Some politics, the art of browsing and where can't you read a book???

Posted by Guy Pringle, 4th July 2011

Dawn Churchill from Belper in Derbyshire  keeps us rolling - do send in you My Books and Other Animals to

'I was so pleased to see that you featured Smoke Portrait by Trilby Kent in your Directory. I met this author and, of course, purchased a signed copy of her book at the Matlock Reader's Day early in the year. The theme of the event was small independent presses, of which Alma, who published Smoke Portrait, is one. They need our support more than ever given that recent cuts to Arts council funding have fallen heavily on those who can afford it least, such as presses and organisations promoting poetry, whilst large organisations based in London such as Covent Garden and the National Theatre are virtually unharmed – which is actually in concord with the rest of the governments cutbacks and taking from those who can afford it least, whilst allowing the richest to award themselves huge bonuses. But enough of politics. The Reader's Day was a wonderful event which opened my eyes (and purse) to books that I rarely get the opportunity to buy – poetry, short stories, local interest books and authors I have not come across before. I am pleased to see that newbooks is supporting works by such authors – including Five Leaves Press who produce the Ten Poems About…. Books.

Also, not meaning to carp on about this – but you could not get the same experience from a kindle. I am sure they have their uses for some people, especially those who use aeroplanes (I don’t!) but to me there are no greater pleasures in life than browsing in bookshops, discovering gems and rarities and attending author events where you can get a physical book signed. I also love choosing my (large) book bag for my holiday. This year it's a camper van trip to Italy. Plenty of travelling time, therefore plenty of reading time.

I know people love their gadgets and wouldn't wish to deny them this pleasure – so long as their pleasure does not encroach on mine  – without bookshops I believe that there would be little point in life.

Yours sincerely,

Dawn Churchill

Ps. In these cash restricted times books are still the most brilliant value, especially those that you can get for free from newbooks!!

Re  The query about where and when people fit reading in – I always have a book with me. I read whilst travelling to and from work, on my breaks, on all other journeys, outdoors on sunny days, on picnics, on mountain tops after a strenuous  walk, on beaches (I am not a beach person) in the evenings when I am not going out anywhere and in bed in the morning, even on occasions in the bathroom! I cannot imagine life without books – they are one of my greatest loves in life and I read 10-12 books   a month – mostly purchased, but a few from the library. If books ever stopped being published, I wouldn’t buy an electronic device – I would just begin at the beginning of my huge collection of books and start reading them again!

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