Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Best Little Bookshop in Bucks

Five minutes drive from where I live there's a pretty little village called Penn. It's famous for several things (1) Ruth Ellis's murder victim, David Blakely, is buried in Penn Churchyard (Ruth herself - the last woman to be hanged in the UK - is buried just a few miles up the road in Amersham) as is Alison Uttley who wrote The Little Grey Rabbit books; (2) It's home to a number of popular celebs including Mary Berry, Pauline Quirke and Gabby Logan; and (3) the Cottage Bookshop.

You might have seen the bookshop on your TV if, like me, you're a Midsomer Murders fan. The show is filmed all around my part of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and the shop featured in an episode called A Tale of Two Hamlets. It also featured in an episode of Chucklevision but we'll move on, shall we?

I popped in this morning as I do once a month to pick up some bargains. All the books are secondhand, they're all reasonably priced and THERE ARE SO MANY. Imagine a three bedroom cottage. Now imagine every available inch of space - on two floors - filled with floor to ceiling bookshelves and every windowsill piled up with books. That's the Cottage Bookshop.

I apologise for the couple of slightly fuzzy images. Hands shaking with excitement.

I went along this morning with fellow author Sarah K Marr (whose amazing book All The Perverse Angels will be out soon). It was her first visit. It won't be her last I'm sure.

And I got some great buys - The Indiscretions of Archie by P G Wodehouse, The Complete McAuslan by George MacDonald Fraser (author of the 'Flashman' books), The Captain's Table by Richard Gordon (famous for the 'Doctor' books), Gamesmanship by Stephen Potter (Potter's earlier work 'Lifemanship' became the hugely successful Ealing comedy School for Scoundrels) and a lovely little collection of Ronald Searle cartoons called Back to the Slaughterhouse. £18 the lot.

I am so very lucky to have this on my doorstep. Book shops are closing down all over the country and browsing is one of life's simple pleasures. It's also how people discover new authors. Once we had proper record shops on every High Street and I discovered many new bands that I still love to this day thanks to browsing. And bookshops performed the same function; an eye-catching cover would often lead me to pick up a book I might not have heard of. Sadly, sites like Amazon are killing the bookshops because the books are cheaper and they're delivered to your door. But equally damaging is the fact that people visit webshops when they already know what they're going to buy; there's no 'wandering around the store looking at covers' to be had on-line and browsing is slowly disappearing. And that's a tragedy.


Oh, and Sarah found the best book title. I thought I'd won when I found a book called Vermin from the Skies. But she beat me fair and square.

Now to save up my pennies for next month's visit. 

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