Having owned a bookshop for five years, I’ve had to read a lot of books. They haven’t always been books I’ve wanted to read but I’ve needed to plough through nonetheless because I needed to be able to talk intelligently about them to my customers. I haven’t spent enough time reading books that have called out to me – many of them are waiting patiently on our bookshelves – nor have I spent enough time re-reading titles I’ve loved and which I want to go back to. I haven’t spent enough time browsing other bookshops and making unexpected and wonderful discoveries of books I never knew I needed in my life.
So one of the things I’m planning to do here is to keep a record of some of the books I read and enjoy. Some will be books I already own, some will be proofs sent by authors and publishers but most will be books that I’ve bought myself, those hidden treasures that I mentioned earlier. I’m finding it immensely pleasurable to browse bookshops as a reader rather than a bookseller.
I’ve also got used to being able to summarise a book in the space allowed by a ‘staff recommends’ card that gets tucked inside the volumes on the bookshop shelves so I’m going to try and stick to that 250 word max limit. If you’re a bookseller who wants to use any of them in your shop do feel free although do leave a comment to say you’re doing that – it’s always lovely to connect with other booksellers. My aim is not to write literary criticism as it’s often laboured and self-important whether on blogs or in the TLS. Rather I want to talk about a book as a bookseller would and hopefully I’ll be able to steer a few people towards great books that they might have missed otherwise.