Why We Love Sam Read Booksellers, Grasmere IBW2020

Posted on June 25, 2020

This week it’s a huge pleasure to put lockdown woes to one side and celebrate some of our favourite things.

It is Independent Bookshop Week, and we are so excited that it’s coinciding with the reopening of many bookshops in England – and soon to be followed by bookshops around other parts of the UK. We can’t wait to visit more of them! On top of that, it’s lovely to celebrate in particular a favourite independent bookshop we’ve twinned with for this week: Sam Read, in Grasmere, Cumbria. If you’re in the area we highly recommend you stop by (make sure to check their opening hours first). Until then, they are very much open for delivery. Check out their online shop here.

Our founder Sara has a lifelong connection with the shop:

“I’m one of an enormous number of lifelong devotees of Sam Read’s. I visited the shop regularly as a child and have continued to love it ever since. As a child, my ambition was to work there when I grew up… And in an ever-changing world, this shop remains reassuringly welcoming as a sanctuary for book lovers of all ages, housed in a classic Lakeland stone building in a truly beautiful setting. It’s a place where the magic of books comes alive.”

“On every visit, you can be guaranteed to find a stimulating and varied selection of books, friendly and knowledgeable service, and tailored recommendations in any subject area. You can find maps and guides to the area and its history and wildlife, or popular activities like hill walking and cycling. They’ll have nature writing and armchair travel. If you’re visiting the Lakes and it’s a rainy week, there are plenty of top fiction choices to keep you in reading during your stay and well beyond, and all the latest and greatest reads to keep the kids amused. All those, and classics too.

There are also books you may not find so easily elsewhere: local authors and books relating to Grasmere and Cumbria. Of course, there are internationally renowned local authors, too. Starting with the Wordsworths and the Romantic Poets, and including perennial favourites Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome and Alfred Wainwright, today’s selection includes James Rebanks, who writes about his life as a hill farmer and some of the issues affecting farming and wildlife. And there is Sarah Hall, who grew up in Cumbria and is the author of prize-winning novels set nearby, including one with a Booker prize nomination. Her first novel, Haweswater, is a personal favourite of mine: it tells the story of the community in Mardale, in a valley that was flooded in the 1920s to create a reservoir. It was launched at Sam Read’s in 2002.”


View from Sam Read’s doorstep

So whether it’s a rainy day in Grasmere or you’re just down from a day on the fells, there can be no better way to spend your time. Oh, yes: and please buy a book or two while you’re there. #ChooseBookshops


If you’re craving that cosy bookshop atmosphere but are stuck at home then take a look at our Indie Bookshop Playlist, curated in collaboration with Sam Read.