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

Monday, 10 June 2013

Independent Booksellers' Week, Woodstock (29 June - July 6)

We have three events during Independent Booksellers' Week - a nationwide celebration of what used to be called bookshops but are now often known as 'Indies'...Maybe to make them appear hip and happening and not a dying breed. We are, naturally, very much alive and have arranged three very different events plus a week-long promotion - not only are we holding our first ever sale, but every book you buy here (including sale books) entitles you to enter our draw for a £20 book token. The entries will be put into a hat and the winner will be drawn at Saturday's talk about Kenya's Happy Valley. I am also taking author Natasha Farrant into a school on Friday 5th July to talk about her book After Iris - look out for it, it's perfect for anyone aged 9-90, rather like a children's version of Barbara Trapido's Brother of the More Famous Jack. 

Wednesday 3 July, 7pm, Woodstock Methodist Church - George Monbiot. The environmentalist and author is talking about his most recent book Feral:
'We live, as Monbiot laments, in a world where many of us encounter nature no more closely than when feeding the ducks, and ‘the greatest trial of strength and ingenuity we face is opening a badly designed packet of nuts’... Monbiot believes that an encounter with the wild serves a spiritual need. In rewilding our surroundings we also rewild ourselves...There’s a good case to be made, he says, that a lot of British flora grows the way it does because it is historically adapted to being browsed by the straight-tusked elephant, last seen hereabouts 115,000 years ago. Isn’t that remarkable? He says, somewhat ruefully: ‘I have seen no discussion about the reintroduction of elephant to Europe, though I would like to start one.’ Me too!' - Sam Leith, Spectator

'Many will disagree, perhaps violently, with the basic premise of Feral. But as a passionate polemic, it could not be more rigorously researched, more elegantly delivered, or more timely.' - Philip Hoare, Telegraph

Thursday 4 July, 7pm - James Harpur
James Harpur is making a rare appearance in the UK from his home in West Cork. Winner of the 1995 National Poetry Competition and the 2009 Michael Hartnett Prize, he will be reading from Angels and Harvesters, his fifth Anvil Press collection and a Poetry Society Recommendation.

‘The heavenly saturation of earthly beauties ... produces shimmering results in Harpur’s book.’ Poetry London‘Harpur is always sure of his direction and takes us there in the company of his considerable poetic gifts, commanding our attention all the way. He comprehends the mystic without being mystical.’ Irish Times
‘James Harpur's poetry plays in the spaces between light and darkness, vision and shadow ... there is a deceptive clarity, an almost translucent surface to the poems which belies their complexity and ambition. These are poems in search of - and in response to - the numinous, the sacred, but they never settle for easy pieties or shortcuts.’  PBS

Saturday 6 July, 6pm, Woodstock Methodist Church - Juliet Barnes
Juliet lives in Kenya and is over here to celebrate the launch of her book The Ghosts Of Happy Valley which digs into the sex and scandal of aristocratic colonial Kenya and shows how modern Africa has grown over the remains.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Can a boy read a book by a woman?

I sell a lot of children's books and am always depressed by how the design of book covers seems to promote gender division. The problem is less acute with babies and toddlers - there are many excellent illustrators who appeal equally to both sexes, such as Oliver Jeffers, Quentin Blake, Helen Oxenbury, John Burningham, Mini Grey - to name just a few of the outstanding ones. Perhaps toddlers are seen as unisex, a bit like teletubbies. Along with the unisex books, however, there are pirate covers - black, red, yellow predominate - and princessy covers, where pink rules and there is sometimes even glitter. By the 'young reader' stage, books for 4-8 year olds, most books can be neatly divided into 'boys' - bright colours, cartoony style often featuring monstrous fish or dinosaurs with vast teeth and lots of action, all by male authors - and various shades of lurid pink or pastel for girls, adorned with princesses, fairies or, my least favourite, small animals with very large eyes. The older range, for 7-12, are usually even more divisive. By then, anything aimed at boys is written by a man. Why 'JK' Rowling? 'L' Pichon? Because if they were Joanna and Liz it would affect sales.
What message does this give boys? That in order to preserve their masculinity they must avoid reading something by a woman? That women have nothing of interest to say to them? I am always saddened that the excellent Magyk series by Angie Sage doesn't sell more - and The Magic Thief, by Sarah Prineas - and I'm sure that if they were by 'A.L' Sage and 'S' Prineas there would be more sales. Unisex books for this age group are in fact plentiful - Michael Morpurgo, Liz Pichon, Jeff Kinney. Of those, only Liz uses initials to disguise her sex.
I have one boy and five girls, and as the third child he simply read whatever was lying around. I have a photo of him aged around ten, deeply and happily engrossed in a Jacqueline Wilson. I feel sad when I think of the many excellent books that will rarely be read by boys - and of the many girls who will leave Anthony Horowitz for their brothers. The publishing industry should catch up with the rest of us.