2 books I read in October 2020

Both the books reviewed in this post were BorrowBox books, which I read on my phone.

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Book coverI chose this book because I also have experience of working in a bookshop. During the timespan covered in the diary, every day The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland was open the author recorded the online orders and whether they were fulfilled, the till takings and a report of customers, staff and their idiosyncracies. His dry sense of humour and discussion of the state of the second-hand book trade in the twenty-teens make this an informative and entertaining book. His fishing trips and preparations for the Wigtown Book Festival as well as visits to people’s houses to buy books, add variety. I enjoyed it.


Book coverThe Muse by Jessie Burton is a bestseller. The first part was so authentic that I wondered whether it was memoir rather than fiction. One disadvantage of reading on BorrowBox is that I have not found a way of flipping to the end to check the author’s notes and other appendices. This is a historical novel set in the 1960s and 1930s. Some of the scenes described are disturbing. The whole novel is well-researched, extremely well-written and absorbing. There are hints about the provenance of one of the characters, which I was pleased to have noticed and guessed correctly. Works of art (and one in particular) form a thread linking the two historical periods. I shall be looking out for Jessie Burton’s earlier novel, The Miniaturist.