For this week's bookshop I so spectacularly missed my turn I ended up in the next village of Matlock Bath. Home to an odd combination of tacky amusement arcades and atmospheric countryside, there was something about the incongruity of those bright lights in Derbyshire that made me determined to return for a longer visit when I finally get my Elizabeth Bennet-style holiday.
guest post section of this blog, so I had some idea of what I was looking for, but it's only by personally visiting that you can appreciate the true appeal of this bookshop.
Firstly, it's massive and there are books everywhere. Okay, so the latter comment is a bit obvious for the contents of a bookshop, but it really is crammed. So much so that a few years ago the building needed to be reinforced to prevent it from collapsing under the weight of all the books.
These books are new and secondhand, covering all the usual suspects and then some, including military uniforms as one of the more random subjects I've found in a bookshop. I ended up in my usual favourite spot of the new fiction area, spending some time appreciating the variety (including science fiction) before selecting a title from their new releases shelves: The reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent. Having since read the book I can't recommend it enough.
The second thing of note is that the bookshop has taken over a house. Not an overly unusual occurrence, but the still intact bathroom is a reminder of its former life – and made me wonder how Scarthin Books compares to Shakespeare and Company in the glory days of George Whitman, all it needs is a few beds, a little grime and some tumbleweeds.
This oddness is what makes Scarthin Books so special. There are so many rooms and nooks and crannies I wouldn't have been surprised to have turned a corner and stumbled across someone asleep on a bed. Instead I found an array of brilliantly decorated rooms, their art vying for attention among the books and never more so than in the art room with its carefully selected furniture and stunningly decorated ceiling. Further details include the ceiling of the children's room, staircases crammed with books and a hinged bookcase that opens a door to the vegetarian cafe.
The Promenade, Scarthin, Cromford,
Derbyshire, DE4 3QF
Tel: (01629) 823272