Something wonderful I’ve gained from my addiction to Twitter is the awareness of things such as “Hashtag Book Shop Day” with Books Are My Bag; what a wonderful excuse to visit book shops, splurge on books, and maybe even have a cheeky cocktail.
So that’s exactly what Book Wife (Rebecca Thorne-Jones) and I did!
We decided a book shop crawl around Swansea was in order (the nearest place that contains more than one bookshop). And a lunch with cocktails was obviously just the thing to celebrate our genius plan.
Our first stop, being conveniently located in between the train station and the pub, was Castle St Oxfam; an Oxfam charity shop containing just books (ok and some records in the back). They have a superb selection of preloved books; I found Catrin Dafydd’s Random Deaths and Custard, Bram Stoker’s Dracula ready for this month’s book club (and Victober! Two birds one stone etc), and The Time Team Guide to the Archaeological Sites of Britain and Ireland. Other excellent books spotted included Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, plenty of classics, a complete set of The Chronicles of Narnia, and Bec picked up a copy of Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter.
If you’re ever in Swansea, do pop in!
By this time, we felt lunch was in order. Bec had suggested Pitcher and Piano in our hastily googled plans of the night before, based on the fact they had a “2 for 1” deal on cocktails. As it turned out, they also had a “50% off burgers” deal on, so we were feeling rather pleased with our choice of lunchtime venue.
We were the only ones there.
Which was bizarre, as it was fantastic. Long Island Iced Teas (Cosmopolitans for Bec), one of the best burgers I’ve had in some time, and The Bloodhound Gang (among others) playing through the sound system.
The cocktails went straight to our heads where they mingled with the buzz already created from a day away from the children, surrounded by books. We prepared for the next stop on our crawl: Waterstones. What could possibly go wrong?
Firstly, how bloody sexy is Waterstones Swansea?!
That little voice in my head that had previously conceded that I could treat myself to a book from Waterstones was now propping itself against my snoozing conscious, Long Island iced tea in hand, insisting there was nothing wrong with buying myself two books. So I merrily made my way to the fantasy section and, failing to see The Copper Promise, picked up Jen Williams’ The Ninth Rain and Mark Lawrence’s The King of Thorns.
With these securely clutched to my breast, I followed Bec around, admiring their children’s section (they have an ickle table and chairs and everything) and playing “spotted in the wild”…
It was a wonderful sensation, to be able to truly appreciate a book shop at your own leisure; usually I am limited to the children’s section, and we leave dragging our two year old kicking and screaming away from the Gruffalo toys.
To celebrate Book Shop Day, Waterstones were giving away an exclusive Welsh “Books are my Bag” tote bag. They also had numerous freebies dotted around the place which I loved, such as Winnie the Pooh postcards and Moomin bookmarks!
For the third stop on our Book Shop Crawl, we needed to catch a bus down to the Mumbles. It’s been Some Time since I had to catch a bus anywhere; this was a ridiculously confusing matter for the two of us, but we managed it!
The independent book shop Cover to Cover is in a part of the Mumbles that husband and I generally neglect when we visit; we tend to park by the front, get an icecream in Joe’s, admire the view, then bugger off again.
We’ve always completely disregarded the street heading uphill and inland that is teeming with wonderful little shops like this one. It’s right at the top of the hill, but the walk up is worth it. I picked up a book perfect for my research, Women in Welsh History, for the absolute bargain of £4.
Although quite a small shop, it was perfectly formed; lovely selection of new releases (discovered that Murakami has a new collection out!), fiction, gifts, and a fantastic children’s section. Whilst we were there, a (obviously) more regular customer was chatting away to the proprietor about ordering in a particular series of children’s books her son had enjoyed; it was clear they’re an accommodating store. And they have events!
And so two weary bookworms made their way back to the train station (with a brief detour to the huge clearance section in WHSmiths). Footsore, aching shoulders (books are heavy) but wonderfully happy with our day of book shopping.
Here’s to our next book adventure!