Monday, 11 December 2017

Funny Old World

It was a sunny Saturday in June and off I went to the hospital for my scan. It was my first scan post-secondary diagnosis and although this time I knew the drill, you won't need me to tell you that these things are never entirely without emotion. It's hard to have a scan and not think about what they are looking at on the other side of the window, alongside that out-of-body experience when you still can't quite believe it's you lying there under the scanner.

Once there though, we were soon talking books and quickly it was as if I'd merely popped (I say 'pop', it's a short train ride and a fast twenty minute scuttle to the hospital) in for a coffee.

Our ex-colleague has written a book, one radiographer says. And she's left us, gone to open up a book shop in Harrogate, says the other.

Not Imagined Things? Not the independent book shop I'd read about in the Bookseller and actually whooped out loud at the news on the train? Not Harrogate's first independent book shop since, I don't know, Emily Bronte signed copies of Wuthering Heights? (I made that up. But she might have done, Haworth would have only been a short horse and cart ride away). Yes, that book shop.

Next thing I know, I've exchanged my hospital gown for her contact details and I step out of my comfort zone to email the owner.  Little do I know that I will be signing copies of my books at the shop's buzzing launch during the week of Harrogate's prestigious Crime Fest in July (with star attraction, the fabulous, Tammy Cohen who was launching the breathtakingly good, They All Fall Down, which I reviewed here).

Funny old world.

Imagined Things, owned by Georgia Duffy, is a gorgeous bookshop at the top of the quaint, Westminster Arcade in Harrogate – yep, very close to Betty's 😊. It's packed with quirky, heavily reading and writing related gifts as well as a great mix of new titles, local authors and beloved favourites of adults and children. Lots of artistically hand-written opinions and summaries accompany books and you can always consult with Georgia - I have yet to find a book in her shop she hasn't read herself. If you can't find your chosen title in store, it can be ordered for next day delivery so you get the whole bookshop experience with the speed of online.

Although it all sounds very exciting to us die-hard traditionalists who dream of physical books shops which don't tap you on the shoulder every time you pick up a paperback to ask whether you wouldn’t prefer to read it for free on Kindle (don't get me started), I wondered what it was really like to be the owner of a bookshop in this paradoxically buoyant but difficult age of publishing. And so I spoke to Georgia about the good – and the bad – which you can read, here.

Oh, and there's a 10% discount for all my blog readers off any book in the shop before Christmas. More here.

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