Monday 5 November 2018

Taking stock of another person's joy

Sometimes, the best way to enjoy something is by seeing the joy another person is experiencing. I loved the last stop on day three of my Independent Bookshops Week bookshop crawl, but whatever I felt for Woodstock Bookshop is nothing compared to the reaction of my boyfriend.

We'd spent two days touring bookshops and although my enthusiasm was still high, my boyfriend was obviously still keen but flagging a little. He dawdled on the walk to the bookshop, pausing to take photos of our surroundings so that I decided to leave him to it once we'd spotted the bookshop on the road ahead. I therefore arrived without him, taking in the two snug rooms and remarkable number of people they could hold as I began to look over the shelves. It appeared to be a lovely space that was very well filled.

As I made this assessment the dawdler arrived and began to look around. He looked happy enough, then I lost him and the next thing I knew he was kneeling on the floor to get a closer look. In the two plus years since he joined me on this adventure I've never seen him go to so much effort to look at the books, and this behaviour continued for the entire time we were in the bookshop.

To be fair, Woodstock Bookshop really is a place worth going to the effort to explore, but to see my boyfriend so engrossed really emphasised to me how good the variety of stock is here. We'd visited a lot of bookshops and yet here he was, re-enthused about bookshopping and excited by the variety of previously unseen titles in front of him.

It would be impossible for me to list off all that was special about the stock here, but for a bookshop with incredibly limited space there really was an unusual and unexpected offering of everything. Non-fiction included an array of more unexpected titles in every genre, while I found a particularly high volume of translated and/or independent publishers on the fiction shelves. Children also had a generous and well-stocked area to enjoy. I honestly don't know how Woodstock Bookshop manage to fit it all in, but I'm very impressed that they do.

My boyfriend had no trouble choosing two books to buy here, Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich and Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth. I took slightly longer because I'd been so distracted enjoying his delight, eventually selecting The Infatuations by Javier Marias.

Woodstock Bookshop is a truly tiny place but has such big personality – both in books and with the friendly bookseller – that I can happily recommend it as the reason I will be returning to visit Woodstock. Which is quite a coup considering Blenheim Palace is down the road.

The Woodstock Bookshop
23 Oxford Street, Woodstock,
Oxfordshire OX20 1TH
Tel: 01993 812760


  1. Sounds a wonderful shop - I've added to my list :-)

    1. Hurrah! It's definitely worth the effort

  2. Oh this sounds wonderful, and relatively close to me - I must plan my visit.

    1. Please do! I hope you enjoy Woodstock Bookshop as much as I did


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