My academic parents both wrote books, there were books everywhere in our house, so it was only natural for them to read books to their four children as we were growing up; I believe that books are an essential part of every household. I loved being read to, but I also loved learning to read. Continue Reading ›
The 1853 Gallery at Salts Mill opened in 1987 just over a year after the textile mill closed and started selling an ever-expanding range of books from 1988. It was renovated by a handful of people including the owner Jonathan Silver, scouring the walls, repainting, restoring and filling it with beautiful furniture, Burmantoftsceramics and, of course, David Hockney’s pictures.
Salts Mill is an intriguing blend of both gallery and retail space; we play beautiful music down there, and keep the space full of vases of lilies. I’m not sure there is anywhere else that carries this off as well as we do. It’s a wonderful building to work in with, I think, the best views of any bookshop in the world, out on to the Moors. It’s hard on your shoes though, with all the stairs and stone floors, basically we work in a castle! Check out February’s bookshop of the month, Salts Mill, Saltaire.
Two works of fiction have had a strong and lasting effect on me: Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, and Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women. While many other books have given me pleasure, intrigued me, provoked my admiration, these two resonated in me in a way that is personal, but at the place where the personal takes you outside yourself and connects you to the world. Continue Reading ›
In my childhood, books had always been the stuff that you spend your weekends with, your holidays and the hours after homework. They came from the public library, where I hoped not to be asked embarrassing questions when I showed up at the loan desk a second time in a day (one load was limited to four books). Books had always been friendly company. They would speak to you, but not speak back to you. They opened up worlds and thoughts, but never appeared assertive or dominating. Continue Reading ›
I still have the first book I ever owned: The Wonderful Tar Baby, adapted from the original Uncle Remus Story by Joel Chandler Harris. My father gave it to me on my sixth birthday. I had just started school and was learning to read. I’d follow the words and startling illustrations, as Dad read it to me. Continue Reading ›
For a child from an extended family that loved both children and books, there is a sensory rhythm built into reading, an indulgence of words, pages that turn with a satisfying swish (or, later, a delicate onionskin crinkle), the voices that go with warm laps. One of my particular childhood favorites was Dorothy Haas’s A Penny for Whiffles. Penny is a girl with copper colored hair, and that she was Penny-like in two senses at once was almost too much of a pleasure. Whiffles is the onomatopoetic pony who, without knowing it, has been searching for Penny all along. His gratifying name, such a pleasure to say, made me want to pet his velvety nose. Continue Reading ›
In this age of booming social media and explosion of information, written works—essays or books—have to compete not only to capture the attention of readers, but, most importantly, to open new vistas of understanding of the unremittingly complex world around us. Continue Reading ›