book review Bookshop reviews

So I just read Confessions of a bookseller by Shaun Bythell and…

Last year I read one of the best books I’ve ever read, the reason I started this blog, and last month the second book came out. is the sequel to The Diary of a Bookseller and I instantly fell in love with not only the bookshop but Shaun himself, the Town of Wigtown and the idea of a second hand bookshop in Scotland. I became so obsessed with this idyllic concept that last month I even got the chance to visit the bookshop and Wigtown, a place I highly recommend any booklover visits. But today I want to talk about the book. Let’s start with the blurb: 

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost … In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

The book is, as the title would suggest, based around the diary of Bythell. Each month acting as a chapter and each day a subchapter, not only based around days at the shop but also Bythell’s personal life. It allows you a look at the people that live in the village, the people that often visit and even the shop cat. 

It’s extremely well written, each chapter filled with Bythell’s well known sarcasm as well as sobering realism. Stories such as the chimney falling into the neighbour’s property and fighting for planning permission fill this book and there’s something charming about that. But I also think there’s a deeper story about the struggling trade of second hand books, people asking for discounts on already cheap books and demanding more money for books they were trying to sell. 

On top of this, not only is it extremely funny but it’s well written. Everything is well written and extremely easy to follow, a very easy read that easily transports you to the bookshop in scotland no matter where you are in the world. There was no point in the book that I felt bored or like it had slowed down, each chapter short enough to keep your attention even when he’s just talking about going fishing. 

I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, essentially a diary of a man who works in a shop, but I love the simple approach with a lot of honesty and dry humour, something I love. I recommend everyone at least try reading the first book! 

Find your local independent bookshop at https://www.booksellers.org.uk/ 

Or on Abebooks here

Or even in your local library that can be found here

Check out my last blog post here where I talk about getting people who hate reading into books and maybe consider subscribing to my newsletter on the right.