“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
The 6th October is Bookshop Day, an annual date for celebrating the magic and wonder of bookshops! Part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, this nationwide collaboration brings together bookshops, publishers and authors to promote high street bookstores and celebrate the joy they bring to readers of all ages.
From roaring fires and the aroma of fresh coffee, to rediscovering beloved classics or the thrill of a glistening new cover, bookshops can stir up a unique mix of nostalgia and wonderment like no other place. With such a special place in our hearts, we asked the Hallmark Writing Studio to share some of their favourite literary haunts.
Barter Books, Alnwick
My favourite bookshop is Barter Books in Alnwick…it has everything a bookworm could possibly want – heaps of charm, musty old books, open fires, coffee – and a model train! It’s in an old Victorian train station and the old waiting room is now a lovely café. I could spend hours in there curled up with a well-loved copy of ‘Wuthering Heights’ or just wandering the aisles on the hunt for a new world to get lost in.
Angela Stone, Editor
Webberley’s Bookshop, Hanley
I was introduced to the bookshop when I was tiny. My mother was a primary school teacher in the area and on many occasions, she’d pick me up after class and take me to the store to browse. It became a familiar friend, a vast treasure trove of books where we chose and bought so many children’s classics – many of which I still have today.
As I got older I visited less but its striking architecture and independent status became more important to me. The store was over 100 years old and housed 3 floors of not just books but also a massive selection of arts and crafts supplies. Climbing up its creaky stairs to the pens, pencils, paints and every other possible art material, undoubtedly began my life-long obsession with stationery.
Of course, the rise of online and bookshop chains took its toll on the store but it remained open until 2016 when the store’s final chapter sadly ended.
Ruth Turner-Blood, Writing Studio Manager
I’m particularly fond of bookshops that offer something extra through their surroundings, whether it’s a spectacular view, an interesting history or an architecturally spellbinding aesthetic. One fantastic example of this is the Bradford branch of Waterstones – a hidden treasure, housed inside a spectacular piece of Victorian architecture that was once Bradford’s Wool Exchange. A Grade 1 listed building, the hammer-beam roof windows shelter book buyers from the elements above an eye-catching theatre of granite columns, iron tracery and wrought-iron decoration. It’s an absolutely stunning retail space with an atmosphere that’s not only perfect for reading stories, but conjuring them, too!
Victoria Raw, Editor
Forbidden Planet, Leeds
In my youth, Forbidden Planet was my bookshop of choice. With pocket money tightly grasped in my sweaty adolescent palm, the monthly pilgrimage to collect the latest issue of ‘Justice League’ was the perfect opportunity to languish over an unholy number of comics, special editions and outlandishly expensive matching merchandise. This is where I fell head over heels with storytelling (and also came to the realisation that I’d NEVER have any money if I kept buying comics!).
Hannah Boynton-Forshaw, Editor
For more information on Bookshop Day 2018, click here!