I have always loved bookshops, when Floss and I first met in Cambridge, we used to hang out in CB1 on Mill Road, which was an internet cafe in the days when this was a new thing. The cafe had secondhand books lining the walls, we would sit for ages, drinking filter coffee (with free refills) and occasionally pick up an old penguin to look at for a while, conversations flow easily with books around. It is just nice to spend time in a good bookshop. To my mind bookshops are magical places, and I hope that people find a little of that magic here. Whenever we travel north we make sure to stop in at the wonderful Barter books in Alnwick, and although our books span tens rather than hundreds of meters, I am confident that what ours lacks in scale, it more than makes up for in location!
If you go into any house that has books in it, you can tell something about the people that live there, I imagine that anyone who has an eye for these things would be able to tell a lot about us by the books that we have on the shelves. In the last couple of years I have enjoyed books by Haruki Murakami, Barbara Kingsolver, Sally Rooney, Lionel Shriver, Margaret Atwood, Bernadine Evaristo, Raynor Winn, Anna Burns, Malcolm Gladwell, Mieko Kawakami, George Saunders to name a few, I have also read pretty much every word of Dan Brown’s and George R.R Martin’s too.
If you will permit a polite recommendation, If you haven’t come across Lucy Ellwell’s book Ducks Newburyport, please consider buying it immediately, it isn’t as much a good read but more like a new friend who has moved in with you for a while, to become familiar with the narrators voice over time whilst nothing much seems to be happening. Ducks Newburyport is unlike any other book that I have come across, a real joy and one that I dip into again and again just to remember our time together.
For those not drawn to the bookshelves, we also have a bunch of board games for you to play whilst you are here, and you are very welcome to light the wood-burner in the lounge, actually the hostel is usually warm without it, but it is nice to have it lit for the hygge. A cosy evening playing scrabble with a bottle of wine or a couple of bottles of local beer in front of a fire resting tired legs is a pretty good way to spend an evening if you ask me. Or you can just have a cup of tea and read a paper!