This month’s Bookshop of the Month is the lovely Grove Bookshop, located in Ilkley on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. The bookshop can be found in the town centre along a tree-lined grove – its namesake – and receives visitors from across the UK and beyond throughout the year. As well as catering for the general reader, the bookshop has a section devoted to books about Yorkshire, as well as housing a diverse music collection in its basement.
For the last decade The Grove Bookshop has been involved with the popular Ilkley Literature Festival that takes place annually in the town. Although authors travel from far and wide to appear at the bookshop, local authors – including Alan Bennett – are highly valued for their time and commitment to the shop. Find out more about one of the north of England’s best-known independent bookshops in this YaleBooks interview with Mike, from The Grove.
An Interview with Mike at The Grove Bookshop
What inspired you to make a career in books?
Mike: I fell into book-selling eighteen years ago when I needed a job urgently. Since then I often wonder why I didn’t do it much earlier!
Dream customer: if you could choose anyone to walk through the door now, who would it be?
M: I would have said Alan Bennett, but he is actually a regular customer, so maybe Patrick Leigh Fermor, who died a few years ago. I love his three books recounting his 1930s walk across Europe.
You are located in a beautiful area, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. What are the benefits of being situated where you are?
M: We are in a busy town with lots of book lovers, and as the biggest place for miles around we attract customers from all the outlying villages. The tourist season is nearly all year long, and we have an annual Literature Festival which enables us to spread the word about our shop far and wide.
If you had to pick one book on Yorkshire to recommend to a customer visiting the Yorkshire Dales for the first time, what would it be?
M: I think it would have to be Colin Speakman’s The Yorkshire Dales National Park, which celebrates the history of the Dales as a tourist attraction, although J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country is another great book.
We’re nearing summer (even if it doesn’t always feel like it!), what’s going to be on your summer reading list?
M: I’m off to Italy in a few months’ time, so I’m aiming to start Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet, and before then I hope to make use of Yale’s two new Pevsner Architectural Guides to explore some of the great houses and churches of our region.
Open seven days a week
Monday – Saturday 9am-5.30pm
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