As I was driving home recently it occurred to me just how rich the beautiful neck of the country I am lucky enough to dwell in is in writers and writerly stuff: Enid Blyton used to live just down the road from here, while in the opposite direction Milton laid low from the plague whilst scribbling the end of Paradise Lost. And close by, a walk I enjoy with my whippets takes us over Whiteleaf Hill, the inspiration for Kevin Crossley-Holland's Tumber Hill in his Arthurian trilogy, and of course ex-Bucks resident Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising is stuffed to bursting with local landmarks. I love it when a book I'm reading is written by a local, and even more when it refers to an area I know, and which I can visit: it creates an additional special link for me. Another fabulous writer who grew up around here was of course, the brilliant Terry Pratchett ... and very close to where I live is the bookshop which is credited as having been the inspiration for his creation of L-space*
Here it is.
Looks pretty deceptive from the outside, doesn't it?
But appearances are deceptive.
|One of my very favouritist shops.|
The Cottage Bookshop at Penn.
Never mind whether it's wet outside ... get through those doors
and you won't care any more whether it's raining outside or not ...
Inside it seems much bigger, and is full of closely packed shelving stacked high with books: in places you have to shift volumes to see what is behind them, or get down on hands and knees to see the ones closest to the floor: in other nooks they stand in piles - and as you wander, mind your head, as some of the ceilings are low.
It is easy to get lost - or severely disoriented at any rate. You won't believe how easy until you visit yourself. And there are no maps to guide you when you step into the interior - although if you are looking for something specific the staff are amazingly good at being able to direct you to the right area.
I always get ridiculously excited, full of anticipation when I'm planning a trip there. I never come away with less than a bulging bag full of books, most of which I never planned to buy - but aren't those unintended purchases and discoveries the best sort of book shopping? But if you visit (and it is well worth visiting, whether to browse or simply to make a pilgrimage in search of a bit of Sir Pterry nostalgia), remember to take your cheque book or a wallet full of cash as they don't take plastic - another of the things I love about it.
* L-space "manifests in our world in those obscure, hidden bookstores that, logic and the laws of physics insist, cannot possibly be as large on the outside as they appear on the inside ..." and there is more ... explained (in so far as L space can be explained) in more detail HERE