Back In Booksness

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller

It feels like forever since our last blog post, but we are delighted to announce that we are back!

And what a long, strange ride it’s been: thirteen months of lockdown, click and collect, streamed events, hundreds of subscription boxes and tens of thousands of web orders.

It may sound trite, but we wouldn’t have made it through the last year without our customers, our followers and our community. You’ve bought things – of course you have – but you’ve helped in other ways too. You’ve been there when we’re down, you’ve talked to us on the phone and on Twitter, you’ve come to the live nights on Facebook and so so many of you have asked “when are you going to be open?”

The answer: we are opening the doors at 10 am on Monday 12th April. There will be some social distancing involved: masks will be worn, hands will be sanitised, care has to be taken not to have too many bubbles crossing over each other in the shop. That said – you can come in, you can browse, you can ask us for recommendations, and we can’t wait to see you all again!

New faces

We also want to introduce you to some new people! In the last few weeks of lockdown, Echo joined us as business administrator, swiftly followed by Hannah and Megan as new members of the bookselling team. You’ll get to know them better in the next few months, as Echo writes our weekly newsletter while Hannah and Megan will be posting here on the blog.

We’re also saying goodbye to a familiar face, as after four years of award-winning all-round brilliance, Amy is moving on. We can’t be too sad though, as she’s joining Firefly Press in Cardiff – an amazing job at one of our favourite indie publishers, and we’re bound to see her again at future children’s events. For now, enjoy her last bow – a great selection of children’s books Amy picked for the kids and YA live show back in March.

Arts & Crafts

Every month, we pick out some of our favourite titles from a part of the shop that doesn’t get the limelight as often as the bestsellers and book club reads – this month we’re popping downstairs to check out Art and Craft.

First up is Pen To Paper, a gorgeous collection of handwritten letters from some of the greatest names in American art, selected and transcribed by Mary Savig. The more we type, tweet and text, the more special a handwritten letter becomes, and this collection is all about celebrating the unique qualities of old-school communication.

Our next pick is Creative Me by Helen Elliott, a hands-on guide to taking up painting and getting past that terrible first “blank canvas” stage. Maybe it’s just that I’m engaged to an artist, but I’ve always seen making art as a lifeline in deep waters and a light in dark places: when times are tough and feelings are low, create something to get yourself through.

Finally, we have the Art Impressions series. These are new in stock: sturdy, handsome little reference guides, more slender than your average hardback, each one introducing a medium (like Tapestries) or a movement (like Surrealism), or giving a general perspective on, say, Key Moments in Art. We have a dozen or so in the series, far too many to talk about in one post, so do come in and see for yourself!

Staff Picks

This month, we have mostly been reading…

Emma: Girl in the Walls, by A. J. Gnuse

Jon: Edge of the Grave, by Robbie Morrison

Amy: The Weather Weaver, by Tamsin Mori

Hannah: Ghosts, by Dolly Alderton

Megan – The Break, by Marian Keyes

That’s my lot for this month – still have quite a bit to do before Monday morning. We’ll see you then.