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Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops Reviews

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops

Shaun Bythell

3.80 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Profile Books Ltd
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Publication date: 5 Nov 2020
ISBN: 9781788166584
4 stars out of 5
Sam Leith
11 Nov 2020

"Pantomime misanthropy is tempered with bursts of sweetness in the secondhand bookseller’s latest dispatches from Wigtown"

Shaun Bythell’s dispatches from the Wigtown Bookshop, which he has run for nearly 20 years, read like a knowing riff on the persona of Bernard Black. He started out grousing about his life, pillorying his eccentric staff and venting about his noisome customers on a Facebook page. Then he did the same in his hit Diary of a Bookseller, continued with Confessions of a Bookseller, and here he is – an actual franchise – with a slim little listicle-titled till-point follow-up for the Christmas market. His inner Bernard Black will be heaving a world-weary sigh. The more he parades his contemptus mundi, the more the world loves him.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
5 Nov 2020

"All in all, you can see why staff members sometimes lose their rag"

This new book (what’s known in the trade as a ‘slim volume’) gives far from flattering — though often funny — descriptions of the seven ways in which Bythell’s customers drive him mad. There is the Expert, the person who comes into the shop to impart rather than obtain information. ‘They like to sneer at you for not having heard of an obscure book about the Siberian tree snail.’ The Expert likes long words: ‘It’s as though they’ve dined out and eaten Will Self for a main course.’ Then there is the Aspirational Parent. Bythell’s response to them is simple: ‘I can tell you without the slightest shadow of doubt that four- year-old Tarquin does NOT want to read War And Peace.’

 

 

3 stars out of 5
Fiona Shepherd
4 Nov 2020

"More anecdotes would have coloured the pages"

His postscript on staff features the most vividly drawn characters in this literary sitcom. But the exploration of the genus Bearded Pensioners is the most entertaining chapter of the book, allowing a grumpy middle-aged man to moan about grumpy, moaning old men. Here Bythell breaks out of the confines of the shop to remark on their vehicular proclivities too. He is having fun and it’s infectious – not because it’s fun to mock old people but because his observations, while broad, are actually amusing.