Inspiring Older Readers
Moss Books, Cheltenham
There are some shops which are unbelievably frustrating. Moss Books is a big shop - which has recently got even bigger by expanding upstairs into what had used to be a cyber-cafe. The shop is literally crammed to bursting with books on all subjects - shelves are double stacked and piles of books teeter on the floor - which makes getting to those over-packed shelves so difficult it's impossible to browse with any comfort. And all this is frustrating because it's a shop you instinctively know has some great stuff in it - if you could only find it.
Unlike a lot of shops that are packed with tripe no-one could possibly want, Moss has a lot of very decent stock. You probably wont come across high-end collectibles but you will find some first rate fiction and literature - and not just reading copies but excellent modern first editions. It's all a bit haphazard which can be exciting and even endearing but not when you are having to hack through an undergrowth of books that seem to have no real organisation other than to be generally stacked under generic headings.
Every time I go in I think to myself that this may be the moment when I find that gem I know is in there somewhere. But it never happens. I just give up the uneven struggle. How great would it be if the owner just bit the bullet, weeded out the shelves and disposed of the books no-one is ever going to buy and gave a better showcase to the good stuff? You'd have a formidable shop if that happened.
So this is the frustration - all the parts are there, it just needs someone to put it all together in the right order. Meantime the piles of books just keep growing.