Friday, 30 July 2010

Back in the Borders # 3

Having just seen Rory Bremner award the winner's rosette to a snail in the miscellaneous section of the children's pet competition at the Borders Union Agricultural Show, followed by a sheep shearing demonstration (though not by Bremner), I began to remember the differences between inner city life and the Scottish Borders. But developments in the book business continue here apace. In the two previous blogs I talked about the newish bookshops, Mainstreet and Latimers, which have joined the existing shops The Forest Bookstore (Selkirk) and Talisman Books (Melrose). Now Jedburgh is getting in on the act with the Abbey View Cafe and Bookshop. No website, but the Abbey in Jedburgh is kinda hard to ignore so the attractive Cafe is easy to find, not least because of the wonderful floral decorations outside. The book section comprises one wall of well chosen popular books (I didn't even try selling them Five Leaves' titles) in keeping with the well chosen and popular food. It's not Foyles but a great addition to the town for locals and visitors.
There is an existing Borders Book Festival, which is very big, and which I have criticised elsewhere for its cost and its lack of relationship with the Borders and local bookselling, but I am very pleased to see the programme for the "Books, Borders and Bikes" two day literary festival in Traquair House near Innerleithen, to be held over the weekend of 14-15 August. The theme is "Small Nations, Big Cultures". The event features writers from Palestine, Zimbabwe, Kurdistan and elsewhere. Scottish PEN is involved. I hope it succeeds, as it is a serious and exciting initiative - see I wish I'd known about it earlier.
Back to Nottingham tomorrow...

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