Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Phone box bookshops

BT's Adopt a Kiosk scheme (which costs £1), introduced in 2009,  has given a second life to hundreds of the iconic yet defunct red phone boxes around the UK – from miniature museums and cafes to defibrillators and nightclubs (though the best I've seen is undoubtedly an aquarium) – yet the most popular enterprise seems to be the book shop (or swap shop or library). I can imagine them lasting about a day in London but there are three within a mile of us here in Cornwall, including the brightly-painted one pictured above. With bookshops, libraries and charity shops still shut, these phone boxes are the only place to find books (without using the internet, I mean) at the moment.

Here's my lockdown reading so far:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Absorbing recasting of Thomas Cromwell as the good guy.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Classic haunted house story, made into several films and TV series.

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Apparently the zeitgeist novel of the decade (the last one, presumably), featuring two, erm, Damaged People. Similar in plot and technique to David Nicholl's One Day.

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Wildly imaginative and entertaining novel featuring the devil and his cat coming to Moscow in the 1930s and causing havoc, interspersed with Pontius Pilate's trial of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness by Erich Fromm
Classic text exploring man's tendency to destroy or control life.

Previously on Barnflakes
Don't Just Be Yourself
The top 100 books
Notes on Giles Gilbert Scott
Sex workers' cards Gilbert and George style
London through its charity shops #12: Kingston

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