This blog often sees bookshops described as destinations, highlighting their many differences and explaining why each one is uniquely appealing. Perhaps it stocks otherwise out of print titles, has a mascot, is a cool place to hang out or is a great place to hear live music.
These are all wonderful, important details and great ways to remind people why they should be spending a little more time appreciating their local bookshop.
Sometimes the reason the place is special is simply because it is a bookshop.
The Guisborough Bookshop in North Yorkshire is surprisingly large for a market town*, but its unusual details are limited. Fortunately, while I'm a fan of all those special, unusual details, I'm also a fan of simple things. Like books.
From full-priced to discount, fiction to non, and a well allocated children's area, the large space means browsers have a lot of books to choose from. Which means there were lots of browsers at the time of my arrival – mid Northern Bookshop Adventure – and lots of people means lots of atmosphere.
The bookshop was exactly the right level of busy to generate a buzz from conversation without being too jostled and while it meant I waited a long time to take photographs that didn't include people that's hardly a thing to complain about. I enjoyed the mix of shoppers (and their random conversations) across the whole bookshop, but the thing I found particularly special was seeing the parents introducing their young children to books. The shelved-off children's area made me think this was a particularly safe space for little ones to gather in as they develop their love of books.
Extra to this, a large area for cards and other bits and pieces at the back (think independent Clintons) means there were even more people popping in for a birthday card and finding themselves distracted by the appeal of the books. It's a clever layout and filled me with joy at the thought of all those accidental readers and book gifts accompanying the cards.
My gift to myself was Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant, followed by a bit of a wander around Guisborough. I'm becoming quite a fan of market towns.
The Guisborough Bookshop
4 Chaloner Street, Guisborough,
Cleveland, North Yorkshire, TS14 6QD
Tel: 01287 610179
*I have a feeling I'm often surprised by the large size of market town bookshops, maybe I need to move to one of these places so I can make the most of the phenomenon.