Well, almost…

In Shaun’s honest and wryly hilarious diaries, he reveals the highs and lows of life in the book trade, as he contends with eccentric customers, bin-foraging employees, and a perennially empty till. Along the way, he’ll take you on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommend lost classics – and introduce you to the thrill of the unexpected find.

Review

I will be honest I have always rather fancied owning and running a bookshop, even though I know it would be hard work and I would probably be constantly worried about finances. However, I would be very happy to be surrounded by books all day. 

I must admit I was rather surprised by this book. I picked it up at my church which has many second hand books for sale and thought it looked good fun. What I wasn’t expecting was the wit, humour and sometimes sadness within this book. 

Bythell’s diary of his book shop adventures for one year was a real eye opener and very funny. Bythell’s shop seems to attract some very weird employees with the most eccentric being Nicky. I’m not entirely sure why Bythell put up with Nicky as she seemed more of hindrance to business rather than a help. I would not have had the patience Bythell has with Nicky or in fact half of his staff. Bythell at times seems to be the only sane one at the shop and that is saying something. 

One of the things I really liked with the diary entries was the daily updates of takings and customers. It was really interesting to see how the time of year affected the amount of customers and takings. I also really enjoyed seeing how there are certain returning customers who are clearly returning regularly and ordering random books because they are loyal to the shop and don’t want to see it go under. 

As the diary entries go on we see what a witty and humorous character Bythell is and how he clearly uses humour as his coping mechanism because without it he would clearly either cry or completely lose it with certain members of public. The element I found sad was seeing how the book trade had changed so much over the years and the damage Amazon was having on the second hand book shops. It was sad to see how the life of the second hand book shop was having to adapt to survive and even that adapting might not save it. 

Wigtown has been on my list of places to go since I was a teenager and I very nearly went with my parents but ill health had to shorten our trip sadly so Wigtown was saved for another day. After reading this book I want to go even more and will be pestering my husband for a holiday there very soon. I will definitely be reading more of Bythell’s book and I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 

🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Purchase Links

Book Depository | Bookshop.orgFoyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author 

Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town, and also one of the organisers of the Wigtown Festival.

When not working amongst The Bookshop’s mile of shelving, Shaun’s hobbies include eavesdropping on customers, uploading book-themed re-workings of Sugarhill Gang songs to YouTube and shooting Amazon Kindles in the wild.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Friday Poetry: Walter de la Mare

Happy Friday!

The poem I have chosen today is by a new poet for me. Walter de la Mare (1873-1956) was an English poet, short story writer and novelist. He is best known for his works for children.

Silver

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in silver feathered sleep
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

Walter de la Mare

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

First Lines Friday: 29/07/2022

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Hello!

Apologies for the break from blogging. I just decided I needed a little break but hopefully I am back to normal blogging routine now. I started a new book today so I thought I would use it for my First Lines Friday post. Answer will be below the cat pictures.

Shipperton Church was a very different-looking building five-and-twenty years ago. To be sure, its substantial stone tower looks at you through its intelligent eye, the clock, with the friendly expression of former days; but in everything else what changes!

and the answer is…

When Scenes of Clerical Life, Eliot’s first work of fiction, first appeared in print anonymously in 1857, critics immediately hailed it for its humorous irony, the truthfulness of its presentation of the lives of ordinary men and women, and its compassionate acceptance of human weakness. The three stories that comprise the volume foreshadow Eliot’s greatest work, and an acquaintance with them is essential to a full understanding of one of the greatest English novelists.

Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

Please drop me a comment with your First Lines Friday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Friday Poetry: D. H. Lawrence

Happy Friday!

I still have covid but I am very slowly starting to get a bit of energy back. The reason I have chosen this poem for this week is because I am missing the sea. Whilst on holiday it was so nice to be right next to the sea everyday.

Seaweed

Seaweed sways and sways and swirls
as if swaying were its form of stillness;
and it flushes against fierce rock
it slips over it as shadows do, without hurting itself. 

D. H. Lawrence

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Mid Week Quote: Jane Austen

Hello!

During the recent heat wave that we have been going through I have been constantly thinking of this quote by Jane Austen so I thought I would share it this week.

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”

Jane Austen

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

WWW Wednesday: 20/07/2022

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

Hello!

I haven’t taken part in WWW Wednesday for a while because I was stuck trying to finish Dombey and Son. However, whilst away on holiday last week I managed to finish 3 books and this week I have been stuck at home with Covid so I have been doing a lot of reading.

What I am Currently Reading

This is my first Agatha Christie of the year but I thought it was time to get back into my Agatha Christie challenge.

What I have Recently Finished Reading

I don’t think I have ever read so many books within a week but they are all rather small books so didn’t take long to read. Just got to write up all the reviews now.

What I Think I will Read Next

I’m really not sure what I will read next. I seem to be in the mood for smaller books at the moment so maybe nothing too big.

Please drop me a comment with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Goodreads Monday: 18/07/2022

Goodreads Monday is now hosted by Budget Tales Book Club.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Hello!

Happy Monday! It is heatwave here so I will be spending the day trying to keep cool and reading a good book.

My chosen book today is another new author for me and one on my Classics Club list.

This 1872 novel by a mid-Victorian poet and novelist is about a girl named Clarice, living with her widowed father and her governess ‘in a charming home at a convenient (railway) distance from the city.’ One day she finds a girl of her own age hiding in the shrubbery. She is Olga and ‘there is no question that she is the liveliest child character in English fiction’ said the Observer in 1936.

Purchase Links

Book Depository | Waterstones

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Weekly Brief

Hello!

This week has been another quiet week on the blog but I have been away on holiday so I have spent a lot of time relaxing. This has meant that I have read quite a few books so I do have a lot of reviews to write over the next few weeks.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

I started this series whilst in France and now I am addicted. I have almost finished this book and will be downloading the next one on to the Kindle as soon as I have finished.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Friday Poetry: Lord Byron

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has had a good week so far.

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, 
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent, 
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you