The Inside Poem

Being Of the Inside has its perks;

between walls we’re unbashed by time and tide

and often being Of the Inside works

to teach us what of us we miss outside. 

With books we elevate above our homes;

through films we scale the mountains to the skies.

We nurse our friendships easy on the phone

and all our houseplants struggle more to die.

We are our biggest critics; we suppose

the strings unplucked, the piano unlearned

means failure on our part, a waste of days

we didn’t need, and through disaster earned.

But what a show of hope in suffering

that in this death, we wanted still to sing.


-Lauren B.


New to the Darwin Room

At the end of last year, we carried out a big move of our rare books room in order to expand the books available to browse and to create a more open and welcoming space, giving the books the respect and care they deserve.

Then, we were overrun by shop renovation efforts, shop closures and more crazy happenings that meant our Darwin room was left on the back burner as our team were kept very busy elsewhere.

So, over the last couple of weeks, we have been making time to sort through some of the waiting stock that has been piling up, and we’ve found over 300 beautiful antiquarian books to add to our shelves.

We thought we’d highlight a few of these here, not only to encourage you to visit, but also to allow those of you who are unable to pay us a visit a chance to enjoy the Darwin room experience.

So find a comfy spot – we recommend an armchair by a window, or a perch in the garden – and grab yourselves a nice cup of tea, while we guide you through our Darwin shelves.

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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 long abandoned for work, socialising and all the other ways we usually spend our time. For us readers, this meant that 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. Continue reading “Literature We Loved in Lockdown”

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.

Continue reading “Browse our catalogue of brand new books!”

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…

Continue reading “What A Queer Thing Fiction Is: Literature and the Direction of the Future”

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.

Continue reading “Our New Shop Guidelines and Social Distancing Measures”