Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Number Eight Books

This hidden gem of a bookshop can be found nestled in a quiet cobbled street in Wellington. I stumbled across it after having a potter around the nearby charity shops (after all, everyone knows a charity shop is just a vintage shop with much cheaper price tags and a little more rummaging required). I love delving for hidden treasure, and this well read rabbits burrow of a book shop is the perfect place to find it. The books are stacked floor to ceiling along almost every wall inside, and on sunny days there are little bargain shelves spilling over with discounted classics outside. There is one small square of wall, grudgingly bare of books and set up to make space for local artists to exhibit their work. The metaphorical crowning cherry on this literary confection is the book shop owner Perce. Terminally lovely and almost alarmingly chatty for the unprepared daydreaming book-browser; on my first trip to Number Eight he gave me generous discount on my books, treated me to tales of when he spent time volunteering in Somalia, and whipped up some herbal tea. That day I bought a book published in 1905, full of fantastically quaint, slightly strange but wonderfully apt quotes on character and conduct, which is fast becoming my bible for life.

I have since checked out the website [http://www.numbereightbooks.com/] and Number Eight appears to be a bit of a meeting place and a hotbed for gossip. What is clear is that Perce values conversation as highly as literature, which makes Number 8 my kind of shop. Who wants to go to a big shiny, soulless chain store to buy an overpriced book from some bored and underpaid member staff, when you could go to an independent book-shop, grab a complimentary peppermint tea and uncover sometime incredible and unexpected. This book shop embodies everything I love about the Shire and I could not think of a better place to discover my next page-turner.