With the newly implemented Week 0 allowing freshers to explore the campus and surrounding area free of introductory lectures, it would be only fair to discuss the lovely collection of independent bookshops on offer.
Away from the hustle and bustle of large book chains, such as Waterstones and WHSmith, there has been a small increase in independent bookshops making their way across the UK. With twenty-four new shops having opened in the 2017, this gives our avid, university readers a chance to indulge, especially in bookshops surrounding campus.
The Big Comfy Bookshop
One go-to store, which is only a short bus-ride and walk from campus, is The Big Comfy Bookshop. Located in Fargo Village, just outside of Coventry city centre, it is caked full of thousands of second-hand books across all genres. Accompanied by homemade lunch, folk music, and painting nights, it is no surprise it is deemed to be ‘Coventry’s Comfiest Bookshop’.
Owner of The Big Comfy Bookshop, Michael, whose favourite book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy, says that the it is his ‘home away from home’ and that he works behind the scenes and up front to present visitors with superb events.
It also offers membership to a Secret Bookclub, where each month a book is posted to your door, specifically chosen by one of the team
Open seven days a week, from 10.30am to 4.30pm on the weekdays and even longer on the weekends, this shop is suitable for anyone exploring all that Coventry has to offer. And considering it will be Freshers’ Week, it is probably worth noting too that The Big Comfy Bookshop is also a fully-licensed bar.
It also offers membership to a Secret Bookclub, where each month a book is posted to your door, specifically chosen by one of the team. You will then get a chance to chat about it over on their secret Facebook group.
Alongside this independent store, is Gosford Books, which is located inside the large Coventry University campus. Quaint in its appearance, with small, wooden stalls lined up with books outside on sunnier days, it is jam-packed with an eclectic assortment of fiction and non-fiction. It is currently rated a solid 4.5/5 on Tripadvisor, with one user commenting that it is a ‘rare example of a well-stocked bookshop’, and having been in there multiple times myself, I can vouch for that.
Outside of Coventry, and for those willing to trek a slightly longer distance, another interesting bookshop can be found on the Market Place in Warwick. Established in 2004, and known as the town’s only independent bookshop, Warwick Books is a solid feature to Warwick’s high streets.
It is currently run by Mog and Pauline Harris, who took over in April 2015. Friendly and enthusiastic, they are always open to developing the shop further, writing on their website: ‘Do pop in and introduce yourselves, let us know what we can do to develop the shop or our events and we will be really grateful for your continued support.’
Unlike the independent bookshops mentioned above, The Stagey Fox has a niche approach
Events are held at least monthly, including two upcoming, literary talks this September alone. At an affordable price of £5 a ticket, which includes refreshments, authors such as Amanda Reynolds, and the University of Warwick’s own Sarah Moss are just a few names on the 2018 list.
Warwick Books is open Monday to Saturday, 9.00am – 5.00pm, but also has the option to order books online from their fruitful website.
The Stagey Fox
Finally, described on its Twitter page as ‘a cornucopia of theatrical goodies in the heart of England’, Leamington Spa’s The Stagey Foxis a wonderful mixture of theatrical books, cards, and gifts, for readers especially in awe of theatre fiction, playwriting and history.
Unlike the independent bookshops mentioned above, The Stagey Fox has a niche approach, stocked full of works from Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare to The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown. It provides much needed excitement to students and readers, particularly those who enjoy theatre, acting and production.
Currently run by Amanda Laider and Amy Walsh, its website shares that The Stagey Fox was born from a ‘flippant idea the two shared when strolling past an empty retail outlet’. With a joint love for theatre, Amy a working actress and Amanda a previous director for regional theatres and opera companies, it is a perfect place to also find insight and experience.
With so many independent bookshops available around the University of Warwick, Week 0 could be a prime time to explore.