This is a one year diary written by the owner of ‘The Bookshop’ in Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, aka Scotland’s Booktown. Bythell documents the daily ins and outs of running a second hand bookshop. It is an interesting insight into the job and also into the local community.
What I enjoyed most about this was the owner’s grumpiness and complete lack of patience with most of his customers and all of his staff. Although, Nicky, the member of staff who gets the most stick is a legend. I would love to meet this woman in real life. Not just because she is hugely eccentric and speaks her mind at every opportunity, but because when you read between the lines you see the good friendship she and Shaun have. I bet they are hilarious company and they have some good stories to tell over a drink in front of the fire.
I read this book from start to finish in a couple of days but I don’t think that is the best way to read it. It’s not a novel, it is a series of diary entries, and as such is too fragmentary to try and read at once. Maybe read a month’s entries, put it down and then go back to it later. Then you always have something handy to make you laugh.
Would I recommend it? Yes, as a bit of light reading. However, I probably won’t be rushing to buy Bythell’s follow up book which I heard is in production. One diary is enough for me, even though the second book should be just as funny as the first.