The North Recommends: Little Apple Bookshop
The Little Apple Bookshop has been selling books in the heart of York since 1997. We get visitors from all over the world as well as from all across the country. So the recent pandemic has had a huge impact on how we do business. We spent lockdown recreating our shop online and now have a website.
It is great to be back open now though and seeing so many visitors from the UK discovering the wonders of York and the surrounding area, now that the “staycation” is so popular. Having a brick-and-mortar shop means we get to chat to lots of people about books, which is what makes the job so delightful.
Here are a few of our regular recommendations and some new books.
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Elmet was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 2017. It is the story of a family living on the edges of society. When “Daddy” decides to protect his teenage children from the cruelties of society, he builds a house of wood in a copse “two fields from the east coast mainline”. The book has an elemental, visceral quality. The descriptive passages involving the natural world verge on the poetic. The characters are vivid: as Danny narrates his story you can feel the anxieties of a boy growing up not quite sure of his place in this strangely binary world. His sister Cathy is so much stronger and but also wilder. She is a force of nature but also very self -aware. She admits she feels angry all the time. The narrative follows the arc of a western leading to a dramatic and unexpected crescendo. It is powerful and leaves the reader with questions. It has been a favourite with us for many reasons, not least of which is that Fiona was a bookseller in our shop whilst this went through the whole crazy publishing and Booker shortlist circus, so it is now part of our history too.
Her next novel, Hot Stew, is published in March 2021. Although it is set in London, we are very much looking forward to it. Fiona has a unique voice and has written some of the most beautiful sentences you will ever read.
Sealed by Naomi Booth (Dead Ink Publishers 9.99 paperback)
Naomi is a great writer based in the North and her work is refreshing and new. Sealed is not for the faint-hearted, squeamish or anyone prone to hypochondria. It is however for anyone who enjoys a powerful, thought-provoking end-of-the-world-is-nigh style novel. Set in Australia, in the not so distant future, signs of doom are everywhere. The government is rehousing swathes of people into “temporary camps” to avoid fire and plague. Amidst all this, Alice and her boyfriend Peter uproot from the city to start a life on the edge of the outback. They thought they were escaping to a better life but soon realise the small community they arrive in is swiftly falling apart. Fear and distrust are everywhere. Booth creates a powerful sense of imminent danger whilst letting us in on the events that lead up to this point in Alice’s personal story. There are passages in this novel you will never forget (though you might want to) as it gets very gruesome at its climax, but that is what I liked about this book. It is unflinching in its account of events and refuses to let the reader look away. Surprisingly, it carries a message of hope and survival. Naomi’s new book, Exit Management comes out in September, so we are really excited.
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
We have been running a book club at the bookshop for 23 years. It is currently on a break due to the pandemic but is hoping to get back soon. This will be the first book to be discussed when we regroup. We love books that take us away to places we may not have been to and introduce us to people we maybe haven’t really thought about before. 10 Minutes is about the life and friendships of Tequila Lelia. She is an Istanbul prostitute and the story starts with her newly dead status. But it is a story of survival and resilience. Lelia begins her life in a village far away from Istanbul. Her family is rife with secrets and misery. She escapes to the city of Istanbul where she finds friendship and love despite the harsh reality of life as a sex worker. Her friends are vividly portrayed, a hotchpotch of nationalities and personalities all swept up in the swirling metropolis. The city too plays its part. This is a book you want to savour and then share.
Little Apple Bookshop:
13 High Petergate
York YO1 7EN