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Independent Booksellers Week

This week, it seem, is all about books. 18th – 25th June is Independent Booksellers Week, a week-long celebration of the most romantic of institutions. Somewhere that lets you step outside yourself or back in time, offers refuge from the bustle of the high street, provides a visual or a tactile feast. Tucked away in a hidden corner, that certain smell – you don’t need me to describe it – tells you you have stumbled on the real deal. Dust-motes may linger enticingly in the air. They may have the comfiest couch or serve your favourite coffee. Or it may simply be that the owner is confident in his recommendations and that he has never been wrong so far. I thought I would share a couple of my favourites with you.

As  huge fan of illustrators, one of my favourite places to browse is the the Lion & Unicorn, one of the few independent booksellers in the U.K dedicated to children’s books. Situated on the corner of one of Richmond’s narrow lanes close to the Green, a visit is to step back into childhood. I always leave a few pounds lighter but never without a smile on my face (the last time I came away with a spirograph – for myself).
Discovered on a recent walking trip to the Lake District was Sam Read Book Shop, established in 1887. Forced to abandon the Easedale Round due to unseasonably good weather (would you believe!) I sought shelter from the sun inside this little gem, which takes advantage of its enviable position on Grasmere village green. Few places enjoy such a view, and few can lay claim to so many literary connections, from Wordsworth, Coleridge and the Romantics, to John Ruskin, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome. As with all shops lacking in space, the selection is hand-picked, each book having something special to offer. Matt had to drag me away (it was probably just as well), but not before I purchased three books for my father’s birthday, none of which I had seen elsewhere and all of which he was delighted with.

Independent Booksellers Week is part of the IndieBound campaign for independent bookshops, which promotes independent bookshops, great books, strong reading communities, and the idea of shopping locally and sustainably –

New for 2011 is the inclusion of National Reading Group Day on the second Saturday of IBW,  Saturday 25th JuneNational Reading Group Day is one of BA President Jane Streeter’s key objectives.  It’s not necessarily about booksellers starting reading groups, or even running groups in the shop (although you will find that many do). It is all about capitalising on the current huge grassroots affection for Reading Groups in the UK.  As an author, I have visited many local Book Clubs, one the best and most rewarding – albeit challenging ways – for authors to engage directly with their readers.

To learn how you can get involved go to