Wednesday, 3 December 2014

#IndieAdvent: Alice S-H on Village Books, Dulwich Village

For day 4 of #IndieAdvent, really delighted to welcome a new blogger, Alice S-H, who started her blog last week but has already got some fab posts up! She's talking about Village Books, which was already towards the top of my 'must visit' list; this post moves it even higher.

Name and location: Village Books, Dulwich Village

Why I love it: I havent been to Village Books in Dulwich Village for about a decade now, but it still holds its place as my favourite bookshop. This is the place where I discovered my favourite book, Northern Lights (still my favourite book), and other treasured titles such as Harry Potter and Malorie Towers. I remember being too small to reach the Horrible Histories and my parents having to pass book after book to me until I decided which one I wanted (for the record, Vile Victorians is the best of them). It was always filled with tables piled with books, and shelves that stretched so high it hurt my neck to look up at them. Granted, I was anywhere between six and ten and if I went back now those tables wouldnt be stretching far above me, but at that age and height being surrounded by piles of books towering over me was my idea of heaven. If you saw my bedroom floor now, it looks like Im trying to recreate that, and maybe I am.

This is the place that handed me my first edition signed by JK Rowling Harry Potter books, well books two to four, at least. Its the place that helped get Jacqueline Wilson (the first author I ever met) visit my school, and its also the place that stoked my love of stories, reading and books.

These days, I live on the other side of London and unfortunately there arent many indie bookshops within reaching distance. My nearest is in Kew, another lovely place, but its just too far away. I have, and worked for, a Waterstones for a year and a half, so have a certain allegiance to them. My local Waterstones is a wonderful place, but in my new job I keep coming across titles that have been buried under twenty years of living, and are resurfacing along with the memory of Village Books. It was, and I hope still is, a magical place where a new world could always be discovered. I like to think theres another little girl standing under a shelf thats too high for her, being handed book after book by her long suffering parents. Shell decide what she wants eventually, but only because she knows shell be back next week.


What Id buy as a Christmas present and who Id give it to: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, to give to everyone who doubts the power of words and stories. Its her first YA novel and is an incredible testament to the healing power that can come from books, youre reading or writing them. 

Huge thanks to Alice for a great post! Check out Village Books on their Facebook page and on Twitter; also take a look at Alice's new blogI and talk to her about it on Twitter!

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