My book, My self

Comfort reading

There is nothing like curling up by the fire with a good book is there? Whether it’s with a glass of red wine or a big mug of hot chocolate, there are few things I enjoy more than spending long, quiet hours infront of the fire with my cats and a good book in hand – that is surely what heaven must look like.

So when I come across a book that describes exactly how I feel about books, it’s like a double whammy. I am currently reading Kate Morton’s new book The Distant Hours, which is a huge satisfying tome to spend my Sunday afternoon with for a start, but imagine my delight when I come across paragraphs like this:

“…I finally found myself standing at the open door of a bookshop. It’s natural in times of great perplexity, I think, to seek out the familiar, and the high shelves and long rows of neatly lined-up spines were immensley reassuring. The smell of ink and binding, the dusty motes in beams of strained sunlight, the embrace of warm, tranquil air, I felt I could breathe more easily. I was aware of my pulse slowing to its regular pace and my thoughts stilling their wings.”


Ahhhh. This could be me writing this. Now I know I said that one of my favourite things to do is to curl up infront of a fire with a book, but one of my other favourite things to do is to actually be in a bookshop. I swear, it’s like my own personal therapy; whatever else is going on in my life, whatever stress I am feeling, being in a bookshop is always a magical experience – row upon row of treasures all waiting to be explored. For me, a bookshop is the most powerful medicine no matter what the ailment. It’s like Christmas day every time I enter one.


“…I picked out favourite authors and titles like a teacher taking a roll-call. Bronte – presnet; Dickens – accounted for; Shelley – a number of lovely editions. No need to slide them out of place; just to know that they were there was enough, to brush them lightly with my fingertips.”


Does anyone else feel like this about bookshops? Is there really anything better? Does anything else soothe the soul better than being amongst all those undiscovered gems and familiar friends?



42 thoughts on “My book, My self

  1. 100% absolutely!

    Even being in a library is so much fun, knowing that I could just take all the books home if I wanted. But being let lose in a bookshop with a book budget is the best thing ever! I saved up hard for my birthday and this year that was my birthday treat. It was 3 for 2 on all paperbacks and I spent £100. I never even knew Waterstones had baskets before. What a day it was!


  2. I have a character in the book I’m currently working on whose mother owns a bookshop. He says, “Mum was forever catching me reading when I should have been stocking the shelves, but I never could resist opening a book to see what wonderful words and magical lands lived beneath the cover.”

    I guess I’ll have fun when I’m actually describing him working there! : )


  3. Oh, i too could have wrote that…i love the quietness as i enter a book store,followed by the smells of new books,crisps pages and untouched spines!….its heaven!

    When i read The Thirteenth Tale i loved it so because it was set in mystery and books…i’ll be looking up The Distant Hours this week! 🙂


  4. I actually used to get really anxious in bookstores, because I just wanted to read EVERYTHING and I would realize there would never be enough time to read all I wanted, and it would turn into this terrible existential crisis thing. Luckily that’s gone a way a bit, and I continue to spend much of my free time browsing bookstores 🙂


  5. New to your blog. Enjoyed this post! There are few things as euphoric and comforting to me as browsing in a bookstore. Being surrounded by so many books and book people is always uplifting for me.

    Have you read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield? I’ve seen this novel described as “a book lover’s book” and it is an apt description. Not only is the story and writing good but much of the story takes place in a bookstore and in a home library. You can feel the passion for books come through the writing.

    I will be adding The Distant Hours to my wish list. Thanks!


  6. Yes! Bookstores are very comforting to me, as are books. I love books scattered around a home. i think they add character, imagination, they say “I am a seeker of knowledge both fact and fiction… a traveler of countries unknown if not for within the pages of the stories I read….”



  7. Absolutely! If I’m stressed or had a crap day, I always make sure I got to a bookshop or library just to calm myself down. It’s magical. All my worries seem to disappear as soon as I step inside:)


  8. Yes, book stores–my own guilty pleasure. They are the one place where time stands still and hours go by without my even knowing it. I need to find that book Distant Hours. It sounds wonderful. I did love her other book House at Riverton.


  9. Oh, yes!! I’m a big mug of hot chocolate kind of girl, but why not take that hot chocolate to the bookstore? I could walk around the local independent bookstore here in Florida for hours and enjoy every wonderfully warm and comfortable feeling that it generates for me!


  10. Bookstores are a great comfort — I can always find something I like and I don’t have to worry about whether or not it fits!
    I would love to work at a bookstore, but I’m afraid I would end up owing them money…..

    So The Distant Hours is a good one? I’ve just started reading The Forgotten Garden also by Kate Morton and absolutely love it.


  11. I know exactly what you mean! I am like a kid in a candy shop everytime I am in a bookshop. I especially like the ones that sell second hand books because you are not sure what you can find. It is like going on a treasure hunt and I love that!


  12. Your post and question brings on such a flood of emotion and aspiration that I find myself pretty much overwhelmed and speechless.

    You already know my dream to open Biblio, a bookshop tearoom. I live there in my head every day. Some days I could cry that it’s not real because there’s no place close to it here.

    PS. Have you read A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé? Or the Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee?

    PS. I am sooo jealous of your time to read. I wish I could understand how to be less busy.


  13. Pingback: Comfort and Joy | Bella's Bookshelves

  14. You hit the nail on the head. If ebooks take over, and book stores and libraries become extinct, I’ll open my own to help me keep my sanity.


  15. Oh just that extract makes me want to read that book! I love bookshops – and I probably shouldn’t say this but I prefer Waterstones to second-hand bookshops. Nothing beats the smell of new books!


  16. Brilliant post and yes I feel exactly the same about bookshops it doesnt matter how big or small they are each one is like a treasure trove waiting to be explored, and weirdly since I stopped buying books with my slef imposed ban I weirdly like them even more.

    And, you have saved me sending The Distant Hours to the charity shop, I really wasnt sure it would be my thing and you have sold it to me completely!


  17. Visiting bookshops is definitely something I do for comfort as well. The simple dreaming of one day reading all those books makes my day better. I find myself browsing bookshops a lot in Sweden, but I never really buy anything. I will be glad to get back home so that I can actually buy books when browsing 🙂 Because that is even more comforting!


  18. Bookshops are definitely comforting places to be – the smell the warmth and (my in my preferred state) the clutter.

    Curious to read what you think of The Distant Hours. I read The House at Riverton a few years ago and felt it was a bit of an Atonement rip-off but the passage you included from TDH’s is lovely.


  19. The best thing in the world is to know that when you get older you can look back and know you have passed on the love of books to your daughter. So the best way to spend a morning is – coffee and chat with aforesaid daughter about books and things followed by a long browse in nearest bookshop whilst watching the pile of books in the her arms grow and grow, then the final look of bewilderment knowing she can’t (or daren’t!) buy them all!!! Love Mummy Whisperer x


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