We’re thrilled to announce September’s Bookshop of the Month: Mount Florida Books, a new shop in the Southside of Glasgow. In addition to stocking the best in literary fiction, poetry, politics, cookery, and more, as its website describes, Mount Florida is dedicated to reinvesting in the literary fabric of Glasgow. “This could mean anything from using profits to help reinvigorate school libraries, working with prison charities to provide incarcerated people with access to books, or providing a space for adult learners to showcase their work.” To learn more, you can get in touch here.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Mount Florida founder Katia Wengraf for this month’s feature.
What do you think is special about Mount Florida Books?
We’re a very new bookshop, and we’re lucky to be in a very welcoming area. The community in and around Mount Florida has been incredibly supportive, and I think they’ve enjoyed seeing the shop grow.
If money was no object, what changes would you make to your shop?
If I had the cash, I’d finish all the work that needs to be done in one big go. I’d give it a gorgeous cork floor and a window display, paint the ceiling, and build a real counter with a work top by Still Life studio in Glasgow, who work with recycled plastics. I’d want to put up a hand-painted sign. Ours currently says Art by Zaz Tattoo Studio, so people do struggle to notice us a little bit. After all that, I’d buy a big indoor palm tree for the window that I could decorate at Christmas.
How and why did you get into bookselling?
I became a bookseller by a very happy accident. Evie Wyld needed someone to do weekends at Review in Peckham, and she knew I needed extra cash on top of my normal job. At the time I was working the door at Dogstar in Brixton as well as an office job, and bookselling was a much chiller option, or so I thought.
What’s the funniest thing you ever heard anyone say in the shop?
Once a customer was trying to pick out a book for his girlfriend who loved literary fiction. He kept on getting more and more frustrated. Eventually he just threw the books he was looking at down and yelled, “How can you sell this rubbish, it’s all lies.”
What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?
I think my favourite And Other Stories book has always been Yuri Herrera’s Signs Preceding The End of the World (translated by Lisa Dillman), but Tice Cin has just nudged that one out of the top spot for me with Keeping the House. It’s soulful and layered and clear-eyed and compelling. Her descriptions of London girlhood made me ache with recognition.
What book published in the last year do our readers need to get their hands on?
The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice by Shon Faye
What would be your desert island book?
Urgh, I don’t know but at the moment I’m re-reading Dale Cooper’s My Life, My Tapes because it’s so funny. Not sure it’s desert island material though, maybe. I find it strangely comforting.