Bookshops in Manchester
Uncategorized

Independent Bookshops in Central Manchester

Well, ladies and gents, this is going to be a bit of a change from our usual ‘independent bookshops’ posts because to be honest, I was a little disappointed – a first for me!

I’m as surprised as you are, possibly more so because I actually braved Storm Dennis for this. I had a few bookshops lined up in central Manchester, namely Chapter One, Manchester Book Buyers, and Paramount Books. I did stumble upon a couple of others, but we’ll talk about those later. Onwards.

Chapter One

This is going to be quick, kids. While this place used to be a bookshop and cafe, it seems they’ve retained the bookshop theme without actually selling books. So this bookshop…is not a bookshop.

It’s weird, and pretty confusing given that their website, Instagram, and Google listing suggest that they do sell books. It literally says ‘independent bookshop’ on their bio.

Call me old-fashioned, but I just can’t come to terms with the fact that books are purely decorative at this place now. That being said, it really is a pretty cafe (great for the ‘gram?) and they do a cracking soy cappuccino. This seems like a lovely place to get work done or study for your next exam – I just think they need to change their name/Google listing to avoid this exact situation.

Manchester Book Buyers

I was excited about this right until I walked into the little nook nestled quite inconspicuously on bustling Church Street. I’m the kind of person who disapproved of dog-earing pages and can’t bear to break spines, so you can imagine how jarring it was when I saw mountains of books piled on top of each other with little to no care.

Covers were bent backwards over themselves, pages squashed into accordion look-a-likes under the weight of their fellow sufferers, and it was near impossible to actually find anything in the mess of it all. Not for me personally, but if you’re in the market for a cheap read and don’t mind the wear and tear, this’ll suit you just fine.

Paramount Books

This place was very promising at first glance, and I really liked the quirky fact that you could hear music playing from here before you even arrived. There are a few bits about this place that left me less than interested in actually buying a book, though.

The proprietor seems to have an issue with mobile phones. I spotted no fewer than five signs ordering customers to SWITCH OFF YOUR PHONE! With no reason whatsoever disclosed. Like…why? Is this an aeroplane? Will I get kicked out? Was it made illegal in the 10 seconds before I got here? Not a great first impression, primarily because I don’t like being told what to do.

Magma

I stumbled across Magma while having a bit of a wander. It’s one of those artsy-looking bookshops that have quite a limited range of actual books, a huge range of niche magazines, and zines that make me ask the question “who on earth is buying these?”

The section I found particularly alienating here was the zine section – which I’m normally pretty excited about. One of the zines for sale was a collection of screenshots from the Simpsons, printed on coloured paper, and stapled together. No writing. No real substance. Just laziness masquerading as something so profoundly avant-garde that us plebs can’t possibly ‘get’ it.

Anywhere Out of the World

This one was promising, but my excitement faded quickly. There was a single wall of shelves – with a decent range of decently priced second-hand books on them. A table with some ‘reads of the month’ laid out. A decorative old cash register. And that’s about it.

Nowhere to sit in this rather dimly-lit space. No clear indication of who actually works there and who’s come to say ‘hi’ to their friend at work. No acknowledgement from staff when you walk in as a now-befuddled customer. Just…odd. But this one definitely has a lot of potential as a bookshop – it just needs warming up a little, and better customer experience.

The John Rylands Library

Shout-out to my friend Nicola for letting me know this place exists. This made up for the strange disappointment I felt after visiting all the independent shops in a big way. Before you even enter the building, you’ll notice its absolutely stunning architecture; it’s like something out of your favourite Harry Potter book (mine’s Prisoner of Azkaban).

The John Rylands Library is a neo-Gothic beauty that was founded in 1900 by Enriqueta Augustina Rylands – get this – in memory of her late husband. Fast forward to today, and the building now forms part of the University of Manchester and regularly holds exhibitions showcasing everything from illuminated manuscripts to a piece of papyrus said to be the earliest existing copy of the Old Testament.

The library is free to enter, and a real pleasure to walk through and experience as a bookworm. A definite must-see if you’re in central Manchester.


Was I just having an off-day with the bookshops? Are there any I missed that would have made my day? What about bookshops in Greater Manchester? Hit me up in the comments, guys!

-Kelly

Standard
sunshine blogger
Uncategorized, Writing

Sunshine Blogger Award & Nominations

lifestyle blogger

Well hello there, you. I know I’ve been relatively quiet recently (life stuff) and this blog post has been a long-ish time coming – Claire (From Claire’s POV) was sweet enough to nominate me for a Sunshine Blogger award! Thank you. I didn’t know this was a thing, but here are the ‘rules’:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer
  • Notify your nominees and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your post

So here are the answers – better late than never.

