IBW2021: Rachel Dove on bookshops feeling like home

To celebrate Independent Bookshop week Rachel Dove, author of Meet me at Fir Tree Lodge, is here to share how bookshops make her feel like she’s home and how 2020 showed us the importance of them.

Growing up, books were my safe place.

No matter what was happening in my life, I could always find a book that lifted me up, taught me things, taught me about life, love, and the human condition itself. As a child, I could never understand people who didn’t read. Why only live one life, when you could live so many? It seemed to me that books, and the authors who wrote them, were amazing.

The first time I remember going into a bookshop, it felt like home. The books were all there. Bright, vibrant covers, muted sombre tones of literature, pretty children’s books that begged to be picked up and read. I remember thumbing through the shelves, looking at all the words contained in these little paper packages of wonder, and wondering how I could become one of the club, a member of these little creations all sitting on the shelves. I felt like I was home, and that feeling never left me.

Now, being an author myself, and seeing my books on the shelves, and people sharing them, loving them, reaching out to tell me they enjoyed it, it felt like home once more. I get to thumb through the shelves of books, and I can count many of the authors as friends. I get excited by the smell of the books on the shelves, the feel of their shiny pages in my happy hands. Bookshops were deemed as non-essential in the pandemic, but the readers out there proved just how much words speak to us in times of need. Bookshops might be paper, bricks and mortar, but in 2020 we discovered just how much of a beating community heart these wonderful booksellers are. I salute you all, and send you all the good words.

Happy reading everyone, support your local shop of dreams if and when you can!

Read the rest of the IBW2021 series here. Rachel Dove’s latest book Meet me at Fir Tree Lodge is available in your local bookshop or at bookshop.org

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