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 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

Monday, 26 June 2017

The shop will shut at 1pm Wednesday 28th June

The bookshop will shut at 1pm on Wednesday 28th June - apologies for the inconvenience. We are open as usual for the rest of the week.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Mini Grey here on 24 June!

Author and illustrator Mini Grey will be at The Woodstock Bookshop to chat to customers and sign copies of her books between 11 and 12 this Saturday morning (24 June).


Saturday is the first day of Independent Booksellers' Week and the inaugural Oxfordshire BookCrawl, a journey round seven Oxfordshire independent bookshops.

Participating shops are:

The Woodstock Bookshop
The Wallingford Bookshop
Mostly Books, Abingdon
Jaffe & Neale, Chipping Norton
Coles Books, Bicester
Books and Ink (Banbury)
The Bell Bookshop (Henley)

What better way to see the county than by going from bookshop to bookshop? There is information about each shop on the website - we are offering 10% discount off all books for the day, and a free proof with every purchase.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Nancy Sandars - a celebration of her life and poems

Nancy Sandars was an extraordinary and very distinguished archaeologist who spent many of her 101 years living with her older sister Betty in the Manor House at Little Tew, where she was born in 1914. She worked in intelligence operations during the war and afterwards studied archaeology specialising in prehistory. There is a fascinating website with details of her life and work.

She published several archaeological works during her lifetime, as well as a translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh for Penguin Classics and a collection of poems. This year a posthumous collection of poems has been published by Agenda - Evening Primroses - for which John Fuller has written a Preface. On 26 June at 8pm in Woodstock Town Hall he will be reading from her poems and leading tributes to her life and work. Entry is free - wine will be served. Please contact the bookshop if you would like to attend.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Sarah Winman at The Woodstock Bookshop

Sarah Winman, author of When God Was a Rabbit, A Year of Marvellous Ways and the forthcoming Tin Man, dropped in to the bookshop, lightening this rainy afternoon with her smile and her friendliness. We discussed events, and she said that she is of the view that so long as there is an equal number of performers to audience the show goes on - so refreshing, when very often I am asked to guarantee over a hundred people per talk or quizzed on how many books we sell at our talks. Read her books - a tonic for these times.

Friday, 28 April 2017

The Explorer - Katherine Rundell

Media of The Explore

We are so lucky to be alive while Katherine Rundell is bringing out her extraordinary children's books. I lay in bed till past midnight last night reading The Explorer. I saved the final few pages till this morning, not wanting the book to end. It is the best children's book I have read since Rooftoppers, and so beautifully written and confident. You feel in very safe hands - this is the work of a writer who knows her craft and who draws you so strongly into her world you can hardly bear to leave but want to start reading all over again. It is not just a 'message' book, but it does have a very strong message - to pay attention to the world and to the people we meet, because attention is life and love. To be brave because we all can do so much more than we think. To face our fears and overcome them. She is totally unafraid of dealing with problems and never talks down to her audience. I look forward to many more unexpected and wonderful novels by Katherine Rundell.

The Explorer comes out in August. (Slightly odd date to publish a major children's book, when many children and parents are away. Perhaps Bloomsbury are banking on parents holidaying in England this year because of the exchange rate.)  

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Independent Bookshop of the Year 2017 - Final

The following bookshops have made it to the final of Independent Bookshop of the Year this year. 

The Chorleywood Bookshop, Chorleywood
Kenilworth Books, Kenilworth
Forum Books, Corbridge
Sarum College Bookshop, Salisbury
Lindum Books, Lincoln
Far From the Madding Crowd, Linlithgow
Tales on Moon Lane, London
Gutter Bookshop, Dublin and Dalkey

Have you been to any of them? I haven't yet but plan to - perhaps a short tour is in order! There is little I enjoy more than looking round other bookshops and seeing how differently they are laid out. 

I was interested to read something recently saying how very hip and retro independent bookshops are now - by doing the same thing for years and years one eventually becomes fashionable again. Everything is all about curating, it seems. I thought I was just running a bookshop...

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Woodstock Poetry Festival 2017 - 10-12 November

The programme for this year's Woodstock Poetry Festival is almost finalised - poets who have agreed to come so far include:

Douglas Dunn, who is reading from The Noise of a Fly, his first collection since the publication of Elegies
George Szirtes
Jim Carruth
Anne Stevenson
Caroline Bird
Keith Jarrett
David Harsent

One or two people have yet to confirm.

