Our September bookshop of the month is City Books, in Brighton and Hove!
City Books in the Brunswick area of Brighton and Hove, has been championing great literature, since it was founded in 1986 by Paul and Inge Sweetman. The bookshop is loved by locals and recognised nationally as one of the best Independent Bookshops to visit, and rightly so, for the bookshop is tightly packed with fantastic local and international authors. They regularly host an array of events, including books signings, author talks and they even visit local literature festivals (The Coast is Queer, sounds fab!). On top of all that, they always make a special effort made to recognise indie publishers, like ourselves!
Earlier this month, we took a moment to catch up with Paul, Inge and bookseller Elizabeth Perry to talk about all things books!
Q: What do you think is special about City Books?
A: We are a stock-holding bookshop which means we have a fantastic range of all kinds of books, ideal for spending an hour or two browsing, and stumbling across the perfect read you didn’t know you needed!
Q: How / why did you get into bookselling?
A: Paul and Inge Sweetman opened City Books in 1986. Paul spent his teenage Saturday afternoons wandering around the secondhand bookshops of Brighton and Inge, when applying to WH Smith in 1981, was assigned to the book department after listing reading as a hobby on her CV – they’ve been booksellers ever since.
Q: What’s the funniest thing you ever heard anyone say in the shop?
A: One little boy once said the shop ‘smelled of knowledge’ – surely the greatest compliment we have ever received!
Q: Who is your dream author to have for an event at City Books?
A: Paul would have loved to be at the launch party for Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Inge’s dream author for an event would be Jane Austen. Elizabeth’s dream authors would be Dorothy Parker and Deborah Levy. Austen and Parker would be ideal for a panel on dating…we wonder what they’d make of Tinder…
Q: What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?
A: Our favourite And Other Stories books are The Polyglot Lovers by Lina Wolff (trans. Saskia Vogel) and Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera.
Q: What book published in the last year do our readers need to get their hands on?
A: Inge’s pick is Damian Barr’s debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here. Paul’s is Rachel Cusk’s collection of essays Coventry. Elizabeth’s is The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy.
Q: What would be your desert island book?
A: Inge’s is Proust’s In Search of Lost Time – being on a desert island might be the only way she’d manage to read it all! Paul’s choice is the Complete Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant. Elizabeth’s is We That Are Young by Preti Taneja.
Find them on Twitter: @CityBooksinHove, Instagram: @citybooksbookshop