Friday, 29 July 2011

I'd move to New York for this

What a place. What a man. Mind you, the interior is a tidier version of my friend Mark's house.

I haven't yet found the Book Barge, which apparently is based in Staffordshire, but I will. I've been to the Cheese Boat, and it's a concept which should be encouraged. If you live near the boat and order a book, they'll deliver it by dinghy or bike.

I miss proper bookshops. There's one near the park in The Dark Place. It's like the final resting place of unwanted books, good and bad. 1950s home-brewing guides, feet of Monica Dickens and Jeffrey Farnol, battered Penguin Specials and all sorts of tat. I used to go there a lot, but when they realised that I was slowly buying their stock of Left Book Club editions, they tripled the price, which I thought was mean, especially as their previous prices was still expressed in £.s.d., suggesting that demand was minimal.

Where else do I like? Reader's World in Birmingham. Cramped, chaotic, dusty, cheap. It used to have added 'atmosphere' provided by the used porn room at the back, but that's largely gone. Furtive men would scurry past me as I browsed the pulp SF or old university textbooks, not meeting anyone's eyes.

There's a great shop in Littleborough, outside Manchester. It's George Kelsall's. They're very friendly and informed, and have a massive stock of books in a rambling building. Last time I was there, they let me have the run - unsupervised - of areas they don't normally let the public into. Sun streamed through onto aged wood, a clock ticked and time slid past.

And of course Webberley's in Stoke. Amidst the ruination brought about by Thatcherite economics, neglect, cynical architects and corruption, Webberley's stands proud and independent: a massive, hugely-stocked general books and art materials shop towering over Waterstone's. I've bought critical theory books there more cheaply than at certain online behemoths. It's been there since 1913 - long may it last. They also sell online.

More amazing and weird bookshops here (with thanks to Ewar).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sheffield's Rare n Racy is my fave - it's been there unchanged for years. nothing Racy there though