Friday 19 August 2016

Annual review #3: How bookshops have changed me

If three times is long enough to make a tradition, it's become mine to mark this blog's birthday with an annual review.

In the first, I wrote about how amazed I was that all you readers had decided to join me on my bookshopping adventure, spurring me on to try harder and make this blog more of a success than I could ever have imagined. While in the second I set about explaining how natural a part of my life this bookshopping hobby is. This time I'm going to write about me. (Be patient, it's not going to be arrogant. I hope.)

The whole aim of this blog is to encourage readers to visit their local bookshop and, in my own small way, to try to make a difference to the fortunes and futures of bookshops everywhere. However what I didn't count on when I started this journey was the difference this blog would make to me. And I don't mean in terms of overcrowded bookshelves.

Three years of purchases

Before I began The bookshop around the corner, I was unsure if I could even write. My experience of putting pen to paper involved a job correcting other people's work, which is a very different role to finding the words yourself. It was a job I enjoyed, but now I look back perhaps not one I loved. While satisfying in itself, the work wasn't taking me anywhere or pushing my abilities, which pretty much sums up how my life was at that time too.

Then I started writing and – more importantly – setting off on adventures around the country to meet total strangers. They had no idea who I was or why I was so excited to be meeting them. This blog adventure took me out of my daily routine and tested not just my writing, but also my confidence, ability to talk to strangers and more: it brought me back to life. It also challenged my map-reading skills (still terrible – I gave in and bought a sat nav).

Within three months, I was telling you I had a new job. Within a year, I'd moved to a new town. Three years saw me acquire some company on my journey. What probably seems like slow progress to many of you has been a massive change to this girl who'd got used to her comfort zone.

Particular moments of bravery have included travelling hundreds of miles to stay with internet strangers* and overcoming my fear of travelling to France. But looking back, the changes have really been all about the little things. From struggling to speak to someone or realising I'm not completely ignorant, to overcoming the intimidation of cool or even beating my own prejudice, each of these encounters has added up and – I hope – made me a better person. They've also been a heck of a lot of fun, even if I'm still not worldly wise enough to know how to deliberately haggle.

This blog got me out into the world and introduced me to some amazing people and places – ones I'd never have dreamed of meeting in the small life I was previously living.

I may have been the one who made the decision to leave the sofa and start adventuring, but it's the wonderful welcome each bookshop has given me – and the different experiences their various collected shelves and people have had to offer – that have ensured this blog has had such a positive effect on my life.

So thank you to every bookshop I've met so far and to every one of you I'll meet in the future. I'm not sure how much of a difference I'm making to your lives, but mine will never be the same again.

Finally, please remember how much more fun it is to visit a bookshop** and enjoy all its collective experiences instead of clicking on a website.

Happy bookshopping,
Erica x

*Don't do this yourself. Or if you do, please make sure you have taken all the appropriate safety precautions.
**When you do pop into your local (or any other) bookshop, feel free to share the joy with a guest post.


  1. Three years of great posts and recommendations! Good for you, and long may it continue. Congratulations.

    1. Thank you very much! Given how much I love your blog, your kind words mean a lot.

  2. Congrats on three years of blogging about bookstores. Your blog is my blog pick of the month for my biblio-connecting blog:

    1. Thank you! I really appreciate your choosing my blog.

  3. Congratulations on three years - and keep up the good work: it really matters!

    1. Thank you! This comment means a lot to me.


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