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.

are both suspended during the pandemic. We hope to start again as soon as it is safe to do so.

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

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Marilynne Robinson

I went to Blackwells yesterday evening for a talk by Marilynne Robinson, one of the very great American writers. She read from her latest book - When I was a Child I Read Books (a collection of essays) - and from a passage towards the end of Gilead. If you haven't already read Gilead I urge you to try it. You have to read it slowly, like poetry. She read it aloud beautifully and then took questions from the audience, talking about history - 'there is a sense in which our view of reality has narrowed' - and our smugness about the past, our feeling that we can do and understand things so much better now - 'we have to get behind this irrational certainty'. One phrase in particular stood out for me, when she said, 'What the culture becomes depends on what every single member of the culture does.' Read her books!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2012

Blooms of Darkness by Aharon Appelfeld has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2012: Appelfeld said, 'Blooms of Darkness is a work of fiction that includes my personal experience during the Second World War. I wanted to explore the darkest places of human behaviour and to show that even there, generosity and love can survive; that humanity and love can overcome cruelty and brutality.'

Blooms of Darkness is loosely based on Appelfeld's own experiences of the Holocaust as a boy, where he escaped from a prison camp. The novel is told from the perspective of 11-year-old Hugo who is taken in by Mariana, a prostitute, to keep him safe as the Second World War rages around them in the ghetto and Jewish people are sent to concentration camps.

Born in 1932 in what is now Western Ukraine, Appelfeld was deported to a labour camp at Transnistria when he was seven years old. He managed to escape, and was picked up by the Red Army in 1944, making his way to Italy and finally reaching Palestine in 1946, aged 14. These formative years have been the focus of his writing for more than 40 years, during which he has produced over 40 books which have been translated into 25 languages. While Appelfeld grew up speaking German he could not bring himself to write in it citing it as 'the language of the murderers'. Instead, he chooses to write in his 'mother language' of Hebrew which he learned to speak aged 14 and which he praises for its succinctness and biblical imagery.

The six shortlisted titles for the 2012 Prize were:
Alice by Judith Hermann, translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo (The Clerkenwell Press)
Blooms of Darkness by Aharon Appelfeld, translated from the Hebrew by Jeffrey M Green (Alma Books)
Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke, translated from the Chinese by Cindy Carter (Corsair)
From the Mouth of the Whale by Sjón, translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb (Telegram Books)
New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani, translated from the Italian by Judith Landry (Dedalus)
The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco, translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon (Harvill Secker)

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is awarded annually to the best work of contemporary fiction in translation. The prize celebrates an exceptional work of fiction by a living author which has been translated into English from any other language and published in the United Kingdom in 2011.

It is interesting to see how different the two translation prize shortlists are: Diego Marani's New Finnish Grammar is the only book to appear on both lists. I haven't read it yet but customers who have say it is excellent. I have just read How I Lost the War and Down the Rabbit Hole, both from the Oxford-Weidenfeld shortlist - quite different but very haunting and beautifully translated.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Oxford-Weidenfeld shortlist

The shortlist for the Oxford-Weidenfeld prize has been announced: this is for book-length literary translations into English from any living European language. The shortlist has been selected by Oxford academics Rebecca Beasley, Ann Jefferson and Freya Johnston, joined by guest judge Marina Warner who is speaking here with Matthew Reynolds on Sunday 27 May with Matthew Reynolds.
  • John Ashbery for Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud (Carcanet)
  • Margaret Jull Costa for Seven Houses in France by Bernardo Atxaga (Harvill Secker)
  • Howard Curtis for How I Lost the War by Filippo Bologna (Pushkin)
  • Rosalind Harvey for Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos (And Other Stories)
  • Judith Landry for New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani (Dedalus)
  • Martin McLaughlin for Into the War by Italo Calvino (Penguin)
The judges said: This year’s entry was both very strong and very numerous, with 102 books being submitted by 44 publishers. Twentieth-century history was a prominent theme, an emphasis which has carried through into our shortlist. Genre fiction, especially crime, was well represented in the entry this year; but there was hardly any drama. Finally, we wish to record our appreciation of the many interesting prefaces and introductions which helped orient our reading of the translations.
The winner will be announced on 7th June at St Anne’s College Oxford. All are welcome to attend this celebration, at which the shortlisted translators will read from their work and Marina Warner will present the prize. The event begins at 6.30pm.