Wednesday 12 November 2014

All is not lost

Four stops into my Books are my bag crawl and I almost got to my first bookshop party of the day.

I say almost because, being new to buses, I managed to still be sitting enjoying my journey as we drove straight past the attractive little parade of shops within which the bookshop is nestled. Ten minutes later I'd retraced my journey – just in time to miss the end of a Roald Dahl event at Dulwich Books.

Frustratingly for me I was also too early for the more grown up event being hosted that afternoon, when author Jeremy Page was due to talk about his book The Collector of Lost Things. As a 'collector' of things I don't ever want to be lost, the book and its author intrigued me, but this time it proved an encounter that wasn't meant to be. However, I prefer to act instead of mourning when it comes to loss, so instead I appreciated the opportunity to fully appreciate my location with no distractions. Well, none except the books.

There was therefore lots to keep me distracted as I weaved between browsers and shelves, enjoying the bright atmosphere and piles of recommendations on top of the middle-of-the-room bookshelves.

The perfect height to feel both apart from and included in the conversations of fellow browsers, these shelves made the bookshop feel full but not overcrowded, allowing me to get lost among the books and banter. I don't want to share the semi-private conversations of Dulwich Books' customers, but I can assure you they're an interesting and varied bunch.

Instead of interrupting their conversations and joining in (something I felt would probably have been perfectly acceptable among this friendly bunch of browsers) I turned my attentions to the booksellers. Their happy banter whirled around the bookshop and welcomed in whichever lone browsers it flew over, meaning even though I'd missed the scheduled parties I still felt I was taking part in the fun.

This proved correct when I arrived at the till and discovered goody bags were being given out with purchases as part of the day's celebrations. When asked if I'd like fiction, non-fiction or crime I, rather indecisively, asked to be surprised. Which is exactly what I was when handed a Tracey Emin tote with two crime novels inside. Three books for the price of one is always good, but to be given two books I don't already own is a rare achievement these days.

And my purchase. Surely it must be obvious?

I may have lost out on the author, but The Collector of Lost Things joined me on for the rest of my journey, collecting new bookshop experiences for the Books are my bag campaign.

Dulwich Books
6 Croxted Road, Dulwich, London, SE21 8SW
Tel: 020 8670 1920

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