Book Review: The Diary Of A Bookseller – Shaun Bythell

synopsis single

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost … In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

What a charming read. A pessimistic bookseller ( Shaun, the author ) reveals what goes down in his bookshop. Not the first person who had this idea for a book but, to be honest, I don´t mind that at all.

`The Diary Of A Bookseller` by author Shaun Bythell is the most charming ( with a less charming bookstore owner ) and charismatic non-fiction/memoir I´ve read this year.

 

Peculiar. Sarcastic. Amusing. Enlightening.

 

Online sales, customer dealings, employee interaction, book sales/trades/purchases,… So much wonderful insight presented in a diary format. This sounds like a book lover´s dream come true. And, it IS a book lover´s dream come true. For everyone else, this is probably the worst book that has ever ben published. The Diary Of A Bookseller

I really enjoyed this book but I would have enjoyed it more had it not been so repetitive at times.

The issue with a 310-page book that is filled with diary entries is: It´s hard to keep them exciting all the time. I admit- I felt a strong urge to skim every other diary entry, but I didn´t. I felt I owed it to the bookshop owner for some reason.

Here´s a guy who´s put so much time and effort into documenting his experiences. His snarky comments, the sarcasm, his voice… I fully appreciated everything. This book deserves attention from a book lover.

After having read this book I´m 100% positive that I never want to be a bookshop owner. Like- Ever. Hats off to Shaun, though. For keeping the bookstore tradition going.


 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I would. If you love the diary format then you´ll love this non-fiction. Also a great read for fans of bookshop owner Bernard Black from the British sitcom Black Books!

Would I reread this book? Probably not. There are definitely parts I´d like to reread sometime but from start to finish? I don´t think I will.


 

 

The Cover – 4 Stars:  A perfect cover for this book. Very fitting.

The Story – 3 Stars:  The book is a memoir. The author graciously granted insight on the monotonous life as a bookseller. If it wasn´t for the dragging entries…

The Character – 4 Stars:   You could feel sorry for Shaun but then again- He chose the bookshop and it looks like the shop has turned him into a snarky yet humorous person. He´d be my friend in real life, I´m sure.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Satisfied.

 

4 stars

 

You can buy `The Diary Of A Bookseller on Amazon.com

 

Book Review: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck – Mark Manson

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For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Out of all the people who usually recommend books to me – It was my brother who pushed me to buy `The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck` by author Mark Manson.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck

Mind you- I wasn´t and still am not on the search for immediate or permanent happiness. I´m good. Things are fine. Everything´s boogy in my neck of the woods. So, the idea of buying a self-help book, knowing I don´t need help is a little pointless, wouldn´t you think?

 

“You don´t have to be on the lookout for happiness to enjoy this book. I guarantee you- You´ll like it even if you don´t need it.”  Is what my brother said.

 

He was wrong. I didn´t end up liking `The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck`. I loved every single thing about this book. I think it´s a brilliant piece of work.

 

Entertaining. Provocative. Funny. Eye-opening. Helpful. 

 

It´s safe to say that this book, with the way it´s written, is not for everyone. I happen to be the type of person who enjoys profanity in books ( lots of profanity ) and can see the beauty in the author´s directness without being offended by his ideas or notions. I believe this is one of the best eye-openers on the market.

 

“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.”

 

From mornings to evenings… From January to December… The fucks I have to give are sparse. The fucks I do give are used wisely, though. This book will talk about this topic, along with ways to free oneself from the cages we locked ourselves in, in an easy to follow way.

Mark Manson talks about how happiness is a problem, discusses self-worth and even reveals his take on failure and success in an understandable way.

My brother was right. You can fully enjoy this book without actually needing all the advice inside. You can sit back, relax and, for once, have fun reading a self-help book ( because most self-help books aren´t entertaining ).


 

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. I can see this book helping many people ( if needed ). A great read even for non-help seekers

Would I reread this book? Absolutely. The language and writing is right up my alley. If there ever was a book for me then this would be it.


 

`The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck` is a non-fiction, philosophy, psychology, self-help/personal development book so I´ll keep the rating simple.

 

5 stars


 

This book is available for purchase at Amazon.com

 

Book Review: The Lady´s Book Of Manners

This advice showing how to become a perfect lady was originally published in London in the 1890s.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

`The Lady´s Book Of Manners` is a book I picked up during my last London vacation. Found stuffed behind other books in a gift shop was this gem on how to become a perfect lady.

I saw it. I had to have it. Because I´m a sucker for all things outdated – Especially outdated women´s etiquette. I mean- I have books on the history of underclothes… Why shouldn´t I want to include this treasure to my already weird collection of things I really don´t need but still need, right? It only makes sense ( for me ).

So, what did I think? What was my first and final thought regarding this inspiring and outdated educational hardcover booklet?

I admit- The cover had me howling with laughter.

 

lady
Oki-Doki.

 

 

Everything on the cover is a nice promise on what a reader will get inside the book.

