Independent Bookshop Week

An unashamed plug for independent bookshops, to be celebrated this coming week in the UK and Ireland. Much of the following comes from the IBW website at https://indiebookshopweek.org.uk/

Independent Bookshop Week (24th June – 1st July 2017) is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, and seeks to celebrate independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland.  They do this with events, celebrations, reading groups, storytelling, author signings, literary lunches, even face painting!  Your local bookshop will have their own way of celebrating, and IBW encourages you to visit to celebrate with them.

For those active on social media the campaign has a Twitter account for updates @IndieBound_UK and also another account @booksaremybag for all things IBW and bookshops. BAMB is also on Instagram and Facebook.

We’re also told that IndieBound is their umbrella independent campaign, which helps “promote healthy high streets, shopping local and the benefits that a diverse high street — with a bookshop at its heart of course! — can deliver to a community.”  IndieBound was started by the American Booksellers Association in 2008 as a “marketing movement”  for independent bookstores, part of a campaign for “fiscal localism”.

After you’ve let your fingers do the walking, following the links and so on, it must be time to use Shank’s pony to wend your way to your local bookshop — though that’s assuming you still have one. But hurry! By patronising it you may help to ensure it continues to survive and thrive. Use it or lose it!

Dido and the Brontës

Pacific Island recruiting ship ‘Para’, c 1880
State Library of Queensland, negative number 65320 (credit: http://www.globaleducation.edu.au/case-studies/australian-pacific-islanders.html)

Are you wondering what’s happened to Dido Twite, the engaging young heroine of Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles? Yes? Then read on. No? Still, do keep reading, because if you’re a fan of the Brontës you may find the following note of interest!

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The Joy of Books (1)

There’s something about book anticipation that gets to this particular bibliophile. When I was a kid I remember being intrigued by the packaging of Fry’s Five Boys chocolate bar with its fivefold image of one lad in various stages: Desperation, Pacification, Expectation, Acclamation and Realization. Maybe I won’t quite go through all five stages before acquiring the desired object — in my case, the book rather than a bar of chocolate — but that stage of expectation is one that I especially relish. Even the image of books (as in a watercolour of vintage paperbacks hanging on our wall) is enough to have me salivating.

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Dial L for Library

Phone box library in Trecastle, Powys (https://www.instagram.com/p/BKDHBCGgYUE/?taken-by=calmgrove&hl=en)

These days most people have mobile phones (‘cellphones’ to transatlantic readers) and as a result many phone boxes (‘phone booths’) are becoming redundant, in the UK at least. As it is, many of those surviving and operating don’t accept cash, only cards (perhaps to lessen attempted thefts, probably because coinage is becoming a threatened species). The classic British red telephone boxes are being sold off as novelty items, garden ornaments or whatever, but a few — and more than a few, if Google Maps are to be believed — are being converted to … free libraries.

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Sighs, pie charts and statistics

1: LT author cloud

Many of you booklovers may well be familiar with LibraryThing, one of many sites available for cataloguing books you’ve read or that are in your library — plus all the other interaction expected on social media sites. Most if not all have useful facilities for examining your bookish stats, and LT is no exception. I like to occasionally peruse these to see what patterns and trends, if any, seem to be emerging.

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High five

WordPress have just informed me that it has been five years since I began this blog by registering it. Back in 2012 I had no real ambitions other than to post a few reviews and hopefully engage with a few likeminded bloggers. Now, in 2017, that remains the core ambition. I have nothing to sell, only ideas to share; I aim to receive no remuneration except informative dialogue and virtual friendship.

I’d like to thank all current followers of Calmgrove for remaining active and for sharing thoughts and adding ‘likes’ where appropriate. I myself follow sixty-odd blogs, not on a follow4follow basis but because they have interesting things to say or wonderfully crafted visual and wordy creations to share. If I am sometimes remiss in engaging it’s because of time and opportunity, not because I’m dismissive of your inspiring efforts.

I promised to rejuvenate my photoblog MyNewShy and my creating writing outlet Zenrinji — all that is ongoing and will emerge in due course — but for the moment I’m focusing on this literary blog, attempting a sensible regular schedule. I don’t intend to stop reading, so there’s every chance I shall be still here in five years’ time doing what I set out to do in a rather more optimistic era: exploring the world of ideas through books. I hope you’ll continue to join me in that exploration!