Tag Archives: books

A rare thing indeed

Reid shop window

After the demise of Waterstones in Bold Street, see my earlier post: http://bit.ly/1W4XOBF bookshops in Liverpool are becoming few and far between. Reid of Liverpool is one of the few independent booksellers left in this city. A very rare thing indeed.

Reid of Liverpool is a traditional antiquarian & used bookshop, established in 1975. Over 40,000 titles of a most varied stock, from academic, science, fiction, unusual and arcane.

Reid of Liverpool

If you are interested in more go here: http://bit.ly/1W6fMc8

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A farewell to Waterstones, Bold Street, Liverpool

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I’m seldom moved by the closure of something so mundane as a shop, after all they do come and go on the high street, these days with ever increasing frequency. But this is different, this is personal.

I discovered the sad news via Twitter that my favourite bookshop and coffee bar is to close in February 2014. I suppose the writing was on the wall. The academic section on the top floor has been empty for a while and Waterstones had opened a ‘flagship’ store in Liverpool One. This new bookstore is large and well-stocked but it just doesn’t have, for want of a better word, ‘soul’ like the Bold Street bookshop. It’s too clinical and corporate – too spacious even. For me the old Bold Street Waterstones had everything a good bookshop should have. Multiple floors, well-stocked shelves, a good choice and an excellent children’s section. The staff were always helpful and the place had a small and ‘family’ feel about it.

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Over the years I have always spent time there every week, often to buy books for myself, my wife Gina or close friends. I made a point of purchasing my Christmas gifts there in the last few years as I wanted to give the place a fighting chance. Not that my small endeavours would ever amount to a rescue package – but I did make the attempt. I would even see a book I wanted on line, make a copy of the ISBN no etc and order it from the book counter at Waterstones Bold Street. They would even send me a text once it had arrived. Sure, it was a slower way of getting my books, but so what – the shop was far more important.

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But all this has been to no avail and the fine old place is to close after all. I’m devastated and looking at the torrent of tweets I’m not alone.

I can only hope that the staff in the bookshop and in the Costas coffee bar all manage to find work elsewhere.

Bold Street has lost a jewel and will never be the same again. So farewell Waterstones you will be sadly missed but never forgotten.

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Behind the Sofa (or what I want for Christmas)…

Behind the Sofa Dr Who book

 

This one is on my list for Christmas. So if Santa is reading this blog, make sure the elves put it in my stocking.

Behind The Sofa is a collection of over 100 celebrity memories of Doctor Who, compiled in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Steve Berry decided to undertake this project in memory of his mother Janet, who suffered from Alzheimer’s in her final years and passed away in 2009. The book has taken more than four years to put together and its publication has been “crowd-funded” by the pre-orders of an enthusiastic Whovian community.

For more go here.

If you want to look back at the blog then here.

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Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury 1975

Ray Bradbury 1975

It was with genuine sadness that I heard of the death of Ray Bradbury on 5 June. I have always enjoyed Science Fiction, particularly the short story form of the genre. As a teenager I loved the work of Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke and Silverberg, but it was Bradbury’s stories that were the most magical to my young mind.

Later while attending college I attempted to illustrate (without much success) ‘The Martian Chronicles’. I even remember approaching one of my tutors, the late George Jardine to ask for help. He naturally pointed me in the direction of the surrealists. But Ray Bradbury’s work wasn’t simply surreal. He created his own worlds, often seen from a child’s perspective in the small town America setting of the twenties and thirties.

To quote Margaret Atwood in a lovely piece on Bradbury for the Guardian Review, “Stories read with such enthusiasm at such a young age are not so much read as inhaled. They sink all the way in and all the way down, and they stay with you”.

The first Bradbury books I can remember reading were ‘Golden Apples of the Sun’ and ‘Dandelion Wine’. Wonderful collections of perfect short stories. When ever I read a Bradbury tale it always felt as though I had seen seen something from the corner of my eye, but when I looked it had vanished. That odd feeling of something perceived but not seen. There but not there.

First edition of Golden Apples of the Sun

First edition of Golden Apples of the Sun

Golden Apples of the Sun. My 1970 edition.

Golden Apples of the Sun. My 1970 edition.

I no longer think of Bradbury’s work as Science Fiction, it defies being slotted conveniently into a box. As did the man.

This is from raybradbury.com:
Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.

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New Penguin English Library range

Penguin book covers

Just browsing in my local Waterstones and saw this display of the new Penguin English Library range. Beautiful cover designs and a refreshing change from so many ‘bestsellers’.

Penguin also have a very good little animation to advertise the range. Makes me want to buy the lot, but I don’t have the shelf space.

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A conversation overheard

Taylor Simons new website

A sneak peek at the new site

I do hope everyone had a fine Christmas and new year break, despite the weather conditions here in the UK at the time. I’ve neglected this little blog of mine lately and I apologise but we, (that’s Gina and myself), have been very busy preparing a new website for our studio (see above) as well as other more mundane things that simply took up most of my time. Our old site needs an overhaul and once I’ve ironed out that last few glitches I’ll upload the shiny new one.

I resolved that I would do something about the lack of posts today and so pen and Moleskin in hand I decided to drop into my favourite coffee bar and bookshop to do a little writing. I love the smell of coffee mixed with the aura of books all around me, it helps me think.

Parked in one of my preferred spots with a ‘flat white’ I opened my note-book ready to write when I overheard a conversation. Now don’t get me wrong here. I don’t normally eavesdrop on my fellow coffee drinkers, in fact I usually like to blank everything out, but the two elderly women sat a few tables away were speaking so loudly I couldn’t help but overhear.

They talked and they talked, but what really stuck in my mind was when one of them said, “I turn the internet on and then off again and can’t do anything in between”. It just made me smile and I wanted to share it.

I guess we and by that I mean professional computer users, take a great deal for granted and though computers and their interfaces have come a long way, for some, they and what they offer, are still largely out of reach.

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Goodbye Borders

 

Administration notice

Administration notice

I cannot let the passing of Borders go without comment. I enjoy books and book shops and the news that Borders had gone into administration was a very sad indeed. The Borders book shop I go to was a wonderful place to browse for books. Comfy chairs amidst the books and the ever-present smell of coffee from the Starbucks bar gave the place a great feeling. I am sorry for the staff, who were always both helpful and knowledgeable.

Amazon will get the blame, but it’s our choice in the end. If you’re like me and enjoy book shops as well as books then we had better make use of them before it’s too late!

 

Borders shop

Another high street name that I shall miss...

Goodbye Borders… gone but not forgotten.

 

 

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