I don´t have any complaints. I was fascinated by the ridiculous guidelines women followed back in the 1890s. I found many points crack – up – worthy. For example:

  • How to pronounce words properly
  • choosing quality paper for writing letters
  • How to pick a husband
  • How to mask mistakes

A lot of points are covered in the 125 pages.

Basically, this guide has proven that I (!!) would have probably been tarred and feathered, then tied to a stake and burned to death because there is not a perfect lady bone in my body. * sigh * Oh well.

Nonetheless, I had a blast diving into the old school of etiquette. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has a soft spot for vintage etiquette books.

 

Since this isn´t a fiction novel I will skip the four-point analysis and head straight to my rating.

I´m giving this outrageously hilarious and educational read 4 out of 5 stars.

4 stars


 

Note: This book was purchased in the Tower of London gift shop.

Locked In A Book Store

Trust me, I can hardly believe the title myself, but it´s true. I was locked in a book store!

In fact, I just got back from my 3 hour after closing time stay. I actually experienced every book lover´s dream and I´m having a hard time coming to grips with it.

I bet you´re asking yourself how when and why… And I bet you´re wondering if this is even possible. I assure you- It is. And I will give you the long run-down on EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL.

Yesterday, my mother – in – law invited me to join her and her fossil gang for a special night out. My first instinct was to kindly decline her offer ( because I´m trying to reserve hip replacement discussions for birthday parties only ) but she started winking at me in the most odd way ever. I can be very dense at times and not understand body language right away. Her winking and smiles confused the flipping foo foo out of me.

It took my mother – in – law a while before she FINALLY spat out her good news.

“I was gifted a night being locked in a book store. I can take 6 people with me and I have one spot left. Would you like to join us?” 

And all of the sudden… I was desperate to hang out with the fossil gang and listen to their stories of deceased villagers they absolutely hated. Thanks to the fossil  gang I am now fully up to date on who passed away and who they think will be next to see the carrots grow from beneath.

Back to the book store lock up!

Of course, I accepted the invitation. How could I not? What book lover doesn´t want to be alone with hundreds of books after closing hours?!

Let´s stop right here for a moment.

Apparently, I´ve been living a way too secluded life because some time a few years ago, book stores here in Germany started offering book store lock ups. For a certain amount ( I wasn´t able to catch the actual pricing ) one could practically rent a bookstore for 3 hours and spend some quality time there alone, or with a maximum of 6 guests of their choice. I was told that this is super popular.

And on the side, you get a bottle of prosecco and cookies.

I was able to turn down the prosecco but there was no way I was going to ignore the cookies! ( PS: I ate them all ).

I was told to meet the fossil clan at 7 p.m. in front of the next village´s local book store, where we would be let in and locked inside until 10 p.m.

And boy, did I ever make it on time. I´m a punctual person ( as punctual as anyone with kids can be ) but I made a point to be the first one at the book store. The shop owner and I chatted for a bit until the fossil gang arrived. Then it was lock up time.

And after that, the magic began.

Oh. My. Laawd! The feeling! The smell of all the printed books! Being trapped inside a shop with 5 other giggling fossils! An experience I will not forget in a looooong shot.

bookstore1

I spent 3 full hours looking at books, taking my sweet time checking everything out that looked remotely interesting. All while drinking orange juice from a champagne flute ( I´m not a fan of prosecco ). I felt like the queen of bookish county!

My queen of bookish county feeling didn´t last long, though. Three hours might seem like a short time for a book lover but three hours are more than enough.

I know. BLASPHEMY! How can I say that three hours were enough?! I should be tarred and feathered for even typing that. It´s true, though.

While shopping for books is a lovely thing ( and something I can actually do for hours, if I have the time and money to spare ) but there´s a difference between shopping in a small shop with limited books and shopping at a large chain store with a large book selection.

bookstore9

Don´t get me wrong. I do love the cozy flair and intimate atmosphere local book stores give. I love small rooms with hidden corners and nooks. The smell of tea and coffee mixed with the scent of new books. I even love the smiles from the local sales people, because they feel more genuine. Everything is more personal. But the book selection isn´t as large as it would be at a chain store.

What I´m trying to say is: I had troubles finding books I wanted to take home with me.

Not a terrible thing, in my opinion. I don´t always need to run home after a book shopping spree with a car load of books. But 3 hours…. That´s a long time looking for books that aren´t available.

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So, after my excitement faded and my queeny feelings dimmed I decided to take a closer look at the kids section. Because, Christmas is around the corner and I have 2 book rats at home.

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The entire Children´s section

The Children´s books corner is also tiny, but by God… It´s my favorite place in the whole book store! Especially with that old school desk. And the best part of that part of the book store….

bookstore8

There´s a hole. A peephole for kids to see the ” book dragon” that´s being held captive in the basement! We´re talking about a small local book store located in the middle of nowhere and they have a peephole and a dragon. This is a winner for me.
I spent an hour in the Children´s section then moved on to my second favorite part of the book store ( since romance novels don´t have a big shelf in the store )…..

