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