1. What inspired you to blog?

I work as a writer full-time and do some freelance work too, so I felt like I needed a space of my own where I could write the things I wanted to write and be my (very) opinionated self online. Did I mention I have a lot of opinions? I do. I also do gifs and memes.

2. If you had to stick to one make-up brand for the rest of life, which would it be and why?

Well this is harder than expected. I think I’ll have to say Kiko! I tried them for the first time in March and I’ve been converted.

3. Which is your favourite blog post?

My own? Hmm. I think I’ll go for the one where I wrote about 10 Things Women in Malta are Sick of Hearing, because f*ck the patriarchy.

4. If you had to be one person – dead or alive – who would it be and what would be the first thing you did as this person?

Is it bad if I said I’d just be myself? It’s comfy in here. Alternately, I wouldn’t mind being Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and slaying audiences with an incredible TED talk.

5. What’s your favourite place in the whole world?

Tough one – tonight I’ll say the Waterstones in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

6. If you had to travel to the past in a particular decade, which would it be and why?

Tudor England. I have no real reason why other than the fact that the dresses look fabulous and I find the history of that period particularly interesting.

7. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Give less of a damn about what people might think because it doesn’t matter. Also ditch the fringe.

8. Name three people you look up to.

Meryl Streep, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood.

9. What is the one thing you never leave home without?

A book.

10. What is your all-time favourite song?

Hotel California by The Eagles.

11. What advice would you give to beginner bloggers?

Don’t worry too much about what your friends will think or do or comment when you share your blog. Just get your blog up and running and produce content that makes you happy.

My Nominations

Christa Boffa, Claire’s Chronicles, Dyna, Kezzie’s Corner, What Sarah Writes, Zeza’s Things, Maltagram, Diva Inside, Splashes of Looks, Grazielle Camilleri, Blue Jeans and Red Lipstick.

My Questions

  1. Why did you start blogging/Youtubing?
  2. What has been your proudest blog-moment so far?
  3. What’s your writing/video process like?
  4. How do you unwind after a stressful day?
  5. What are 3 things you could never leave home without?
  6. What’s your favourite book (or film if you’re not a reader) of all time?
  7. What’s the one song you’ll never get tired of hearing?
  8. Where’s the last place you travelled to?
  9. What’s your favourite season and why?
  10. What’s your favourite quote?
  11. What always cheers you up?

sunshine blogger

That’s it for now!

-Kelly

Standard
Uncategorized

Academia, Love Me Back

Definitely worth a read!

TIFFANY MARTÍNEZ

My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

View original post 948 more words

Standard
Uncategorized

[Exit, pursued by a hunter]

Inhabitants of the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo are currently in the run-up to a referendum. The subject? Spring hunting, yay or nay? We do love a referendum here on the Maltese Islands, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that any political decision comes with a whole lot of trash-talk. Let me premise this post by saying that I, for one, don’t see any logical reason to allow hunting during the season where birds are supposedly meant to be reproducing. I only studied biology at O-level, but I’m about 99.9% sure that you birds  need to be alive to reproduce. Even if I were in favour of hunting (which I’m not, at all) the logical thing to do is not hunt at this crucial time in order to allow the ‘stock’ of birds to be replenished, but who has time for common sense these days? The fact that we even need a referendum about something means there’s a divided opinion on the matter. Fine, you have your opinion, I have mine. I’ll explain, in a civilised and diplomatic way, why I think I’m right and you’ll do the same in turn – right? Wrong. It’s difficult to put Maltese politics into an easy-to-understand nutshell, however I do think that the following extract from a 2006 article by The Times of Malta sums up the ‘Pro-Spring-hunting’ side of things rather well:

“BirdLife and co. will feel the full weight of the wrath of FKNK and Maltese hunters and trappers”. […] In an aggressive statement, Mr [Lino] Farrugia said anyone who wanted to abolish traditions like hunting and trapping would first have to step “over a lot of dead bodies”. 

It has to be said that ‘dead bodies’ may have been a tad too dramatic on his part. How can I be certain that this aggressive tone persists even in 2015? Well, for the most part you’ll have to trust a girl actually living on the island in question. This more recent article from the official SHOUT (Spring Hunting Out) page might persuade you – or it might not. The official FKNK Facebook page and website do seem quite tame and generally respectable, but let’s be practical. There’s a vast difference between the PR-endorsed side of the Pro-hunting debate and the ugly day-to-day reality – the ‘dark underbelly’, if you will.

Sign (in atrociously bad Maltese) reads: ‘Hunters – treated worse than criminals). Poor lambs. Being confronted by this group of gentlemen wouldn’t be threatening at all, would it?

The bottom line is this – they’re the Federation for Hunting, Trapping and (though they seem to forget) Conservation. If they want the rights afforded by the first two activities, then they need to be able to perform when it comes to the third, because quite frankly conservation isn’t just about rebuilding stone huts and walls. 

Standard