Where have all our bookshops gone?

Since putting my teaching course on hold and dedicating myself to my writing, it’s become clear that I’m going to need some sort of job. Money is an obvious draw but mainly I need something to get me out of the house for two or three days a week to stop me getting cabin fever and give my brain a break from writing.

My perfect job at the moment would be to work in a bookshop and so I quickly set about searching for bookshops around London where I could apply. I came up with a small handful. That’s it. That’s all that’s left.

I knew that amazon and Kindle had killed off bookshops but I hadn’t quite realised to what extent. A couple of years ago my favourite second hand bookshop (My Back Pages in Balham) closed down to be replaced with a shiny new estate agents, and I was genuinely devastated. Now I search for books in local charity shops as that’s the only option near me now.

Well, no. It’s not the only option. There’s always Amazon. I admit that in the past I’ve been lured in by the cheap prices and quick delivery that Amazon offers. Indeed, during my English Literature degree, while I got as many books as I could find in charity and second hand bookshops, I wouldn’t have been able to find all the books I needed without relying Amazon.

Now, I’ve decided that enough is enough. Even Waterstones, the big conglomerate that we once used to scorn for killing off the independent bookshops, is struggling under the weight of Amazon and people are lamenting the closures of Waterstone’s shops throughout the country. I’ve decided to stop buying books from Amazon and to only buy from charity and bookshops instead. How long I’ll be able to keep this up before books can only be purchased online I don’t know, but it’s worth a try.

It’s time to start supporting our bookshops! Join me in boycotting books from Amazon and supporting your local shops too. I can promise you that spending time in bookshops and libraries is a much nicer experience than sitting at home online and you may even find some real people to talk to about books. Hopefully it’s not too late and we can turn this around before bookshops disappear altogether.

Keep supporting bookshops! x

This week I’m reading…

After months of reading children’s books I’m finally back onto grown up literature! I worked my way back up, having a splurge of young adult fiction with all of The Hunger Games last week, and am now ready for a spell of adult literature. ‘Adult literature’ is the wrong phrase, it suggests steamy romance novels, but hopefully you know what I mean!

So this week, on the recommendation of my sister, I’ve started reading The Year of the Hare by Finnish writer Arto Paasilinna. I’m only a couple of chapters in but am already of fan of this best-selling book.image

This short novel tells the story of a middle-aged journalist, fed up of his unhappy marriage and dead end job, who after rescuing a wild hare that’s been struck by his car decides to to break free from his life’s constraints. Quitting his job and leaving his wife, he decides to take off into the wilds of Finland with his new-found friend, the rescued hare.

The book has been a best-seller in Finland and France, has been turned into two films and is frequently dramatised for stage. So far I’m enjoying it but I’ll give you my full thoughts about it when I’ve finished it.

Keep reading! x