BLOG POST: March ramblings

And so, March leaves us like a lamb, or so the phrase goes.
Although in Indie bookshop-land, it’s been a little the other way around with a quiet, genteel period of activity at the start of the month and then a flurry towards the end.
Some of that was down to Mothers’ Day, a difficult time for me as I lost my own dear Mum last October. She loved the fact I had got a job in a bookshop – ‘right up your street’ – she said to me when I told her. I was trying to remember what her favourite book was (my Dad’s is Dracula) but she was the kind of person who liked lots of things, classics, modern fiction, poetry, nature, just as long as the writing was good.
She was always gushing about my writing – she would have also loved this monthly column – but then that’s mothers for you.
The end of March also saw the whirlwind of number crunching that is the annual stock take. It’s an interesting exercise, for a number of reasons, and I choose the word exercise on purpose because a day lifting some of the more weightier tomes in the History section could have easily spared me that week’s trip to the gym, if I was a member of a gym, or even had the inclination to join one, which I don’t.
My favourite sections were Fantasy and Sci-Fi, although Poetry and Drama offered up some interesting revelations, including a book priced £16.61 (on purpose) and several copies of Moliere’s Tartuffe – if anyone is interested in 17th century classic French comedy, we have plenty of copies here to indulge yourself in.
The other flurry would be the number of events we’re organising here at the shop at the moment. In the last few weeks we’ve had the pleasure of such company as Francis Spufford, Keiron Goddard and Daisy Buchanan, and next month will see more, including fantasy author Ben Aaronovitch and travel writer Ben Aitken. Other authors not called Ben are available.
I’m particularly pleased with Ben Aitken. I’m a huge fan of his work, especially A Chip Shop in Poznan and Dear Bill Bryson, which follows, exactly, in the footsteps of Mr Bryson’s seminal work, Notes From A Small Island. His latest, The Marmalade Diaries tells the story of Ben and the person he ends up sharing a house with during the Lockdown, an 85 year-old widow called Winnie.
Mum would have come to that event as well, only because I organised it, and maybe because there’s the bonus of a pot of Wilkin and Sons marmalade for ticket holders. Now, when do you get an offer like that at a book event?
That was March, a funny old month, and as I finish compiling this column, with the gentle hum of the buses rolling by and the occasional tinging of the Town Hall quarter chime, while I’m kind of in a reflective mood, I’m also very much looking forward to the exciting year ahead.
People are asking us what’s new in the shop, what events they can come to next because they soooo enjoyed the last one, and most importantly buying books.
That’s what it’s all about, after all.
Neil Jones