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.

The bookshop started and runs Woodstock Poetry Festival, a completely independent festival that has now been running for 8 years.

The Woodstock Literature Society also holds an excellent series of monthly talks - do visit their website for further details.

Twitter: @WoodstockBooks

Monday, 10 December 2012

Philip Pullman on reading

Thank goodness for Philip Pullman! There is something in today's Telegraph saying how he 'criticised teachers for the “painful” way they tore stories apart to try to reveal what they “really mean”. 
'The result is pupils who end up hating the books, he said. Instead of being drilled and quizzed about them, children should be given time to enjoy the stories.
'When you read a book, “you should get magic from it”, he said. “There should be plenty of books and plenty of time, and teachers should leave children alone.
'“Sometimes a book will not make its full impact known to us until 20 or 30 years later”.'
For the full article see here.
I am sure it's the reason most people hate poetry. You read a poem at school, and before you've even had time to look back over it again the teacher is asking what you think it's really 'about'. So the poem can't simply be itself, it has to be about something. It is not a blend of sounds you enjoy for their own sake and gradually come to understand, often at some level that goes beyond mere 'comprehension', but something a bit like one of those highly annoying wooden three-dimensional puzzles - you take it apart piece by piece and all you are left with is a heap of wooden shapes. 
I remember when I was seven we 'did' The Silver Chair at school. CS Lewis was my favourite author at the time, I had read most of the books and was in love with Narnia (I came to The Last Battle a little later and hated it with as much passion as I had loved the other books - I felt I had been duped, along with the Pevensey children - that a land I had loved for itself was now only to be loved because it was an image of the true, everlasting land - I was furious with the author for playing such an underhand trick and never forgave him). Those lessons were a torment - first, the idea that something I loved, a private land or so I had thought, was part of school, which I certainly didn't love. We read the book round the class, in turn, so you had to endure parts where people stumbled through the words and the slowness was almost unbearable. I don't know whether some people discovered the magic of CS Lewis through that book in that class. But I spent the lessons with my ears blocked, furious at the trespass taking place.
Of course, it can sometimes be fun to look at books together. You can think about characters or turns of plot and it can all lead to some interesting discussions. Luckily, books resist interpretations. And not all teachers pull things apart - many encourage children to share the pleasure they experience in reading and don't insist everything should be 'understood'. 

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