Christmas Gift Inspiration

Now that all the Halloween fun is over (did you read our spooky book recs?) we’re full speed ahead toward Christmas. With our Christmas Fayre taking place on the 23rd of this month, the festive season starts early for us at Bookbarn. We’re shopping for decorations, we’re making Christmas playlists, and most importantly, we’re filling up the shop with beautiful cards and gifts.

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Some Christmas Fayre Updates!

It’s the first of November and that means it’s finally the month of our Christmas Fayre!

You can find all of the event details right here.

It really is our favourite event of the year, getting to fill our shop with gifts handmade by talented local craftspeople, and opening our doors to plenty of new and old visitors feels like such a treat.

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The Best Books to Spook You This Halloween

-By Emma Bilsborough, Sales & Marketing Coordinator

Halloween is the time for getting seriously spooked, whether it be exploring haunted houses, watching horror movies, or heading out trick-or-treating with your little ones.

I thought I’d join in the fun and give you a recommendation list guaranteed to make your teeth chatter. So here it is, my favourite thrillers, horrors, mysteries and everything in between.

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“How I Live” by William Pryor

Bookbarn chairman, William Pryor, invites you to get to know him a little better in this week’s blog post.


Team William Pryor May 2013

How I Live

© William Pryor

I was once an early adopter – I loved newness, its burgeoning and excitement; the creative aspect of Brahmic change. And this even with the inevitable stasis and decay that follow. I still cherish the rush of the new but now am immersed, not quite drowned, in the archaic that is second-hand and antiquarian books; an immersion made possible by applying the cutting-edge technology of the internet with the age-old technology of the book.

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Reasons to Visit Your Local Bookshop This Weekend

-by Emma Bilsborough, Sales & Marketing Coordinator

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Tomorrow (Saturday the 5th of October) marks this year’s Bookshop Day celebrations. Since 2013, every year in October, the Books Are My Bag campaign showcases and celebrates the special, wonderful thing that is a bookshop. Whether it’s a high street bookshop, or a bookshop like us (out in the middle of nowhere, an expedition to find), whether they sell new books, old books, or everything in between; there’s nothing quite like a visit to one of these wonderful, mythical, magical places.

We thought we’d take part in the fun by (among other things) putting together this little list of ten reasons why you ought to visit a bookshop this weekend:

1. Booksellers are armed with recommendations.

Being surrounded by books all day, everyday, means that we’re reading all the time. We get first dibs on new books, and get to rediscover old classics, and because of this, we’ll always be ready with recommendations when you ask. Looking for a new thriller to dig into? We got you. Looking for a perfect gift for your bookworm children? We got you. We’ll help you find what you’re looking for, or something you didn’t know you needed.

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2. Bookshops smell good.

It’s no secret that book lovers LOVE the smell of books. Fresh from the printing press they smell glorious, full of wonder and opportunity, and don’t get us started on old books. Our Darwin rare books room smells incredible, that perfect combination of worn leather and old pages, holding so much more than just a story.

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3. You support a local community by doing so.

By visiting your local bookshops, you’re keeping them going so that they can, in turn, provide things for the community around them. At Bookbarn, we provide jobs, work experience, a meeting place, a study area, craft fairs, an outlet for local businesses; by turning up at our shop, you’re helping us to do all of this and more.

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4. You could find a book that you’ll treasure for life.

Amazon can’t provide the experience of being drawn towards a book on a shelf, of feeling that magical pull towards a book that is going to change your life, of standing there devouring the words on the first page, with booksellers and book lovers happily going about their business around you.

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5. Booksellers are passionate about what they do.

Booksellers truly are magical creatures. Mary Ann Shaffer described it perfectly when she said, “Booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one– the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it– along with first dibs on the new books.”

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6. Bookish gifts.

If you’re in need of the perfect gift for a bookish loved one, there’s nowhere better to find one than in a bookshop. Because not only will you find something really special, you could also be introduced to companies like our personal favourite, Literary Emporium, and other local businesses who will be grateful for your support.

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7. You’re supporting the continuation of bookshops.

Bookshops are so incredibly important to our society, and we aren’t just saying that because we are one. We’re saying it because it’s the truth, and by showing up to these places you’re making a difference, you’re keeping the doors open for book lovers young and old who need a place to belong.

