As you can see below, we are starting Independent Booksellers' Week with a flourish - and on Monday 14 June our main event of the week is the talk by Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue magazine since 1992, who is coming to discuss the Orange shortlist and prizewinner. Alexandra has been one of the judges this year and will tell us something about why and how the shortlist and winning title were chosen from the vast number of books submitted for the prize. Please note that this talk begins at the earlier than usual time of 7pm.
I think the shortlist this year is excellent - I have read most of them and although I sometimes feel weak in the face of the huge number of book awards and prizes each year and slightly sceptical about some of the winners, I think the Orange Prize has a good history of rewarding excellent writers - Marilynne Robinson, Rose Tremain, Kate Grenville, Linda Grant, Anne Michaels, Helen Dunmore, to mention just a few of them.
Martin Amis was speaking at the Hay festival recently, where he complained that only unenjoyable books win awards: "There was a great fashion in the last century, and it's still with us, of the unenjoyable novel. And these are the novels which win prizes, because the committee thinks, 'Well it's not at all enjoyable, and it isn't funny, therefore it must be very serious...It all started with [Samuel] Beckett, I think. It was a kind of reasonable response to the horrors of the 20th century - you know, 'No poetry after Auschwitz'. But I think it's footling and it's a mistake and it's a false lead...You look back at the great writers in the English canon, and the American, and they are all funny...The reason for that is that life is funny. It's horrible, and there are disgusting atrocities et cetera et cetera, but we all know that life is very funny - that's its nature."
Martin Amis has never won a major prize but he has a point - I often find it hard to think of funny books. The Orange prize shortlist - and the longlist, too - if not wildly funny, is certainly enjoyable and I am looking forward to hearing what Alexandra has to say about how on earth the judges choose between books as different as Black Water Rising and The Very Thought of You...
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 Bookshop of the Year in 2009, 2013 and 2017, and listed in the Independent's Top 50 UK Bookshops.
Two monthly book groups take place at the bookshop - a poetry group, initially formed to read collections submitted for the annual T S Eliot Prize and now following a slightly wider brief; and a book group focusing more on fiction. Both are open to everyone but occasionally space is limited - please contact us for details.
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.
WOODSTOCK POETRY FESTIVAL
This year (November 9-11) is the 7th Woodstock Poetry Festival - organised entirely by the bookshop. Full details soon.
The Woodstock Literature Society also holds an excellent series of monthly talks - do visit their website for further details.