Do you have a go-to book in times of need?

We all have them. Bad days: times when something happens that knocks you sideways, and stops you from being able to smile. I’ve read somewhere that without bad days, you’d never fully appreciate the good days, so there’s always a silver lining.

The first thing I do when I’m feeling a little less cheery is reach for my favorite book. You know the type of book that feels like a friend? One you’ve read a million times, and will read over again because it’s almost as comforting as a deep and meaningful with your best friend. Sometimes more comforting, because you don’t have to spill your secrets, or worry about being upset. You can just grab your book, go soak in the tub, and let your troubles float away, while your fictional friends entertain you.

My go-to book at the moment is The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I know what you’re thinking. A story about two teens with cancer isn’t exactly uplifting, but it is. Of course it is.

There’s so many sentences in that book that make me pause, and wonder at the sheer perfection of his writing.

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. And Hazel and Augustus feel like friends.

Bad days come and go, but the love of a good book can make almost anything better.

Do you have a go-to book?

How do you read?

There’s been much discussion in the bookshop of late about the way in which we read.

For instance: Do you use bookmarks, or steadfastly dog-ear your page? I admitted to the girls that I dog-ear each and every time. They said it was odd for a person who sells books to fold the corners of a page because wasn’t I marring an already secondhand book? But you see, I don’t think like that. Books are tangible, magical to me – it’s almost as if they each have a soul, so turning the page down is like communication with the novel itself…Batty, aren’t I?

Another question was: Do you stop reading when the mood strikes or do you always finish religiously at the end of a chapter? Or once you start goodbye eight hours of sleep, there’s no stopping until the book is finished? I think it depends on the book, the genre, and the length. When I read novellas, I like to do so in one sitting. There’s something about the size and style of novellas that leads them to be devoured, almost as if they’re a quick fiction fix that leaves you satisfied. One customer said she must finish on an even numbered page, another said, whenever her eyelids started to droop, it was time to close the book no matter where on the page she was.

Do you read only one book at a time? Or have a few on the go? I’m a multi-reader. I have books at home, purely for night-time reading, and books at the shop. My favorites, I take home, and like old friends, reread them when I need something to perk me up.

Do you buy books based on the cover alone, or subscribe to the notion to never judge a book by its cover? I believe books murmur to a person, whether you know it or not, and that a book selects it’s reader and not the other way around…though I mustn’t tell you all my secrets, or you’ll truly think my dusty little bookshop has warped my mind!

Is there a particular place you read? Only at night in bed? Or in the car waiting at school pick-up? In the garden in Summer under the shade of a Linden tree?

Are there any reading rituals you follow?
Book nook

What was in the package delivered to The Bookshop on the Corner?

Today a package arrived. A box; small, square and wrapped in butcher paper. There was no return address. My name was written in elegant cursive on the front, in what looked to be ink from a calligraphy pen.

The package rustled a little in my hand. It murmured. I blinked twice in the dim light of the bookshop. It shook this time, as if urging me to rip the plain paper off to see what treasure lay beneath.

Once more, I scrutinized the package to try to discern who’d sent it. Maybe there was a note inside?

I walked with quick steps to the back of the bookshop, where the soft afternoon sunlight streamed in, and sat on the chaise.

The butcher paper made a satisfying ‘chhhh‘ as strips fell from my hands to the floor.

The title of the book gleamed, all at once old, but oh so new in my hands. THE BOOK WITHOUT SOUND. A small vibration went from the cover to my fingertips as I gently pried it open. It was inscribed: “She loved this book, and I wanted you to have it. Soon, I will join my glorious Gloria, and our life will be a symphony once more. As ever, Gerald from Chicago.”

I closed the book and wept. For them, for me, for a world without Gloria and Gerald, and all the bookshops that they’d never step into. But then I smiled. As I imagined them together again. And who knows, maybe one day I’d feel a whisper of a breeze on my neck, and know it was them.

I ran my hand lovingly over the cover of The Book Without Sound, and felt the gentle hum of appreciation. There was only one thing for it. I settled back on the chaise, and began to read.

Everyday life in a secondhand bookshop…

I’m somewhat of an introvert. Okay, maybe a lot of an introvert. I wanted to say a tentative hello and introduce myself, well…as much as a shy book lover can, at any rate.

