Literature We Loved in Lockdown

-by Emma Bilsborough, Sales & Marketing Coordinator

As the entire country locked down this Spring for 12 weeks, people left, right and centre were turning to new hobbies, or picking up old ones that had been abandoned for work, socialising and all the other ways we usually spend our time. For us readers, this meant we were finally able to charge through our reading lists, without the weight of FOMO or the lingering guilt of knowing that we should be doing housework, homework, or some other boring but necessary task instead.

We had to read. There were so many hours in the day to fill, and there are only so many times you can do a Zoom quiz before you begin to lose your mind. So books it was. From historical fiction to cookery books, thrillers to romances, there were books in abundance to be read, especially for us lot at the Barn. We have been building up tottering piles of titles for months, picking them out of the endless supply of books that come through our doors each day and taking them home to be added to our selection of TBRs on our bookshelves.

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Browse our catalogue of brand new books!

While this has been a strange year in a lot of ways, we’ve still managed to achieve some very exciting things over the last few months. One of which is our snazzy new catalogue of books, containing excellent discounts on all brand new titles.


Our team put their heads together and chose a selection of titles to include, and you can browse all of these titles on our website now.

We thought we’d highlight a few of our favourites, and give you a little info on placing orders and delivery, etc.

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Reuse | Read | Recycle


At its core, Bookbarn is all about recycling and using resources sustainably. Our cafe advocates eating green and works with local vendors to create their brilliant menu of food, our books live multiple lives; whether they came to us new or secondhand, they often find their way back and make the journey through our warehouse over and over, thanks to our donations and recycling service. We think the cycle doesn’t ever have to end – there’s always a new place for a book after each individual has finished with it, and if it really is on its very last legs, we’ll send it off with our specialist recycling service, to become something altogether new and exciting.

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Bookbarn Big Summer Reading List 2020

-by Emma Bilsborough, Sales & Marketing Coordinator

Every year, around this time, we put together a big ol’ reading list ahead of anticipated holiday reading. You know the kind – you’re lazing about on the beach, everything smells like sun cream and the sea, and you’re thumbing through a (slightly sandy) novel, with no responsibilities on the horizon for at least a few days.

This year, our reading list will be a little different, as our Summer is looking to be a strange one. There’s unlikely to be much beach reading, unless you get imaginative with a sandpit and a paddling pool. So instead, use this list to provide you with something to read in the garden, in front of a sunny window, in a quiet park, or on your lunch break as you hide from your coworkers.

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What A Queer Thing Fiction Is: Literature and the Direction of the Future

-by Lauren Bilsborough, Shop Team

In a 1926 letter to once-lover Vita Sackville-West, literary giant and Bookbarn favourite Virginia Woolf included the observation: “What a queer thing fiction is.” We know full well that the term “queer” has been on quite a journey through the years. Its definition began as ‘strange’ or ‘unusual’, was taken for a derogatory slur against gay people, and is now used as the proud (if slightly controversial) marker of the LGBTQ+ community and popular area of academic study ‘queer theory’. Today, as we approach the end of Pride month and stand at the culmination of those definitions, we’re thinking Ginny Dubs might have been on to something…

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Our New Shop Guidelines and Social Distancing Measures

As a bookish bunch, we aren’t particularly extroverted and sociable in general, so we’re hoping our new guidelines and strict social distancing measures won’t impact your browsing too much. After all, is there anything better than a peaceful, solitary bookshop session?


We will be reopening our bookshop as of the 17th of June, with limited opening hours and the continued closure of our cafe and public toilets. The rug shop will also be reopening from this date, with their own measures in place. Follow their social media for more info.

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Donate Your Old Books to Raise Money for Charity!

We’re very, very excited to finally announce our partnership with SWALLOW Charity!

With our new fundraising initiative, customers will be able to donate their books to us with the intention of raising funds for the brilliant work that SWALLOW do.

SWALLOW is a user-led charity who’s support for teenagers and adults with learning difficulties and disabilities is vital to the community. Find out more about what they do here:new swallow logo

This is the perfect opportunity not only to declutter but also to help SWALLOW at a time when fundraising is most difficult, as a portion of every sale from the donated books will go to SWALLOW.

This is a partnership that has begun during lockdown but we hope will go far into the future.

Simply box up your unwanted books and mark the box with ‘SWALLOW’ on the outside. When the lockdown allows, drop your boxes to us and we’ll take it from there. It’s as simple as that!

This partnership is, we hope, the first of many. We’re on the lookout for local charities that would benefit from this initiative – so please do bring forward any and all suggestions for who we can work with.

Get in touch with us at


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Cosy Crime, Detective Fiction and Thrillers

-by Emma Bilsborough

What are you reading at the moment? How are you getting on with your TBR pile? If you’re anything like I am, you’ll be charging through them, book after book, looking for anything to keep your mind busy in the quiet moments.

I thought I’d pick out some of the most interesting titles from our website each week, just in case you’re in need of another read. While we are able, we are still shipping books to book lovers all over the world. Our warehouse team are working diligently to get orders out, following government guidance on social distancing and protective gear.

This week, I’ve picked a few of our favourites from our website’s Crime & Thriller section.

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