Wednesday 5 November 2014

Not remotely scary

Please don't mock me too much for this, but before I visited it I was actually a little scared of the idea of this week's bookshop.

I obviously now know my fears were unfounded, but on the day of my bookshop crawl the thought of visiting The Bookseller Crow on the Hill in Crystal Palace made me nervous. And it wasn't until I was stood across the road from the bookshop that it dawned on me how stupid my fears had been.

Because The Bookseller Crow isn't the leader of a large, black feathered murder, but the owner of a colourful full-length window with a welcoming light blue shop sign. Throw in the view from the doorway – which includes rows of white paper doves flying across the ceiling – and my fear seems even more ridiculous.

I assure you I'm also (I hope) intelligent enough to know dressing a local (non-specialist) bookshop in black feathers and fear wouldn't be a good business move. Can I defend myself with the excuse I've recently finished reading a Stephen King novel? I didn't think so.

Of course, if I'd done my research first and visited the bookshop's website, rather than limiting myself to clicking on the occasional blog link on Twitter, I'd've realised how ridiculous I was being much sooner. But that would've been far too sensible – and much less embarrassing on my part.

Anyway, about The Bookseller Crow on the Hill. Naturally there is a reason for the unusual name, and it's got nothing to do with scaring those of us with over-active imaginations. I'd share it with you here, but it's much more fun if I leave it for you to visit the bookshop and ask one of the bookselling crows yourself.

Meantime I'll reassure you it's a large, friendly bookshop with smart grey shelves, a knowledgeable bookseller and books. Lots and lots of lovely books, including a sci fi bookshelf, which is often a luxury in an indie; a children's area complete with toys I wanted to play with; random fun stuff such as Moomin postcards I forgot to buy in my excitement at all the books; and a broad new titles and recommendations section that furnished me with my purchase.

I'd not heard of The extra ordinary life of Frank Derrick, age 81 by J B Morrison before this visit, but that's part of the fun of wandering around a physical bookshop. Not only do you get to conquer your fears and have your preconceptions smashed, you also get to stumble across unusual new reads that would've perhaps flown away from you online.

And that's something I'm always happy to crow about.

The Bookseller Crow on the Hill
50 Westow Street, Crystal Palace, London, SE19 3AF.
Tel: 020 8771 8831

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