Books are my addiction.
If I see a bookshop I have to go inside, and walking inside means I inevitably leave with at least one book, generally two or three. From fiction to cookery, classics to sci fi, crime to chick lit, I love them all.
But it's not just about the subject, a book is a true sensory experience. Reading the story, savouring the words, hearing the pages turn, the scent of the paper and ink and feeling its weight in my hands. Each one is unique, with its creases and imperfections, markings in the margin or name inside the cover - recording the journey the book has taken with each individual reader, a memory that no e-reader can mimic.
And the bookshop it comes from is just as important a part of the reading process. Row upon row of books lining the shelves, with central tables drawing our attention to key themes or authors as we browse, looking for inspiration, or perhaps move with purpose on the quest for something specific.
Then there are the booksellers. Readers themselves, they can be a great source to tap when looking for your next big read - or struggling to find a gift for your Dad/friend/boss. These people help bring the personal touch that very few websites are able to claim.
But all is not well, the bookshop is in decline.
I'm not about to go into facts and figures about how many have closed and when, as I'd probably find it too depressing and that's not what this blog is about. Instead I'm going to - mostly - ignore the e-reader and internet shopping and focus on the positives.
Just a brief search of the internet reveals a wealth of bookshops to be enjoyed by the discerning reader, all with their own character and charm, all crying out to me to visit. And so we come to the purpose of my writing.
This blog is to be a celebration of the bookshop.
Every entry will be about a bookshop of some kind or another. Generally I plan to visit the bookshops (independent or part of a chain, so long as they're real I'll visit) to tell you what's special about them, or why I want to visit them, but given that time, money and geography will limit me somewhat I'm sure the odd (real) fictional bookshop will sneak in to ensure regular writing.
I hope you enjoy exploring the bookshops with me and maybe feel inspired to visit a few more yourself. Also, if anyone has a bookshop they want to recommend (preferably in the UK unless you want to pay for my travel) I'd love to hear about it with a view to hopefully visiting sometime.
Thanks for reading,