From Sue: Thanks to Katy for hosting the meeting last night and for suggesting a radical move away from the norm. Yes, we have 2 books to choose from and you can read both or choose which one you fancy! (Or none of course).
The Bookshop that Floated Away by Sarah Henshaw. This is a story about an extraordinary bookshop and everything its owner did to keep it afloat. Business wasn’t always easy so Sarah Henshaw set off for 6 months chugging the length and breadth of the country. Books were bartered for food, accommodation, bathroom facilities and cake. The account follows the ebb and flows of Sarah’s journey as she sought to make her vision of a floating bookshop a reality.
Our Hidden Lives by Simon Garfield. In 1936 the Mass Observation Project was set up in order for ordinary people to record, in diary form, the events of their every day lives. An estimated 1 million pages are now stored at the University of Sussex. An editor at Random House thought there might be a good book to be made from all that wonderful material and Simon Garfield has woven a tapestry of diary entries in the rarely discussed but pivotal period of 1945 to 1948. Five diarists were chosen: B Charles, a terrible snob; Maggie Blunt an astute and lyrical writer; Edie Rutherford who displays fortitude and inspiration; George Taylor with his curmudgeonly view of the world and Herbert Brush who is constantly amusing with his tireless creosoting, brave allotmenteering and furtive desire to eat sausage rolls in the National Gallery.
Sounds like an interesting meeting and nice to have a Brighton connection with the Mass Observation Project one. The museum of Cambridge University Press has their old version of Henshaw’s idea; their booksellers had tricyles with a big trunk at the front into which they loaded all their wares. Bibles, dictionaries, you name it. The tricylces were used to reach remote areas which didn’t have their own bookshops – like the highlands and welsh hills. They must have had thighs like Chris Hoy!
Bedfordshire’s library service has multiple copies of both, although you might need to order from another branch.
Do we have a host for June?