Goldsboro Books – a step into the past – IBW 2014

As part of a special indiebookcrawl for IBW14, an important and not to be missed book emporium is the wonderful Goldsboro books in Cecil Court, London. For this is no ordinary book emporium for it is rather like a castle of books tucked away in a medieval alley way in London –

The book emporium that is Goldsboro
The book emporium that is Goldsboro

It is reached by stepping back in time, both literally and figuratively, since the store is located half way down an alley where the hustle and bustle of nearby charring Cross Road seems to well, just disappear.

Passing shop fronts that wouldn’t look out of place in a Charles Dickens scene, the signs hanging outside each one announced what each store contained – shouts of ‘ rare’  ‘ special’ and ‘first editions’ littered the air. If you want to buy history then you have come to the right place. If you want to buy a special piece of literary history then you have definitely come to the right place! 

Goldsboro subjects all lined up standing to attention
Goldsboro subjects all lined up standing to attention

One of the gentlemen to work in such a literary emporium is Harry – not he of the Royal Palace association but the well -known royal literary figure known as Lord Harry of Goldsboro

He walked round the book kingdom and introduced me to all of his subjects one by one. Unlike most royal figures, he knew each one personally and told me of their worth and of their standing in the kingdom. There were a group of book subjects all huddled together in the corner behind a glass case – these were the criminal gang he said and so had to be locked up for their own safety. but if I wanted to meet with them then I could..

the clock tower in Goldsboro book castle
the clock tower in Goldsboro book castle

So I met David Hewson in the House of Dolls (was this a reference to the houses within a royal gaol ? That I did not know) Val McDermid and Iain Gale….

Then I was introduced to what I can only assume as a royal parade – all of the subjects were lined up in readiness to greet me Harry of Goldsboro said. All of them first editions? (first timers I can only assume, you don’t like to ask)


And then I met the subject I had come to see. I handed over the bond, and then I took the hands of Laurel, Dorothy, Jimmy and Vivien and left the Goldsboro castle. Kate Morton and her characters were going on a journey to their new home – that of a special friend and book collector.

New subject with paperback at home on the Royal cushion
New subject with paperback on the Royal cushion – ready to be gifted to a special someone

As the door to times gone by danced its merry jig bringing me back to the present day, I stepped out into the alleyway and almost bumped into a well dressed gentleman ambling by the shop.

He turned towards me and before I had the chance to apologise, he raised his hat and winked. Stunned, I stood motionless between him and the Goldsboro window – for now I was looking into the eyes of Charles Dickens himself. And beside him, another smartly dressed gentleman I recognised as Wilkie Collins.

Mr Collins looked at me as if I was  some sort of curiosity  Moments passed before I realised that this was an experience that no one would believe when I told them later. 

I stuttered in my attempts to ask for a photograph. They looked at me in confusion – photos were around then I was sure – I’ve seen picture of them both after all. But when I took my camera phone from my pocket, Mr Dickens looked aghast.

I did indeed take a picture and after a rather confused Wilkie Collins chatting in horror with Dickens as to what on earth that contraption was’, ‘I Phone dear?’Can’t she talk properly? She’s talking as if she were the phone! Apple? Now I think she’s the one to have take a little landanum – and they talk about me! 

I left them both, bewildered to saunter back along Cecil Court.

Later, back in my rooms, I placed my literary book treasure on the table and took my phone out to see my other unexpected find

but there was no -one there

I swear Dickens and Collins were here! Right here!
I swear Dickens and Collins were here! Right here!

All I got was the street.

And a memorable visit to  the bookish lair that is Goldsboro books  – an experience that I shall never forget


Bookshop booktrail – day 1

Last week was one of the best weeks in book history  – a week where everyone up and down the country was encouraged to support their local indie bookstore and of course to buy books.

Well we don’t do things by halves here at BookTrail towers so we decided to do a mammoth bookshop booktrail to thank all of those lovely indie booksellers who love books

The booktrailer does Booksellers Week 2014

Book day 1 – West End Lane Books, Hampstead

photo (23)

Now this was a lovely first stop. Took the tube and got off in leafy Hampstead. It was a lovely hot day so I was in great need for a book and a little visit to the nearby park to sit and read it.

