This Saturday, August 10th, is Love Your Bookshop Day!
If you’re anything like me, you have a favourite bookshop. A place where you can browse for that perfect new book or the hard-to-find classic, and where you can have a nice chat with the bookseller (usually leaving with at least five more books than you originally meant to buy). Bookshops are simply magical places and Love Your Bookshop Day is a chance to celebrate what makes them truly special.
So make sure you drop in to your favourite bookshop for Love Your Bookshop Day, and if you need some reading inspo I’ve put together a list of some of the very best books about bookshops – read on…
by Shaun Bythell
This witty memoir about a Scottish bookseller is described as Love, Nina meets Black Books, and it’s the perfect book for anyone who’s ever wondered what life is like on the other side of the bookshop counter.
Synopsis: Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost. In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade…
by Elias Greig
Ask any bookseller how many times a customer has said to them “I can’t remember the title of this book but the cover is blue and you had it on display in the window two months ago!” (or some variation) and you’d get a number well into the double digits.
Synopsis: As any retail or service worker will tell you, customers can be irrational, demanding, abusive, and brain-scramblingly, mind-bendingly strange. They can also be kind, thoughtful, funny, and full of pathos. In I Can’t Remember the Title But the Cover is Blue, veteran bookseller Elias Greig collects the best, worst and most interesting customer encounters from his years as a Sydney bookseller.
by Penelope Fitzgerald
This book is a colourful and quirky ode to the power of a great bookshop, written in the wonderfully stylish prose of Penelope Fitzgerald. A modern classic.
Synopsis: In a small East Anglian town, Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. Hardborough becomes a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. Her fate will strike a chord with anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.
by Italo Calvino
I’ll admit that I half-read this book for my undergraduate English degree and nearly tossed it out the window in a rage spiral, but I’m determined to give it another go one day – it’s not just a book, but a postmodern masterpiece and a true adventure for the reader.
Synopsis: You go into a bookshop and buy If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino. You like it. But alas there is a printer’s error in your copy. You take it back to the shop and get a replacement. But the replacement seems to be a totally different story. You try to track down the original book you were reading but end up with a different narrative again. This remarkable novel leads you through many different books including a detective adventure, a romance, a satire, an erotic story, a diary and a quest. But the real hero is you, the reader.
by Stephanie Butland
If I had to describe this book, I’d say it’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine meets The Bookshop – I read this book for my book club early last year, absolutely loved it, and have heartily recommended it to several people since.
Synopsis: Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she’ll never show you. Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works, but everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can’t hide any longer…
by Nina George
Translated from the original German by Simon Pare, this book is an international bestseller for a reason. It’s sweet and sincere – the perfect love letter to books and those that sell them.
Synopsis: On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.
by Katarina Bivald
Charming and offbeat, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is the kind of compulsively readable book that easily steals an afternoon away from you.
Synopsis: Sara has never left Sweden but at the age of 28 she decides it’s time. She cashes in her savings, packs a suitcase full of books and sets off for Broken Wheel, Iowa, a town where she knows nobody. Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop…
by Cath Crowley
This book by Aussie YA author Cath Crowley won all kinds of awards (namely the Indie Book Awards Young Adult Fiction of the Year award and the Gold Inky Award in 2017) and it deserves them all – it’s a really lovely story about how words and books can bring people together.
Synopsis: This is a love story. It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets, to words. It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea. Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal. She’s looking for the future in the books people love, and the words that they leave behind.
by Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus
This gorgeous and funny novel brings the magic of a bookshop to the big wide world (and was co-written by the masterminds behind the awesome Books on the Rail movement).
Synopsis: Frankie Rose is desperate for love. Or a relationship. Or just a date with a semi-normal person will do. It’s not that she hasn’t tried. She’s the queen of online dating. But enough is enough. Inspired by her job at The Little Brunswick Street Bookshop, Frankie decides to take fate into her own hands and embarks on the ultimate love experiment. Her plan? Plant her favourite books on trains inscribed with her contact details in a bid to lure the sophisticated, charming and well-read man of her dreams…
by Caroline Kepnes
Just when you thought bookshops were a haven of safety and tranquillity, Caroline Kepnes swoops in with her story of a bookseller named Joe and the girl he becomes dangerously obsessed with. Ladies beware the tousle-haired boy reading Salinger behind the bookshop counter…
Synopsis: When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works he is instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: tough, razor-smart and sexier than his wildest dreams. He’d kill to have her. Soon Beck can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. When a string of macabre incidents tears her world apart there is only one person she can turn to. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realises and much more to Beck than her perfect facade…
Join in the fun online this Love Your Bookshop Day with the hashtags #loveyourbookshopday and #LYBD19, and share why your bookshop is special using the hashtag #whyIlovemybookshop.
About the Contributor
Olivia Fricot is the Editor of the Booktopian Blog. After finishing a soul-crushing law degree, she decided that life was much better with one's nose in a book and quickly defected to the world of Austen and Woolf. You can usually find her reading (obviously), baking, writing questionable tweets, and completing a Master's degree in English literature. Just don't ask about her thesis. Olivia is on Twitter and Instagram @livfricot - follow at your own risk.
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