Hay-on-Wye Part 4: A Few Passing Observations

Visiting a town of bookstores as a group could be a frustrating experience especially if one person, me, wanted to stay longer in a particular store than the others, meaning the rest of my family.  To avoid irritation, I gave everyone a list of different books to search for and we went our separate ways.  To close my Hay-on-Wye mini-series (here are the links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), here’s a snapshot of some of the bookstores we dashed into:

My Favorite Bookseller Quote at Addyman Books – Looking through their orange wall of paperback Penguins, I overheard the bookseller complaining about the bakery charging £3 for a bun (meaning a roll in American) that was advertised as ‘baked with love.’  She said “would you pay more for a book if I posted signs saying ‘shelved with love?’”  At which point her partner indicated a group of books and said to the customers in the store  “watch out for that bit over there, it was shelved in anger.”  We all busted up laughing.  By the way, the store has an excellent selection of sport books (cricket, football, rugby, and equestrian, not the usual USA fare) and the arts (pictorial, film, TV, radio, classical music).

Favorite Bookstore Location – Passageway Books is exactly that, an alley way between two buildings with a locking gate on each end and bookshelves lining both sides of the little snickelway.  The outside walls of the two buildings are the ‘inside’ walls of this little store.  There is barely enough room for two people to pass each other.  The bookseller stands outside chatting all day, there really isn’t much room inside.  Customers are encouraged to buy in bulk, £1.50 for one book or £10 for ten books.  There was a vast variety of choices, anything from Danielle Steel to biographies of historical figures.

Nice or Not? Back in the car we all talked about the different stores and three of us mentioned how unfriendly one bookseller was, he wouldn’t even respond to my hello when I walked in the store.  We quickly realized we were all talking about The Hay Castle Bookshop.  But, my son chimed in and said the person he talked to took his list, led him all over the store, and found every book.  Since I’ve been reading those books the last few weeks, I can attest to the fact that she chose well.  We chalked it up to one bookseller having a bad day.  In spite of that, we all bought books there.  Keith came away with his literary treasure, an old American volume of Buffalo Bill campfire tales.  It’s big and heavy, but he happily lugged it all over the country.

Kelsey Found Her English Prize – Kelsey hunted for books and realized there wasn’t the selection of YA books in Hay-on-Wye that she’s used to seeing.  She did discover a beautiful book binder, The Black Mountains Bindery.  She came away with one book, a journal lined out and imprinted with her name in 22-carat gold imprint.  It’s beautiful and her own secret book-in-the-making.

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