Review of Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell

My rating: 2.7 of 5 stars

I am afraid I have not read any of the author’s other works which are also related as comedic and whity – I did not find this one qualifying as either. Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops is related to us from the bookseller’s perspective. Unfortunately, this never rose above a bit of a cranky rant to me. The tagline of ‘bookshops and the people that love them’ suggested a little bit more of a love story or positivity around a particular and special place – but personally, I didn’t get that from this short read.
I have no reason to doubt that this is a true and genuine reflection of what Blythell has seen and experienced, but it came across as somewhat bitchy, less than clever, and just not my type of ‘humour’. It’s all subjective though and I only speak for my own taste.

It’s hugely anecdotal and attempts to typologise the customers that have crossed the threshold of his own shop – but I would be slightly fearful of doing so myself after reading this. In attempting to be systematic as a narrative device – slotting of patrons into definable character studies – it came across as judgemental and superficial.
I do miss spending time and money in the bookshops I have over time. I also certainly appreciate that there has been a material decline in the fortunes of those who have invested themselves so deeply in running and maintaining this treasured part of our culture. This book came across as a bit of a reaction to this decline and in many instances, someone striking out those who he possibly feels are to blame or certainly lacking empathy for his plight.
I don’t mean to be insensitive and I have a sense that others truly appreciated his whit and contribution – it just didn’t strike a chord with me.

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