The lovely and rather famous self titled ‘Humble book serf’ Saskia van Emden works there and she was my personal book personal shopper that day. What fun we had – selecting books, talking about books, taking books off the shelves and admiring the covers. Oh and when the book postman came to visit, there was a level of such excitement that I remembered what it was like to be a child again at Christmas time!

Here I was, with WEL books in my sight….

Aah West End Lane books...
Aah West End Lane books…

WEL books, apart from having one of the most funny and amusing twitter profiles of any bookshop, is full to the brim of great literature. There’s a lovely children’s corner (complete with Penguin who always has a kind word to say)

My new friend
My new friend

A tower of books with limited edition covers…….

the book tower
the book tower

Creaky wooden floorboards as the best bookshops should always have – its adds to the mood and the atmosphere of book browsing

Books and the book tower!
Those perfect book browsing floorboards

I spent some time there – browsing, chatting and wishing I worked there! so what did I buy? Well given my love of location, I was recommended a book set in Hampstead! And it looked so good that I immediately bought it, complete with free WELbooks bookmark – how excited was I?

Book set in Hampstead!
Book set in Hampstead!

I left WEL books and looked for a lovely place to read my new purchase. Spotting some yellow stone steps right in the sun, I parked myself down beside a church looking building and was just about to read when I spotted a sign saying  ‘Library’  – well that was me gone. A lovely quaint library with a lovely local selection and a rather grand entrance and yellow stone steps.


Book haul on day 1? One so far but a good booktrailer has to try and pace themselves hehe

Visit WEL books on line here – 

Book Narnia

The door to Book Narnia
The door to Book Narnia

This has been an amazing week as I finally got to go to Narnia. Well book narnia. I opened the wooden door, stepped in to a world covered in books.

Like Lucy, I was both nervous and excited to find myself in Narnia but I couldn’t wait to discover the land and its people. As soon as I entered the book by the magic doorway, I could sense a change in temperature and a wonderful scent wafting past my nose. It was the smell of old books – the best smell in the world. What visions would I see? What gems would I discover? I couldn’t wait to find out.

Suddenly a vision appeared. It said ' More books this way' I followed it straight away
Suddenly a vision appeared. It said ‘ More books this way’ I followed it straight away

I walked very slowly around the land of books, careful not to step on any little people or creatures that might be living here. I could be Gulliver to them after all. I would have to take care not to knock any books over. Who knows what damage I could do. I turned back in the direction i had come from eager to remember the path I had taken. Luckily I had a half eaten sandwich in my coat pocket which I took out and crumbled up in my hand. I scattered some of the crumbs behind me in an attempt to find my way back again. Well, it had been good enough for Hansel and Gretal I told myself. I then remembered where they had ended up so I told myself that I would keep my eye open for any nasty witch who might want to eat me.

The book tower
The book tower

I stopped in amazement beside a tower of books and held my breath as I heard a voice. Who was that? Dobby suddenly appeared from behind and smiled at me. Dobby asks if he can help the booktrailer. Dobby would like to assist you in showing you some books you might like in book narnia. I said yes I would love Dobby to show me round. He smiled at me nervously. Dobby has never been asked to show  book Narnia to a book trailer before. I smiled at him and asked him to lead the way.

books carpet the stairs
books carpet the stairs

The weather had suddenly changed in book Narnia so there now was a snowy carpet of books covering the floor and the stairs. We had to be careful as we navigated our way around. Watch out for the thriller books said Dobby. Some of them are scary and will jump out at you!

The thrillers - watch out for bad people and nasty surprises! Be Brave!
The thrillers – watch out for bad people and nasty surprises! Be Brave!

The romantic fiction tribe lives here said Dobby. These are special books who love for you to take home and sit them on your knee in front of a roaring fire.

The romantic tribe live here in these hallowed walls
The romantic tribe live here in these hallowed walls

These books will transport you away from Narnia and away to distant lands. You can climb the Magic Faraway Tree, learn languages and meet people like Pippi Langstrump from all over the world.


I thanked him but decided to stay in Narnia for now although we did visit the little mini bookshop in Narnia where the Lilliputians, the oompah loompahs and the hobbits live


The mini version of book narnia
The mini version of book Narnia

It was nearly time for me to leave Narnia but before I did, I managed to collect a few books that I knew would take me on many more journeys once I had left Narnia and was back on the other side of the door.

Apparently I would soon be off to Wimbledon Common, back to school with the World’s Worst Witch and stop off to see Horrid Henry. Dobby said he would teach me some tricks to get my own back if I did see Henry.