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8. There’s no better place to spend a rainy day. 

Let us paint you a picture; you’re out in the rain, it’s cold, it’s windy, you need a place to shelter, and there it is, like a shimmering oasis – the bookshop. You walk in the doors and are hit by warmth and the smell of books. It’s peaceful, there are books stacked on every shelf and every surface. Have we tempted you yet?

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9. Giveaways and Special Events.

Bookshops are known for their events – Harry Potter Nights and Spooky Storytellings and Author signings, and many more. This weekend bookshops across the UK will be celebrating Bookshop Day with events, giveaways and other special things. Just like us – click here to enter our Bookshop Day giveaway! Don’t miss your chance to join in the fun.

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10. You’ll find a whole bunch of people there who love books as much as you do.

And obviously, the best thing about bookshops, above all, is that everyone else in there with you will love books as much as you. The booksellers, the customers, the authors and illustrators doing talks and signings; all of us share the same passion. Books.

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To find out more about the Books are my Bag campaign, head to their website.


Don’t miss our Festive Winter Fayre on the 23rd of November! Event details can be found here

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Banned Books Week

In the words of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, “words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”. We’d like to add to that by saying that words on the pages of books are not only magic, but also powerful, influential, mind-boggling, reality-warping, and government-scaring.

This last week we have been enjoying one of our favourite bookish celebrations, Banned Books Week. This week aims to highlight the censorship, challenge and banning of books across the globe, and to challenge it right back. Recently, we ordered in copies of the utterly brilliant Greta Thunberg’s ‘No One is Too Small to Make a Difference’. They sold out quicker than you can say superhero. Books like these have the power to start revolutions, and people want to read them. Naturally, that means that some people up top would rather they weren’t able to do so.

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Bookbarn’s Festive Winter Fayre

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You may have spotted in our recent social media posts that we have announced this year’s Winter Fayre date!

We’re very excited, as always, to see our cafe filled to the brim with local craftspeople and small businesses doing their thing, selling their lovely products.

Over the last few years, we’ve had so many wonderful businesses join us for the fayre, and we’re hoping for the same again this year!

We will begin taking bookings in this coming week, so please do get in touch with our customer care team to register your interest if you would like a stall this year.

In the meantime, here’s some general information:

The Winter Fayre 2019 will be taking place on Saturday the 23rd of November. We have chosen a Saturday this year in order to run the fayre for a longer time period. The fayre will run from 12pm to 9pm. As previous years, we will host a selection of craftspeople and local businesses, all of whom will be showcasing their wares for our visitors. The shop and Darwin room will be open as usual for book browsing, and the Full Stop Cafe will be serving a menu of takeaway festive food and drink.

We will be sharing the Winter Fayre on our social media in the next week – so keep your eyes peeled!

Here are our contact details:

@: bookbarn@bookbarninternational.com

#: 01761451777

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Favourite Shakespeare Plays Ranked

-by Emma Bilsborough


The end of Summer means the slide into Autumn and Winter, the very best seasons for reading. It also means the beginning of a new school year, during which many students across the UK will study one or more of Shakespeare’s plays. Though sometimes the English Literature curriculum can take all of the magic and mayhem out of the Bard’s brilliant works as you rip them to shreds for essay content, it also introduces Children and young people to his talents. It was at school that I first read the Tempest and Midsummer Night’s Dream, two of my absolute favourite Shakespeare plays.

Shakespeare has given us many a turn of phrase, and has helped us to build the language that we use today. His beautiful words have inspired generations of writers, actors, artists and creative types.

As readers of our blog may already be aware, we have a particular penchant for list making. It’s far too much fun to list our favourites, whether it be characters, authors, genres; we never run out of things to wax lyrical about in the world of literature.

You’ve probably figured out what this is all leading to, but I’ll say it anyway; here comes my list of my top ten favourite Shakespeare plays, which coincidentally are also the only ones I’ve read. Perhaps I ought to add a few to my Autumn reading list.

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New Arrivals!

Every single day we’re overloaded with new books to fill our shelves, whether they be brand new or hundreds of years old, there’s always a lot to choose from.

Today we’re getting the whole team together for a session of sorting, tidying and refilling the shelves, and with books on the brain (as always) we thought we’d share some of our new arrivals to the Shop and Darwin room.

Here’s what you might find if you pay us a visit soon…

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