Thursday 24 April 2014

Returning to my local in the city

As a former resident of Rochester in Kent I love nothing better than returning to the city for a day out (even when it's raining).

It's home to a castle was a fascinating story, a cathedral, a river, and an historic high street that's crammed with interesting boutiques, bookshops and literary history. But I'm not going to get all obvious by writing about Charles Dickens. Instead I'm going to tell you about what I used to consider my local - City Books.

A fairly average-sized bookshop on the high street, this was my go-to place for books when I lived around the corner. And if, for some bizarre reason, books aren't your thing there's also a large collection of medals and glass bottles on sale too. Not forgetting the fish tank, should you want someone other than the bookseller to talk to...

But the thing I love(d) about my regular visits to City Books was exploring the cosy shelves on the hunt for my next sci fi read (I must've mentioned before how great secondhand bookshops can be for science fiction?) And returning to the bookshop recently I was pleased to see - despite a bit of a reshuffle - their selection was as good as I remembered.

Venturing downstairs, the bookshop is a compact warren of shelves to get lost in, with sci fi waiting at the end of the corridor. A little darker than you'd expect this area to be, the bookseller apologised because some of his lightbulbs had been stolen (seriously), but really this just added to the charm of the place.

Shopping with a friend, I inevitably lost him during my wanderings, eventually meeting up again with our hands full at the till. I'd found a copy of The Hammer of God by one of my favourite writers, Arthur C Clarke, the rest of the purchases pictured were my friend's. Honest (no matter how open-minded I like to be Katy Perry would be a CD too far for me).

But that's part of the joy of secondhand bookshops: the randomness of what you can find when you leave literature on the historic high street and treat yourself to some wonderful guilty pleasures.

City Books
41 High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1LN
Tel: 01634 815565


  1. Spooky - I'm still browsing your blog..... )see earlier comment on the Old Hall, Brackley) and the co-incidences keep coming: you were a student in Aberystwyth (snap), and now former resident of Rochester - well, I still live there - and passed City books this morning! (visited both that and Baggins - although for the first time in ages, DIDN'T actually buy anything.... house is so full, need to be very selective these days :-/

    1. I'm glad you've been enjoying my blog! I spend a lot of time re-visiting Rochester for work and miss being able to pop along to the bookshops and wander along the riverside so I'm quite jealous of you still being a resident. Although I will say a house can never be too full of books...


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