It is wonderful that such brilliant poets are happy to support an independent bookshop by participating in our festival and we are very grateful to them.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Choosing books

It is worrying how few parents let their children choose a book. Have parents always been so very controlling? There was a mother in the shop with two small children - a girl and a boy aged about four and six. He was desperate to spend his World Book Day voucher on the Where's Wally book; the little girl clutched Peppa Pig to her tummy. Both children were very upset.
'Mummy, I really love this one.'
'You're too old for Peppa Pig. We've come to choose a reading book.'
A reading book.
It reeks of school, of those reading records where the adult notes the pages a child has read, where reading is something that is marked and assessed but very seldom enjoyed.
It ended better than I thought it might. The children were very well behaved. They were steered away from the books that were no good for them, towards books the mother liked. They left the shop with a little bag each,
I almost cried. The WBD books are free, the vouchers are given to the children not the parents. The idea is that children learn to choose for themselves. Pick the books up, turn them over, flick through them, read them a little. You know, the sort of thing you do when you buy a book. But hardly any of the children who come in with their parents are allowed to have that experience. Everything is monitored. It's surprising we are not raising a race of rebellious lunatics. Perhaps we are!
I think I'm a bit disgruntled because someone just bought the last copy of Grief Works, Julia Samuel's very good new book, and I was reading it between customers.
There is another child in here now, whose mother is discussing the books with her and letting the child really choose. And she does: a Katie Morag book. Her teacher had told them all about Katie Morag, about how the stories are set on a real island. She told her parents all about it. I feel a lot better.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Shortlisted for Independent Bookshop of the Year!

The Woodstock Bookshop has been shortlisted for the third time for this award - such an honour to be on the list. It seems there are only 894 independent bookshops left in the country. No wonder so many people come in and say, 'Ah, a bookshop!' as if they were encountering a snuff shop or something equally antiquated.

There is nothing antiquated about us or any of the other shops on the shortlist - for the full account of the prize and the shortlisted shops see here. It is an honour to be in such company. I have been to many of the shops on the list and they are so good - the LRB bookshop is a particular favourite of mine, I go every time I am in London and envy their space and eat their cakes. My best sort of holiday would be a bookshop crawl.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Upcoming tour by leading Danish poet Pia Tafdrup

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre (http://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/) is delighted and honoured to coordinate a short tour by internationally-acclaimed Danish poet Pia Tafdrup. The tour, entitled Walking over the Water, is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation, and also by the University of Reading and Roehampton Poetry Centre. Pia will visit Reading, Ledbury, and Oxford during her tour, and at each stop will read or be in discussion with a celebrated British poet: Peter Robinson in Reading, Fiona Sampson in Ledbury, and T.S. Eliot Prize-winning Philip Gross in Oxford.

Pia Tafdrup, one of Scandinavia's best-known poets, was born in Copenhagen in 1952. She is a member of the Danish Academy, and has published 17 collections of poetry, two novels, and two plays. Pia received the Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 1999 and the Nordic Prize in 2006 from The Swedish Academy. Her most recent poetry collections translated into English are Queen's Gate (Bloodaxe, 2001), Tarkovsky's Horses & Other Poems (Bloodaxe, 2010) and Salamander Sun & Other Poems (Bloodaxe, 2015). Her latest books published in Denmark are entitled The Taste of Steel and The Smell of Snow.

Pia was the subject of a 2003 documentary film about her work, Thousandborn, directed by Cæcilia Holbek Trier, and she has read from her work in more than 40 countries. She represented Denmark at Poetry Parnassus, the festival of readings, performance and debate that took place during the London 2012 Festival.

Full schedule and ticket details

Wednesday 15 February, Pia Tafdrup reads with Peter Robinson
University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus, HumSS 127
from 6pm; free
More details: peterrobinso@gmail.com

Thursday 16 February, Pia Tafdrup in conversation with Fiona Sampson
The Panelled Room, The Master’s House, Ledbury, HR8 1EA
7-9pm, £5 (on the door)
More details:  http://www.poetry-festival.co.uk

Friday 17 February, Pia Tafdrup reads with Philip Gross
Large Senior Common Room, Oriel College, High Street, Oxford, OX1 4EW
7-8.15pm, £5
To book a ticket, please visit the Brookes Shop: http://shop.brookes.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/faculty-of-humanities-social-sciences/events/pia-tafdrup-and-philip-gross-poetry-reading

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy New Year!

January is getting off to an excellent start. We have some dedicated customers - and Alice Oswald has just won the Costa Poetry Prize!

A very happy new year to you all - thank you for buying your books here and keeping The Woodstock Bookshop alive and well into its ninth year