Our November Bookshop of the Month is Portobello Bookshop in Edinburgh! Based between the sea and the hustle bustle of the city it is the perfect haven for a booklover looking for an escape.

We had the pleasure of speaking with most of the bookselling team, which includes, Euan, Alice, Ness, Helena, Molly, and Beth!

How / why did you get into bookselling? That one’s simple: a love of books.

What do you think is special about The Portobello Bookshop? Our booksellers make the shop what it is, with their amazing reading choices and recommendations, and their creative ideas on how to reach out to all readers. Being so close to the sea with the lovely Porty promenade and beach is pretty special too! The community here in Portobello have been so welcoming and supportive, and they buy an incredibly diverse range of books which encourages us to keep curating the best selection.

What’s the funniest thing you ever heard anyone say in the shop? We’re a team with a varied sense of humour, meaning that sometimes the silliest of things make us laugh. Whether it be a gourd with Bob Mortimer’s face on it, or our events manager planking to promote an event, there isn’t much that won’t provoke a giggle. The surprised exclamation of ‘…bookshop!…’ as people walk past (and often walk in!) when they discover us along this end of the high street is also quite funny.

What’s your favourite And Other Stories book? Alice’s favourite is I’ll Sell You a Dog by Juan Pablo Villalobos, and Ness loved Down the Rabbit Hole by the same author! Helena’s is Tentacle by Rita Indiana, Molly’s is Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs by Lina Wolff, and Beth loved Oldladyvoice and Slash and Burn. We’d also love to give a shoutout to Tice Cin and her incredible debut novel, Keeping the House. We met Tice when she visited Edinburgh in August and we were so pleased to host an event with her in September.

What would be your desert island book? Euan says: Purely because I’ve re-read it several times and found new things to enjoy on each occasion, I’d have to pick Autumn by Ali Smith. I think there would be great comfort in the memory of connecting the dots between it and her other seasonal novels. Beth says: I would take Arundhati Roy’s The God Of Small Things – one of my favourite books of all time! It’s an absolutely stunning and totally transportive novel, and one so rich with detail that it can be revisited time and time again. Molly says: The Overstory by Richard Powers would be a sprawling story to lose myself in, and a beacon of hope during what I’m sure would be a fairly isolated time.

Who is your dream author to have for an event at The Portobello Bookshop? We tried to choose a less predictable answer but ultimately, it just has to be Ali Smith.

What exciting things have you got coming up that our readers should look out for? To get people into the festive spirit, we’ve planned some late opening evenings on Thursday 25th November and Thursday 9th December. As well as there being books to browse, there may also be festive music and Christmas jumpers! We’re also getting ready for our festive campaign of donations to two wonderful local charities; Street Reads and Homestart.

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