I’d like to take a moment to get geeky, if I may. There are a few things I get geeky about. Books, knitting, language, books. Mostly books. I love books. But if there’s anything I love anywhere near as much as books, it’s bookshops.
(Toppings and Company, Bath, my favourite bookshop in the sunshine. Photo by me.)
Quiet, peaceful and musty, a good bookshop is an oasis to me. There are hundreds of stories held in those shelves, so many voices that have something to say – the possibilities are endless and the atmosphere zings. But still you can hear every foot shuffle, every throat clear and every page flip. Each tale is held quiet, like a child waiting to surprise you, in a silence so close to speaking. It’s soothing.
(All on my own in Toppings. Photo by me.)
After the quiet, the smell is my favourite thing. Book pages all generally smell the same, that rich scent of time and paper mulch. But each one has its own quirks, a kind of signature. Older books smell stronger, while newer ones have a slight vinegar tang from modern inks and printing technology. Put them all together in a bookshop and the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. You can flick through the pages of as many tomes as you like and in between breathe deep this great, rich aroma.
(Books, beautiful books, in Toppings. Photo by me.)
No matter how many people are in a bookshop, it’s still a personal experience. Whether you are looking for advice on your next holiday destination or to get lost in a ripping adventure you can make that decision all by yourself even with a stranger standing by your side. I can have the most stressful day at work, but five minutes in a book shop can make it all melt away, just by standing in the place. For some people solitude can be found in museums, for others it’s galleries. But for me, nothing is better than a bookshop.