Shaun Bythell’s Diary of a Bookseller, described by one reviewer as “among the most irascible and amusing bookseller memoirs I’ve read”, is a wry account of life as the owner of Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. Situated in a remote Scottish corner called Wigtown, The Bookshop boasts over a mile of shelving and around 100,000 books. It’s a magnet for eccentrics, both the good and the excruciating, and Bythell writes about them “with wit and affection and occasional shafts of venom” (The Sydney Morning Herald). He also excoriates the forces that jeopardise small businesses like his. He once brutalized a Kindle in his backyard: blasted it with a shotgun (or, as he puts it, “reconfigured its display interface”) and mounted its remains, trophy-style, on the wall of his bookshop with the following inscription: “Amazon Kindle. Shot by Shaun Bythell. 22 August 2014. Near Newton Stewart.”
Alice O’Keefe from the Observer said, “If you had any doubt about the evils of Amazon, this book will lay them to rest…Bythell is a true believer, who makes a passionate case for the importance of books – real, paper-and-board books, yellowed by time and handled, smudged and annotated by generations.”
Come and hear Shaun Bythell talk about books, batty customers, and Kindle extermination, in conversation with Phillippa Duffy.
Sunday 2 Sept, 2.00pm, Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum. Tickets $20 from University Book Shop. (www.unibooks.co.nz)
Presented in association with WORD Christchurch