On the run up to release of The Bookshop Book on the 2nd October, I'm going to be blogging about a bookshop every day to celebrate wonderful bookshops and booksellers all around the world. (#bookshopaday). Today I want to tell you about:
Liberties Press Bookshop, Dublin
A fab bookshop in Ireland. I spoke to Chris, who works there. :)
Hi Chris! Where can we find you?
We are based in South Dublin near Terenure village’s busy crossroads. ‘Liberties Upstairs’ nestles between Cronin’s accountants and O’Toole’s butchers with Perceptions hairdressers below us. Look out for the ‘A’ board featuring our latest titles outside the street door. Just walk up the stairs and we’re straight ahead!
Describe your bookshop in three words.
Niche, bijou, artn‘crafty.
What's going to catch our eye as soon as you walk through the door?
As you walk through the door, you will immediately spot Mary Kenny’s be-hatted cover portrait in the middle of the biography section. To the left and behind, you would catch a splash of red our display table (Becoming Mum by Kate Carbery) and over to your right side you’ll see the gold of our wonderful Patrick Scott book which is complemented by the gold threads in Áine O’Connor’s multimedia pieces.
What's the best event you've ever done?
That’s a bit tricky, but I would have to plump for our poetry event which combined the Dublin launch of Moyra Donaldson’s The Goose Tree with readings from her work and from Gabriel Fitzmaurice who launched Moyra’s book. It was lovely to have two such talented poets reading at one event. We had a very sociable evening and nobody seemed to want to go home afterwards (though nobody stayed long enough to wash-up).
And your favourite customer moment?
I’m going to choose a moment from the event that I mentioned above. One of the attendees came early and bought a couple of books but said that he had to leave early to get to the theatre. Later in the evening I asked him what time he had to leave and he said ‘Oh, I can go to the theatre anytime, but this is not to be missed’. You couldn’t get a better complement.
Recommend a book you've been loving recently.
This is cheating a little here but I’m offering two books. A Liberties Press recommendation is Daniel Seery’s A Model Partner about Tom, who comes up with an imaginative way to find love and is sad and funny in equal measure. My other choice is one of my recent second hand book bargains, The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain (Gallic Books). I was caught by the strap line that asked ‘could a felt hat have the power to change lives?’ The hat in question belonged to François Mitterand and you’ll have to read the book to find out.
Why did you become a bookseller?
The literal answer is that one day several years ago, I was browsing with my sister in a new bookshop in Birmingham. As we were wandering around we eavesdropped on a couple of customer enquiries to which the assistant didn’t have answers. I whispered to my sister that I could have answered those, to which she smartly replied ‘Well, write in for a job then’. So I did and the rest as they say is history.
Why are you still a bookseller?
I’m still bookselling; though now in Dublin and not Birmingham because I can’t imagine doing a job that doesn’t involve working with books. And I quite like people too. I’ll know when it’s time to quit when I can walk into another bookshop and not feel the urge to straighten the shelves, put a book back in the correct section, or to answer overheard customer queries.
If you could open a bookshop anywhere else in the world, where would you open one and why?
After pondering the question of location, I think I would have to say York; to be specific I would like to have a bookshop in the Shambles. It’s been a while since I was in York so I don’t know if there is one in that historic street at the moment.
Sum up what bookshops mean to you.
Bookshops mean access to freedom, ideas and thoughts. I can get to places that I’d never otherwise visit and meet people from many places and centuries that I would never meet except between the pages of a book.