A couple of months ago, the gargantuan Norwich branch of Borders closed down, along with the entire chain. I wasn't happy with this at the time: I had just applied for a job there, it was one of my favourite browsing holes in the city (due to it's sheer size), and books disappearing is always a bad thing.
But a new bookshop opened in the city within weeks. About as far from a like-for-like replacement as you are likely to find, The Book Hive is a small, independent bookshop, in a quirky building, with all sorts of beautiful books, and a complete lack of James Patterson and Danielle Steel.
I went there this morning, armed with a long list (in my head) of books to look out for, after everybody's enthusiastic recommendations (thank you). I almost completely ignored them, at least for now.
I bought Animal Farm, because I've never seen a prettier edition of it, and a novel by UEA Creative Writing MA graduate Toby Litt, Journey Into Space. I also ordered the first Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which the owner causally assured me (while serving me free coffee) would be there by tomorrow morning.
As well as free coffee, I sat on the floor. As well as sitting on the floor, I flicked through a stack of intriguing books that I had no intention of buying. It's definitely my kind of place (but no, they don't have any jobs going.)
It would be unrealistic of me to not use The Book Hive to source the majority of my reading for this blog, when I can afford it. If I have to keep the place in business single-handed, then that is what I shall do.
On a wider note, I love Norwich. I came back here from Uni nearly two years ago, and I keep finding new little places here. It's great to feel connected to a place.
PS fire engines are so big and heavy and completely unlike a physics lesson.