On Saturday, a new campaign called ‘Books are my bag’ launched all around the nation. It’s the biggest campaign for bookshops ever, and through the collaboration of publishers, bookshops and authors aims to promote bookshops and keep them on the high street.
I absolutely fell in love with the campaign as soon as I heard about it. Bookshops are my favourite type of shop.. actually, one of my favourite places to go at all. You can’t beat that feeling when you walk into one – the smell, the atmosphere, and just the thought that you are surrounded by such incredible works of art.
Books were a huge part of my upbringing. One of my earliest memories is of my Dad saying to me, “Always read the book before the film – that way, you can decide what the characters look like.” Those were the days when it was the Roald Dahl classics that took up by bedtime reading. I’d have a big pile of them by my bed, and just devour them one by one, and then back through them again. I loved imagining what the evil witches looked like, or James and his insect buddies. Or just how wacky Willy Wonka was, and how ugly Mr and Mrs Twit could really be.
Visiting bookshops was the biggest treat for me when I was a little innocent lady. Whenever I would stay with my Nan and Grandad, I would beg them to take me to Waterstones. I loved it. I’d run down that winding stair case and into the colourful, exciting kids section and curl up on the sofas going through all the books, carefully deciding which ones I most wanted.
My best “bookshop memory” however came a little later. As a girl of the “Harry Potter generation”, it has to be when my Dad took me to Waterstones to buy the first three Harry Potter books. I remember turning a corner, and suddenly there they were, lit up on a shelf three times the size of me. Although I’d been reading for years before that, they were the first books that really took me to another world. So that first sight of them is a memory I will never forget.
Even now I’m like an excited child if you take me to a bookshop. I hate the thought of so many bookshops being under threat. Not enough people really appreciate the beauty of a good book, and how much of a form of escapism it can be. If this campaign can raise awareness of this, and get more people shouting about books again, then i’d say that’s a job well done!
If you want to read a bit more about what the campaign is doing, have a look at their website: http://www.booksaremybag.com/ or follow them @booksaremybag.