The Bookshop

We stock books covering a wide range of subjects, especially fiction, poetry, biography and travel. We have a good range of children’s books, with a section for older children and teens downstairs.

Just a few suggestions for lockdown reading.
Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks is a really enjoyable and realistic love story. Written by local teacher Rachel, we thought it was a great read!
The secrets we kept by Lara Prescott will appeal to anyone who loves an historical novel. It tells the story of how the Russian novel Doctor Zhivago was brought to the West and stars CIA spies, Russian winters and a writer in lockdown…

I feel bad about my neck by Nora Ephron is a laugh-out -loud collection of essays about the joys and  non-joys of ageing. Nora wrote screen plays including When Harry Met Sally and this is the sort of book you have to read out loud to your best friend. Perfect!

Favourites

The Memory Police 

Yoko Ogawa

Imagine life on an island with a difference.  Ogawa’s novel is set on an unnamed island where things literally disappear overnight – fruit, flowers, birds.  These disappearances are universal, as is the forgetting.   Each disappearance is follow by a mass removal of the object – either by large communal bonfires or the items are thrown into the river and eventually out to the sea.  Once they have been disappeared, not one person on the island is able to remember the word or the object that it described.  Life goes on.  The Memory Police of the title are tasked with ensuring the rules are adhered to, the items removed and that no one remembers them.  Yet there are a small number who do, who remember every single item which has ever disappeared.  And these people are themselves slowly disappearing.
With echoes of Orwell’s Thought Police and other dystopian narratives, Ogawa’s novel is an elegiac exploration of loss, grief, memory, and, ultimately, what it is to lose ourselves.  Thought provoking, elegant and brave, this novel has been short-listed for the International Booker – and deservedly so.

Patience

Toby Litt

This is the incredibly moving story of Elliott and Jim.  It is 1979 and both boys live in an orphanage run by Catholic nuns.  Elliott is wheelchair bound and unable to communicate verbally beyond a series of grunts.  Jim is a blind mute with a will of iron.  Sounds grim?  In the hands of a different author, this could be the case, but Litt makes you care for both boys and will make you laugh one minute and weep the next.   Told in the first person by Elliott, the reader quickly comes to love this charming, caring and funny young boy.   Elliott and Jim learn to communicate through song and Litt’s use of music throughout this novel is magnificent – there has to be a playlist of it somewhere…

If there is one lesson we could take from Elliott at this moment in time, it is to find the joy in our everyday surroundings.  Often left staring at the same white wall for hours, Elliott finds beauty in watching the light patterns change, in the shadows cast by the tree and birds outside.  If, by chance, he is left facing the other way by the nuns, he can see out of the window, see the tree and the birds and he is equally absorbed by what he finds there.  Elliott will break your heart and mend it again – and perhaps teach you to have a little patience along the way.

The Highland Falcon Thief

MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman

There’s nothing better when we’re stuck at home than a book to whisk us away on an adventure. Especially one set on a train. Readers of Leonard’s Beetle Boy trilogy will enjoy her latest mystery (the first in the Adventures on Trains series). Young Harrison Beck is forced to join his travel-writer uncle on the last journey of the royal train from London to Scotland and meets the train driver’s daughter Lenny. A brooch is stolen and so begins the children’s attempt to solve the mystery. It’s a face-paced story, full of plot twists and turns, with excellent illustrations. There’s a map at the beginning – very satisfying for those of us who like a story with a map. There’s an obvious nod to Agatha Christie, much enjoyed by this adult reader, and enough train facts and details to satisfy railway enthusiasts. The authors have clearly done their research. This is a good book to read together with a younger child or let an older reader start a solo adventure in this strange time when all travelling must be done in our imaginations.

Middle Grade (children 8-12)