Books about books, Goodreads Reviews, Humour, Non-fic

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

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The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh Shaun, your hatred for Kindles and stroppy, tight-fisted customers shines through in your highly entertaining diary! I wish I could get away with customer service ‘Bythell Style’, but I doubt I’d be employed for very long! The advantages of being your own boss I guess.

Next time I come across a book with age-related mould on it, I will undoubtedly be visualising some dude in a protective suit, complete with breathing apparatus, whipping it out of my hand to dispose of it safely.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Diary of a Bookseller, what’s not to love?!

For starters, it’s about a second hand bookshop in my most favourite place ever. SCOTLAND.

Shaun gets to rummage through thousands and thousands and thousands of books FOR A LIVING!!!

It gave me a fascinating insight into being part of the second hand book industry, and it definitely isn’t all bookish loveliness.

Did I say this delightful shop is in SCOTLAND? Oh yeah, I did.

Hey, Shaun, I’m coming up for a visit in the summer. I promise I’ll put the books I look at back where I found them. (Even if they are possibly in the wrong section already. Sigh…..*Shakes head*).

I promise I won’t come in armed with a pencil, writing in my own prices on the inside page. I am SHOOK that book lovers even do this!

And I’ll BUY some books too. And possibly a walking stick.

Thank you Shaun for sharing a year of your bookish life. I sincerely hope that your Aladdins Cave continues to prosper for many, many years. Bookshops are sadly an endangered species these days thanks to that flipping internet lark. (She says, on her online blog.)

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Books about books, Goodreads Reviews

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland (A 2017 top read)

Lost For WordsLost For Words by Stephanie Butland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? I’m lost for words!

Loveday on her passion:

‘Anyone who’s worked in a bookshop for longer than an afternoon will tell you that people buy books for all sorts of reasons. There’s the simple love of books, of course: the knowledge that here is an escape, a chance to learn, a place for your heart and mind to romp and play’.

I read that statement, and I was sold. I knew I’d love this book.

Stephanie Butlands story started out as a quirky, cute little read. So bookish and perfect for anyone who has a penchant for books about books.

Lost for Words is the name of the book shop where our main protagonist works. Loveday (yes, that’s her wonderful name, and strangely my kindle auto corrects it to the word library, which pleases me) is a sweet, quiet soul, who has wonderful relationships with books and words, but humans, well, that’s a different matter altogether.

Loveday on people:

‘I don’t really do ‘nice until you prove you’re not’– I find it saves time to work it the other way around, in the normal way of things’.

She spends her days working in the second hand book shop, reluctantly dealing with customers and colleagues, just wanting to be left to immerse herself in books. They’re her escapism, for which I completely get. She’s so passionate about poetry and stories, her body is a canvas of book~quote tattoos. Wow, I just love that!

As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that Lovedays introverted personality is the product of a childhood trauma, and she’s dealing with it. That’s until strange packages start to arrive at the shop, and Lovedays world is turned slowly upside down.

All the characters in Lost for Words are so convincingly real. Loveday has so many endearing qualities, she’s funny, dry and full of wit. But she doesn’t even realise it, she’s adorable. Archie, her book shop boss had me visualising Sir Ian McKellen playing the part. And Nathan. Lovely gorgeous, bonkers Nathan, with his DM’s laced up all wrong, he is a magical, mystical character. And rather bookishly good looking I’d imagine.

The chapters range from ‘Poetry’, ‘History’ and ‘Crime’, with various timelines that steadily combine to form the ‘bigger picture’ and pull the reader in with emotionally charged realism. I felt as though I was ‘people watching’ in this book. At times I was THAT ENGROSSED that I felt as though I was hiding at the end of the bookshop, (among the Classics) ear-wigging everything that was going on!

Everyone and everything sat very vividly in my mind, and that is a sure sign of superb writing.

Lost for Words is an enlightening, powerful and rather heartbreaking read. There’s lots of life~lessons in here as well as laugh out loud moments. Bad stuff happens to good people sometimes, and there’s nothing you can do about it apart from accept it and move forward.

For those of you who enjoyed Gail Honeymans ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’, I urge you to give this book a go. I found a few similarities throughout the story, which I loved because Honeymans book was brilliant. And so is this.

I’m going to give this a 4.5 star rating, rounded up to 5 stars as 4 isn’t enough. And it’s going on my ‘best of 2017’ Goodreads shelf.

I’d like to thank the author, Stephanie Butland, Zaffre Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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Books about books, Goodreads Reviews

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Midnight at the Bright Ideas BookstoreMidnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Being the ‘book-cover-judger’ that I am, I dived into this thinking I’d be devouring its bookishness with relish. After all, what bibliophile could resist that cover?! The premise of an Indie Bookstore that opens until midnight, and a ‘BookFrog’ who has committed suicide amongst the books.

“Lydia’s skills as a bookseller came mainly, she believed, from her ability to listen. A raging case of bibliophilia certainly helped, as did limited financial needs, but it was her capacity to be politely trapped by others that really sealed her professional fate”.

I really wanted to love this. I so did. But I just felt so detached from it a lot of the time. I knew it wasn’t going to be a barrel of laughs, but there was absolutely no escape from the morbid scenarios at any point, and it started to drag me down.

This is wavering between 3 stars and 3.5 stars. It gets an average three, based on the fact that this was one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read and I was glad when it was over. But I have to squeeze in that extra half a star because it was a cleverly written book that had an intensity to keep me interested. Not gripped or excited. Just interested.

As I headed to the quarter of the way mark, intriguing little cryptic bookish clues started to really pique my interest. But I still felt a niggling distance from it that I just couldn’t shake off.

The story was engulfed with a dark sadness, the characters felt a tad unfinished, and I thought there were some holes that needed to be filled with things other than bleak and slushy weather visuals and people’s grotty clothing descriptions.

It was hard work at times, but I trudged through, because it was no way a DNF. It wasn’t anywhere near bad enough for that.

I enjoyed the way the two narratives combined, Lydia as a thirty-something and Lydia as a ten year old. Her younger self was very well portrayed, the child perspective being very believable and well written.

To conclude, I’d shelve this book ‘on the fence’, because that’s exactly where I’m sat regarding my opinions and thoughts. I can’t say much more about it other than it’s upsetting and violent. It was not at all what I expected.

I’d like to thank the publisher, Random House UK and the author, Matthew Sullivan for the opportunity to read this, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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