2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 8 books toward her goal of 37 books.

Monday, October 16, 2017

REVIEW for The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

TITLE:                 The Diary of a Bookseller

AUTHOR:           Shaun Bythell

GENRE:              Non fiction -memoir

RATING:            4 Stars

Ultimately this was a hard book to rate. There were some great parts and some that, in my opinion, needed work.

I owned a used bookshop for 5 years and reading this book brought back some memories - most of them excellent. I loved, loved, the diary entries related to the customers and for some reason, bookshops do attract some of the quirkiest people.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Bythell's description of his shop and the books in it. I could actually imagine it all in my eye and he did an amazing job with this. 

It felt as though the book was too short and I could have continued reading endless entries, had he decided to document more of his years in the shop. 

For this part this book definitely gets 5 stars.

However, there were a few things that were not clear in his entries and maybe I am being too picky, but if you are going to note how many online orders you receive and fulfill, then you should also note how much money they brought in. At the end of all of his entries, Bythell notes the amount of money he made for the day, but for some reason, excludes his online sales. I would also like to have seen a total for how much the shop brough in every day versus how much he spent each day buying books. Either put complete information in the entries or put nothing at all.

Having said all of this and the reason I struggled with the rating was the fact that there is absolutely no emotion in these entries - nothing. As a former bookshop owner, I can tell you that there was alot of stuff going on in my store and most of it brought some kind of emotion. The feeling you get when someone brings in a box of books - with that possibility of discovering a treasure. The stories you hear from customers about their lives, the ups and downs financially of owning a business. NONE of this is present in this book and it left a hole for me. The author details some of his personal life in the entries and does so without any emotion, be it with his "girlfriend", his parents, regular customers. It seriously removed the fun for me.

Also, where and how did he manage to do all the activities he did from a financial point of view? especially in the winter months where the shop was bringing in less than $50.00 a day - how do you buy a new van? stay at a hotel? hire several people to work in your shop while you go fishing? buy lots of books for serious bucks? I don't get it and it is absolutely not explained. Yes, I agree that this is not our "business" but if you are going to write this type of book, it needs to make sense and the reader needs to understand how this type of business works.

Overall, this was a good read, but it left me with a lot of questions.

I also loved the irony of how Bythell writes often about shooting a Kindle (yep, literally) obviously despising them - yet his book was available on Kindle!

No comments:

Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the My Time kit by Studio Thaty Borges