Way back in the early days of inNorfolk, I wrote a post about a new book shop that had recently appeared in Norwich. I was excited by the prospect and immediately fell in love with the beautiful editions of classics like Jane Eyre and Dracula. And now, more than six years down the line, I think it’s probably time to write about the Book Hive again.
In an age where the likes of Amazon and Waterstones are causing independent book shops to close in their thousands, I’m thrilled that the Book Hive is still open. That’s not least because I buy books for nearly everyone at birthdays/Christmas/Valentine’s Day/retirements… you get the picture.
To me it’s a treasure trove, filled with history, art, design, politics, recipe and children’s books. I end up picking up books I would never have imagined existed (CCCP Cookbook, anyone?) – reading their blurbs and wanting to buy them.
The fiction section upstairs is my favourite part of the shop though; I love reading novels and short stories – escaping into new worlds and exploring them through someone else’s eyes.
Plus, while you’re having a rummage, you can do a spot of people watching – it’s one of the best places in Norwich to watch the world go by. I’m always distracted by the people coming and going on the street below.
I almost always buy something for me, even if I’m buying a gift for someone else, to the point that I have a stack of 12 books to read next to the bed. And very little time in which to read them.
But more than anything, I think there’s something so comforting about being surrounded by books (you won’t find me buying a Kindle anytime soon). So much so, that when I got locked in the Book Hive at lunchtime today (the person running the shop didn’t realise I was there, absorbed as I was by a collection of Dashiell Hammett stories) I was really pleased. The thought of having nowhere to be for the afternoon was delightful – just ploughing through thousands of books would have been the best way to spend a cold Monday afternoon (although I’m not sure my boss would have seen it that way). I was teeny bit disappointed when I was set free!