Welcome to The Woodstock Bookshop

The shop opened in May 2008 and is on the main road in Woodstock, just next to the bus stop. We can supply most books to order by the next day and have several thousand books in stock: to order books ring or email the shop. We have a large selection of children's books and are happy to advise and recommend. We can also supply second-hand and out-of-print titles. We offer discounts for school orders and for book clubs and have a free local delivery service.

We were on the regional shortlist for Independent Bookseller of the Year in 2008 and 2013, and listed in the recent Independent's Top 50 UK Bookshops.

We hold a series of informal talks and readings throughout the year. If you buy any book at the talk the cost of the ticket will be deducted. Please ring or email to book a place - early booking advisable.

The Woodstock Literature Society and Wootton Village Hall also hold excellent series of monthly talks - do visit their websites for further details.

Twitter: @WoodstockBooks

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Mr Darley's Arabian

Chris McGrath giving a speech this week at the launch celebration in Woodstock Town Hall for Mr Darley's Arabian: High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life - A History of Racing in Twenty-Five Horses.

I didn't think I was interested in horses yet I love this book because it is about so much more than horses - and it is so very well written. It's the story of a bloodline from 1704, the year Thomas Darley sent a colt bought from Bedouin tribesmen near Palmyra by sea back to England. Frankel, the greatest modern racehorse, is descended from this horse as are 95% of all thoroughbreds in the world today.

Mr Darley's Arabian is already gathering glowing reviews - see http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/how-racing-finally-became-respectable/

Monday, 23 May 2016

Adam Sisman talk cancelled

We have had to cancel this talk by Adam Sisman about John le Carre which should have taken place on Tuesday 24th May - I am very sorry if you were intending to come along...

Monday, 16 May 2016

Woodstock Poetry Festival 2016: 11-13 November

The programme is being finalised for the fifth Woodstock Poetry Festival and we will post details as soon as everything finally falls into place.

Poets who have confirmed attendance this year include Gillian Clarke, Liz Lochhead, Carrie Etter, Deryn Rees Jones, Jane Draycott, Jamie McKendrick, Tom Paulin and Bernard O'Donoghue. We also have two groups of local poets and Jenny Lewis is running an open mic session again.

Alice Oswald will be reading in Woodstock in October - date to be confirmed!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Adam Sisman discusses his life of John le Carre

This month our talk is by Adam Sisman who will discuss his recent biography of John le CarrĂ© in Woodstock Methodist Church on Tuesday 24 May at 7pm. Tickets £5 redeemable against a copy of the book, which means you can get the new paperback for only £5!
Advance booking essential from the bookshop 01993 812760 or info@woodstockbookshop.co.uk
Ultimately it's about love ... this is a very emotional book. John le Carre had an utterly heartbreaking childhood ... This is the best biography of 2015 - a rare achievement that invites rereading -- Edward Wilson, Independent
Here are a selection of the universally amazing reviews for the book which was shortlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography 2016 in the US:
Compendious and compelling...Sisman is excellent at the nuts and bolts of writing and of being published...it must be difficult to write the life of a man who is still very much with us, and in the public eye, no matter how much liberty the biographer has been given to tell the story, warts and all. Sisman - a very fine and astute biographer - has done an excellent, not to say exemplary, job under the circumstances ... it is impossible to imagine this Life being bettered -- William Boyd, New Statesman
This is the way to do it. Why this admirably balanced, patiently detailed biography of John le Carre is not on the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction shortlist beats me ... Sisman does full justice to [the] rawness at the heart of le Carre -- David Sexton, Evening Standard
The spy novelist's life is explored and explained with immaculate care and attention to detail Sunday Times
This book is testament to Sisman's skill and perseverance ... With his excellent grasp of the wider history, Sisman is good at anchoring Cornwell in this shadowy environment, as he guides his readers through the models for various characters ... Sisman brings admirable clarity to what could have been a meander in a wilderness of mirrors -- Andrew Lycett, Spectator
Cornwell has admitted that he can no longer separate many of the facts of his life from his lies and fictions. For Sisman this is like a red rag to a bull and you can feel the thrill of the chase throughout his terrific John le Carre, Independent
Sisman pulls it off: this is a well-written and highly readable book which is neither hagiography nor hatchet job ... Within that world he [John le Carre] conveys some of the truths of human nature, endeavour and fallibility. This is a real and rare achievement and in Adam Sisman he has a biographer worthy of it -- Alan Judd, Times Literary Supplement

Absorbing ... An insightful and highly readable portrait of a writer and a man who has often been classified as elusive and enigmatic as his fictional heroes -- Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Saturday, 30 April 2016

8 years old today

I opened the shop eight years ago today - it was a sunny bank holiday Saturday and many people from the town came in. They threw their arms open as they walked in and said, 'Welcome to Woodstock!' and by the end of the day we had a list of customer orders and it felt as if the shop had always been here.

A huge thank you to all the customers, publishers and writers who have supported the shop over the years. The writers have been many - see the list of speakers to the right. And the customers, too, have been many and very loyal. Several have become friends. There has even been a wedding.

Finally, thank you to the people who work here with me, who all do far more than you should.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Margaret Macmillan - History's People

Image result for professor Margaret MacMillan

Margaret Macmillan, Warden of St Antony's College, Oxford, is talking at Woodstock Methodist Church on Tuesday 23 February at 7pm about her latest book, History's People: Personalities and the Past. Tickets £5

'History's People is as entertaining and illuminating a work of popular history as one could possibly wish for' - Prospect

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Book groups

We have two book groups at the shop - a group that discusses nothing but poetry, and one that has occasionally discussed poetry but usually reads fiction. And it seems social connections such as book groups are every bit as good for you and as important to your well being in later life as exercise. Of course - who would doubt it?

The shop book groups are different from most of the book groups I hear about because the members didn't know each other before joining, and we discuss the books rather than each other. That is a generalisation - not all book groups discuss each other. But we really do spend an hour discussing the books - and, in the poetry group, the discussion lasts an hour and a half and I usually have to bring it to an end so everyone can go off and have their supper or they might go on all evening.

The poetry group has been reading a book from the T S Eliot short list each month. So far we have read 40 Sonnets, Citizen, Loop of Jade and Waiting for the Past. We have settled into a pattern of reading aloud the poems we would like to discuss for whatever reason - perhaps we didn't understand it, perhaps we simply loved the sound of it or the ideas it explores. And people share their thoughts and readings and somehow you end the evening feeling you have developed a deeper appreciation of the poet and their work.

There is less reading aloud in the other group, and often more difference of opinion which makes for interesting discussions. It is all very enjoyable and now that I know it's also as good as exercise for my general well being I feel even better about the groups!

Do pop in if you would like to join either group...