Another fabulous Indie Advent post today - delighted to welcome Katy Moran, a fantastic YA author, to talk about Aardvark Books in Bucknell on the border between England and Wales.
My favourite independent bookshop has to be my local! Aardvark Books occupies a barn nestled deep in the Welsh Borders, and it’s a real bookworm’s treasure trove with a VAST range of stock, from a well-presented selection of local history to tomes on gardening, art and cookery, along with a shelf containing fascinating rare and antiquarian titles. If you go upstairs (mind the impala – or is it a gazelle?), you will also find a wide choice of fiction and non-fiction.
Downstairs and to the left is the BookBurrow, containing what may possibly be the best children’s section in the history of bookshops.
As well as some wonderful books (of course!), it also houses a pirate ship and a castle, created by the artist Ciara Lewis.
There is always a fantastic programme of events and exhibitions, too. From the point of view of an author, no stone is left unturned in planning: I once spent a very happy day in the book barn with children from three different local schools, and it was so well organised. On one recent visit, the wonderful music of the Welsh language drifted around the shop – a beginner’s class takes place in the café. There is always so much going on, and the café’s home-made cakes are incredible. Most importantly, the staff are very well-informed as well as welcoming. I remember my first visit to the shop as a newbie in the area with my old life in the publishing industry a not very distant memory: I was delighted to find a bookshop like this near my new home, but I also had an unexpected but extremely enjoyable gossiping session with founders Ed and Sheridan, great friends who had originally met working in publishing. Very sadly, Ed died suddenly in April 2014, and is missed by everyone.
I’m not sure it would be possible to recommend one single title from Aardvark – like all the best bookshops, it’s a treasure-trove. Next time you head out to the wild west, make a point of dropping by – it’s an irresistible combination of great books and a great atmosphere.
Also, how many bookshops do you know with a wood-burning stove?
Thanks for a fab post, Katy! Check out Aardvark Books's website and Twitter, and find Katy on her website and on Twitter. Also, the wonderful Erica, who you may see on this site rather soon as part of Indie Advent, visited Aardvark recently - don't miss her fab post about them!