The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

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I enjoyed this a lot. Bythell writes a warts-and-all report on the daily comings, goings and meagre takings of The Bookshop, which is simultaneously Scotland’s largest independent secondhand bookshop and its most dysfunctional. And while he seems quite happy to bite at the hands that feed (he points out the foibles of the few customers who do make it into his shop, and is scathing of Amazon’s affect on the book-selling business, despite needing their online customers to keep the bottom line from dropping through the floorboards), Bythelll writes humorously and movingly about the characters who appear (and disappear) from his life. His stroke of genius was to set up the Random Book Club in which for a mere 59 pounds sterling per annum, he promises to send a random good book to subscribers every month. The club appears to be so successful, it’s not taking on any new subscribers, which is a shame because I’d love to join.  Oh, and there are numerous book recommendations and Orwell quotes to keep any fellow book sniffer content.

No. 36 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2019.

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Patrick Sherriff publishes a monthly newsletter highlighting good fiction about Japan and featuring an original painting or sketch. He lives in Abiko, Japan, with his wife and two daughters.


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