Thursday, 28 July 2011

Two Devonshire Indies

The Harbour Bookshop

What a pleasant surprise! The Harbour Bookshop is a cheerful independent bookshop with a really great selection of books. I love bookshops where you get a good feeling from walking into it – and this certainly was a good feeling. Out of the other shops in Kingsbridge The Harbour Bookshop is truly the most independent – I couldn’t really see any other independent establishment, and it really stood out – in a good way.


 My visit was extremely fleeting but I know that I would have had an amazing chat with the ladies behind the counter if I had the time. They were so friendly.

Also, I got to pick up some free things about books. Huzzah! The ladies at the bookshop write their own pamphlet to review books which is such an outreaching idea.

The kids section is bright and very encouraging.

An amazing shop situated perfectly, it would seem, in Kingsbridge, doing it for the indies. 

Salcombe Bookshop

Salcombe is like Cowes and Kingsbridge is more like Lymington – there are lots of higher end shops in Salcombe, and a few independent ones, too. The bookshop we stumbled upon is situated down a picturesque little ally. Unfortunately, the shop itself was quite disappointing.

Very small, I thought the shop was rather more like a brand new shed with some books shoved on some shelves. The shelves were untidy, and the place had no character.

Sorry Salcombe.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A Bibliophile in Frome

Hunting Raven Books


Hunting Raven Books is perfectly placed in the medievally picturesque Cheap Street, among other independent shops that share an equal passion for their goods.  The building itself is impressive, enticing you in with clever window displays and an urge to find a story behind the sign.

The shop itself is extremely well stocked and bright, with clear sections and shelving that give the books an opportunity to speak.

As well as books, Hunting Raven also sells CDs, stationary, and cards, as well as children’s toys. There is a section in the ‘Gallery’ at the back that would satisfy any bibliophile.


The staff are also incredibly informative, enthusiastic and friendly. I read on their website that they offer gap year opportunities for students. What an absoloutly fantastic and innovative idea! I wish I had a local inde that did that. 

I was so happy to find this shop – after my Easter book cruising it’s always a delight to step into a bookshop and really look at it. It’s definitely something that I will do every time I step into a bookshop – and recently I have picked up a free magazine called Book Time – a great magazine about recent publications which also review bookshops. They really get into so much interesting detail – maybe I should do that kind of research too, it would certainly make my blog more interesting!


What’s not more interesting than a shop that has an old tin bath outside its door? (My mother would probably tell you if you let her that she used a similar tub in front of the fire when she was younger) but what’s more interesting? The pile of books on the table in the door.

Stepping into Crowman was a very nostalgic and wonderful experience for me. Amongst the paraphernalia of different objects, all sorts of gorgeously rustic furniture, spinning wheels, stuffed foxes – were books. We climbed the narrow winding staircase and I was plummeted into the memories of my grandparent’s cottage – in fact, the shop may as well have been that cottage, except that everything was crammed into one room. Think The Room of Requirement in Deathly Hallows – maybe think of an old shed – but wherever you look, there is certainly a feast for the eyes, somewhere where you could happily emerge yourself into and absorb generations through your finger tips.

It seems that books were nestled into any available space. If I were left to my own devices, I could have spent hours deconstructing the towers and towers of books and sitting gleefully in a genuine old chair-in-front-of-the-fire armchair. In the end, although I was sorely tempted by a book that would be fascinating as a reference, I brought A Book is Made for You to add to my ever increasing second-hand bibliophilic collection.

The owner and his lad were sat around a huge dining table (for sale) and he seemed to know his stuff. Fascinating, absolutely fascinating. I really recommend it.