I’m Sarah Smith, and I own The Bookshop on The Corner. It’s a dimly lit, dusty little alcove filled with the most marvelous little treasures, if only you’ll spend some time looking through the precariously stacked piles of books. Most of the books are secondhand, they’ve been well loved. Some have dog-eared pages – bookmarks can be so orderly, and not for all of us. Other books are slightly water damaged – is there anything more joyous than reading a book in a steaming hot bath? You might find a page marked with pen, sections highlighted for later reflection – this is a true measure of a great book.

Myself, well it’s not secret I love books as much as anything or dare I say, anyone. You’ll find me here, in the bookshop, before the sun comes up reading a romance novel. I love the heroine’s journey, I step into the pages with her, and live vicariously. When she struggles, I’m right there with her, my own brow furrowed, my heart beat quickening, as I bravely help her through whatever hurdles life throws her way.

Then there’s the hero. Cowboys, executives, dashing Dukes, rock stars. I love them all. Though, it doesn’t happen instantly. They have to win the heroine’s favor long before I trust them.

I guess I’m doing it again. Living in my fictional world, so I can avoid the real one for a while. In my cozy little shop, I’m happiest. It’s when I have to step outside, I feel slightly vulnerable. Almost as though the real world will be a bland comparison to the world inside my books.

I’m almost thirty, and feel a change is coming. I have to do something, or I fear, life might pass me by. But if you have books, you’re never lonely, are you?

I thought I’d start a blog and show you what everyday life in a secondhand bookshop is like. And if stepping outside my comfort zone works, then I hope I’ll find some like minded people and we can discuss our shared passion – always and forever – reading.

A sneak peek of The Bookshop on the Corner

The Bookshop on the Corner


Snuggled in the cozy bay window of the bookshop, I looked up from my novel as the first golden rays of sunshine brightened the sky. Resting my head against the cool glass, I watched the light spill, as though it had leaked, like the yellows of a watercolor painting. Almost dawn, it would soon be time to switch on, and get organized for another day at The Bookshop on the Corner.

Every day I arrived at work a few hours prior to opening to read in the quiet, before customers would trickle in. I loved these magical mornings, time stolen from slumber, where I’d curl up with a book and get lost inside someone else’s world before dog-earing the page and getting lost in mine. Sure, I could have stayed in bed at home and read, but the bookshop had a dream-like quality about it before dawn that was hard to resist.

I turned back to the inside of the shop to watch shards of muted sunlight settle on piles of books, as if it were slowly waking them. The haphazard stacks seemed straighter, as if they’d decided when I wasn’t looking to neaten themselves up, dust their jackets off, and stand to attention. Maybe a customer would stumble across one of them today, run a hand lovingly across their covers, before selecting a book that caught their attention. Though my theory was books chose us, and not the other way around.
The bookshop was silent, bar a faint hum — were the books muttering to each other about what today would bring? Smiling to myself, I went back to my novel, promising myself just one more chapter.

When I looked up again the sun was high in the sky, and I’d read a much bigger chunk than I’d meant to. Some stories consumed you, they made time stop, your worries float into the ether, and when it came to my reading habits I chose romance over any other genre. The appeal of the happy ever after, the winsome heroine being adored for who she was, and the devastatingly handsome hero with more to him than met the eye tugged at my heart. And I’d read about them all: from dashing dukes, to cocksure cowboys, I never met one I didn’t fall for.

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Welcome to The Bookshop on the Corner…

Have you ever been lost in a book? Buried so deep inside those pages that time stops, and your worries float into the ether? That’s what it feels like when you visit The Bookshop on the Corner, a magical place, where you can while away the day reading in any number of the little alcoves here – that are intended just for you.

Choose a book, or rather, let the book choose you.

There’s no hurry here because there’s no need for it. Take as long as you wish. Let the words dance in front of your eyes while you’re transported to another world, far from our quaint little town: Ashford, Connecticut.

Books are haphazardly piled on the wooden floor, the light is dim, and dust motes float down like fairy dust when you swish your palm over a golden cover.

Borrow a book, or buy one, the only thing that matters is that you love to read. You might discover a town you’ll never travel to, but somehow after seventy-thousand carefully placed words, you’ll become part of the fabric of that place, even though you may never set foot on that glorious exotic land.

Memories come alive here. A few sentences remind you of the time of your life when things were different. When you were a whole other person. You shake your head in wonder, the memories rushing back like a movie reel.

Dog-ear the page like so many others have. Make notes in the margins. I don’t mind. If you love the book it should meld into your life, become part of you, and then others after you, who read the book, and bring it back to life, will see how it touched you, how it moved you. 

When you leave, promise you’ll come back again and visit The Bookshop on The Corner…


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