Friday, July 25, 2008

All-time bestsellers

At the Sunday Times, Stephen McClarence has a delightful piece on Shire Books:
Sue Ross pushes open an office door and stands back while I take in the wall of words in front of us. Stacked from floor to ceiling is the complete range of Shire books: every edition of every one of the 1,000 or so books that it has published over the past half-century.

In alphabetical order, from The AA to Writing Antiques (about vintage pens and pencils), they pack 80ft of shelf space. Ross, the sales manager for 30 years, pulls out titles at random: Firefighting Equipment; The English Rococo Garden; Cash Carriers in Shops; Duck Decoys; The Victorian Chemist and Druggist; Shell Houses and Grottoes; The Salt Industry. As she says: “Shire publishes books on subjects that no one else would publish books on.”
But these books would be an utter godsend for the research-minded novelist with an interest in Britain's past! Hmmm, the one I am most particularly thinking I would like to read is The Archaeology of Rabbit Warrens! - but just reading through this list is making my mouth water, that is fairly mind-bending...

(In other news, the needle on my internal monitor is very gradually moving from "refractory" towards "moderately tranquil," though it still has some way to go.)

1 comment:

  1. i think this is a wonderful post!
    i collect vintage pens and pencils.
    i think they are beautiful.