I thanked Dobby and followed the trail of breadcrumbs to the door and out of Narnia

I leave Narnia but know that I will be back one day soon
I leave Narnia but know that I will be back one day soon

Back in the real world, I turned and smiled to myself. It looked just like a bookshop from the outside but in fact it was a Narnia of books that I just knew I would be going back to very soon.

I have the secret passageway that will take you to Book Narnia – you can enter it here-  – but careful! you enter at your own risk. You will probably come out with more books that you can carry and the booktrail can not be held responsible for any book emergencies or book accidents. Once inside hours can pass by without your knowledge and you may never get out….

A new addition to my book family

Well, if ever there was a day where I was so overcome with book dizziness that I nearly fainted, this was it. It was the launch day of books are my bag – a genius campaign to highlight not only the good work but the great and invaluable work that local bookshops do for the literary good all over the country.

So, in order to show my support, I got up early and left my literary friends in the house chattering away to one another in the excitement of not knowing which new friend I would be bringing back to live with them that night. They knew that it would more than likely be a multiple delivery – I never do things by halves!

So, taking only one literary friend with me – to be there with me during the waiting and wondering period – before knowing which literary baby would be coming home with me, wrapped up in a brown blanket of paper – well it’s nice to have some support during what can be a testing and challenging time, I made my way towards the delivery room –


The Forum book 'nursery' - where bookish adventures are born
The Forum book ‘nursery’ – where bookish adventures are born


Aaah as I looked through the glass I saw all the newborns waiting for their parents to come and collect them –


The window of opportunity
The window of opportunity


My heart melted when I saw my book looking up at me – the bookseller hadn’t pointed her out yet but I knew as soon as I laid my eyes on her that she was mine.


Getting the new addition to the family nicely settled in
Getting the new addition to the family nicely settled in

Then I had some wonderful cake to welcome all this new addition to the literary world

Bless the little books xx I hope many of their parents came to collect them that day and will continue to go to their nearest place where books are born so that they might find a nice new owner and a nice new home. xx


A thank you to independent bookstores – Forum books, Corbridge, Northumberland

I am a regular to Forum Books so it was with some surprise that I hadn’t written about this lovely little bookshop before.

Forum Books
Forum Books

Its a literary gem in the village of Corbridge in Northumberland and it champions everything that is good about writers and writing.  I loved the local publishing stand dedicated to Myrmidon as I walked in the door and was pleased to overhear an animated discussion between two elderly customers ‘arguing’ over the merits of buying one book over another (they ended up getting both in the end!)

I myself had a lovely chat with the most welcoming bookseller I had met in some time. We chatted about the book I was buying and the event I was interested in and I left with a brown paper bag containing a book and the words, Eat Sleep Read on the sides and thanking me for buying local. It made me smile and the brown paper took me back to how bookshops years ago must have packaged a new purchase.

But why I wanted to mention this bookstore is its writers events. There will be a talk – a kind of tea and biscuits session with Gavin Extence  – he of ‘The Universe versus Alex Woods’ fame and Matt Haig, writer of ‘The Humans’.  I for one can not wait to meet both of them and am currently reading the first book in time for the event. The second I will buy on the day.

Ooh a literary event! I like these
Ooh a literary event! I like these
Reading, laughing  and crying all at once
Reading with a cuppa to hand. Em I seem to be making a habit of this…hehe

I love meeting authors of  books I’ve read or am going to read. I love reading books by authors I may not have come across had it not been for events such as this one. It’s a literary night out and the fact that it us being held in the local tea shop makes it particularly perfect. A cup of coffee, piece of cake and chats with two authors about their books?

The event will be held in the Tea and Tipple cafe. Love it!
The event will be held in the Tea and Tipple cafe. Love it!

Perfect, perfect, perfect

Is this lady looking for a great local bookshop? Turn to your right!!!
Is this lady looking for a great local bookshop? Turn to your right!!!

That’s why it makes me sad to think little literary gems such as Forum books are a dying breed. Independent bookstores are what keeps reading and enjoying books so accessible to many. They offer a personal and local service and provide a haven for book fans such as myself. Together with libraries, they are the unsung heroes of the literary world

So thank you Forum

Thank you independent bookstores

Thank you libraries

I for one will continue to support you and really appreciate what you represent