The Cook Book Area.

bookstore5

Spices, wine, cooking oils and cook books. I grabbed Jamie Oliver´s 5 ingredient cook book and just enjoyed life while the fossil gang had a great time in the Thriller aisle with the prosecco.

 

When it was time to move on to the next area I spotted these babies.

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Journals and notebooks. Because it´s not enough to have one addiction. And I fed my journal addiction tonight. * sigh *

 

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As I´ve mentioned before: To spend 3 hours in a tiny book store is more than enough. But all in all: I had a lovely time.

It´s a weird feeling not having to hurry up due to closing hours. It´s also weird not having someone looking over your shoulder or offering help. But it´s an awesome feeling to just act like you´re the queen of bookish county!

Can I recommend being locked up in a book store after closing hours? Yes! I think this is something every book lover should experience at least once in their lifetime. What I would NOT recommend is giving 5 70 year olds access to prosecco.. in a book store. That shit can be dangerous.

Would I do it again? Yes and no. Maybe in a different city and in a different book store. It all depends on how large the romance collection is.

That´s it for today, dear bookish Padawans. I´m now completely and utterly exhausted.

Before I go: Do you have a rent a book store near you? Have you spent time locked up with books before? If so, what was your experience? If not, would you like to? 
Let´s chat!

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

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Review: The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well – Meik Wiking

synopsis 2

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: Hygge.

‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.

Meik Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. He is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.

 

My Thoughts 2

 

One of my most anticipated reads for this month and…. I can´t really say I was disappointed. I found this read to be gripping.

Interesting enough- This book on how the Danish live well was categorized on Goodreads under Self – Help and psychology, yet this book didn´t feel like that at all.

It felt more like a little guide of Denmark, or a guide on how the Danish live. hygge

Which is perfectly fine by me. I love to learn about different cultures and get to know what exactly it is that makes them who they are.

The word that´s focused on here is Hygge. The definition of Hygge is: There isn´t one.Hygge is a word that describes  the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

Good company, family, food and… candles.

Looks like the Danish are obsessed with light. There was no shortage on the mention of candles in this read. Looks like candles are the way to live a cozy life.

Too bad I think candles are dust collectors. I prefer my cozy moments with floodlights ( because I´m as blind as a bat )

Besides the candle parts ( which are almost always mentioned ) I do love the Danish lifestyle.

Just shows that life isn´t always about work and work and.. work.

Life is about taking a step back and appreciating your surroundings. Just ask the Danish people. They obviously have it all worked out. They know how to be content.

As much as I loved this book I did find a few things  that would never work out for me, personally. The 10 inexpensive Hygge Activities, for example:

  1. Bring out the board games. I´m a bad loser. It´s been said that I´ve thrown a board game off a table once because I can´t stand losing. ( that´s only half true. I walk away when I´m losing .  And that one time when the golf driver slipped out of my sweaty hands and flew towards my husband… An accident. ) I´m competetive and can´t lose. Board games are not an option.
  2. TV Night. I used to love TV nights with friends. Now I have friends who go to bed early ( even on the weekends ).
  3. Make a fire. Not a bad idea if someone would mow the lawn beforehand.
  4. Swap Party. NO. No no no. People never want to swap good stuff. That idea just doesn´t work for me at all. I really don´t want my best friend´s self made robot.
  5. Sledding. Another nice idea if there was something to sled on. Like snow. Or a sled. I don´t even have a sled ( because we hardly ever get snow ). I thought this was supposed to be an inexpensive Hygge activity. To sled I´d have to buy one and book a vacation to somewhere where it snows. Too expensive for me.

So, as you can see… I´ll have a hard time doing typical Danish activities.

That part about spending time with friends and family… Listen, I love my friends ( and some of my family ) but I don´t want to see them all the time. Some of them are exhausting AF. They all can destroy my Hygge vibes. Lol.

What I did approve of were the stuff I already include into my daily life.

  • read ( I had to laugh at that one )
  • enjoy a hot beverage and have ceramic ( this one got another laugh )
  • food ( because food is AWESOME )
  • going slow ( because you miss out on so much when moving too fast )
  • Wool sweaters and socks ( And I have the ugliest wool wardrobe, EVER!)

 

All in all I really liked this book. Enough to want to go visit Denmark in the near future.

It´s been mentioned many times before – The Danish people are the happiest in the world. I can believe that after reading this book.

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. It´s a nice book that gives you LOTS of insight on how simple it can be to be happy and feel content with the little things in life. Also, this book gives a taste on what Denmark is about.

Would I re – read this book? Sure. It´s definitely something I´ll take a look at once in a while.

 

The Cover – 5 Stars ( The cover was the first thing I fell in love with. )

The Idea – 5 stars ( Great idea to introduce the perks of Denmark and the people who live there. )

The Writing – 5 stars ( Written by CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking. His study sounds like a lot of fun. His writing has an easy-going, joyous touch.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – On my way to join the Hygge movement.

5 stars

Purchase Link

Amazon.comhygge