While wandering past bookshops, the smell drifts from the door as I pass and I am lost. I have picked up a small leather-bound book called The Pleasures of Hope, by Thomas Campbell, Printed in 1826.
I got it for the opening lines:
At summer eve, when Heaven’s aerial bow
Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky?
Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near?
Someone else who has stood and looked with wonder at a mountain in the distance and felt the call to go and climb.
I love bookshops, especially old and second-hand bookshops, but any independent shop is good. At worst a chain store or bucket store, though I try to steer clear if possible. Our local Hospice also has many books, collected from donations and spread in the room behind the furniture shop for my delight. The Pleasure of Hope is my most recent acquisition, from the Tombland Bookshop in Norwich, I was wandering, taking pictures as I normally do (more of that next post) and came across the shop, happy chance.
Many independent shops struggle to keep afloat these days, unable to compete with the big chains in buying power. Those that do succeed do so by finding their niche, by selling a wider selection of books, by being friendly, offering space to local writers or for coffee and readings by authors.
Some of my favourites are, Devizes Books, Devizes. Brendon Books in Taunton, and The Bailey Hill Bookshop in Castle Cary. Shakespeare and Co is in Paris so I can’t claim it as a regular place to go, but if you get the chance, visit.
Where is your favourite bookshop, give it a shout out, spread the word. So we can all visit some time.