Friday, September 14, 2018

The Diary of a Bookseller: a book review

The Diary of a Bookseller

by Shaun Bythell

Published September 4, 2018

Melville House

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to run your own bookstore, this is your chance to experience it vicariously.

The Diary of a Bookseller is exactly what it claims to be -- a diary kept by Shaun Bythell for one year. Bythell owns a secondhand bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland. In this diary he shares stories about his customers, shop repairs, his employees, and even the daily till count.

This memoir isn’t about self-growth or personal tragedy. In fact, nothing much happens in this book, yet I couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to experience a day in the life… and then another… and another.

Bythell’s tone is straightforward and sarcastic. His employee Nicky reads like a fictional character and makes Bythell’s search for books sold online nearly impossible at times from her own quirky thought process for shelving books.

Customers come in to the store asking questions to show off their own intelligence, or that lead to the exact offbeat book they are looking for, only to have them leave without buying it.

The beginning of each month begins with a quote from George Orwell's account of working in a book shop, so you get a sort of two-for-one experience.

This is a fun, light read that you can dip in and out of. The short entries will likely have you continuing to turn the pages long after you say, “just one more.”

I recommend this to book lovers, anyone who dreams of working in a bookstore, shop owners, and readers who need to knock themselves out of a reading rut.

Disclaimer: I received an advance-read copy of this book via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.

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