We’re excited to feature Juno Books as our latest Bookshop of the Month!
Caught up with Rosie and Sarah
What do you think is special about Juno Books?
Rosie: Probably a combination of the books we stock and our broader vision for the shop. We aim to have an inclusive, representative selection of books on the shelves to ensure people can see themselves reflected in the pages. We always carry a majority of books written by women and queer people and aim to platform works by writers of colour, working class writers and disabled and neurodiverse voices. Beyond that, our vision for the shop is that it is very much a safe, welcoming, inclusive community space. We want people to chat to each other as they are browsing. We also run a whole load of bookish and social events, from author talks via queer or sex ed book groups to evening socials.
If money was no object, what changes would you make to the shop?
We would love to make it bigger and stock a wider range of books. There are so many we’d love to have on a more permanent basis, but we’re just too small! Making it bigger would also give us the opportunity to have a dedicated community space for more ambitious and larger events. We would also like a larger team of booksellers to help us fulfill these dreams!
How / why did you get into bookselling?
Sarah: Neither of us are from a publishing or bookselling background. We arrived at this point from the perspective of very enthusiastic amateurs! We talked a lot during the lockdowns about the importance of books for bringing people together and for sharing ideas and promoting social change. We also just missed community spaces and started wondering what if? We actually gave it a real go and opened a bookshop. It has been a very steep learning curve over the last couple of years, but we’ve had great support from brilliant people and our enthusiasm has not been dimmed!
What’s the funniest interaction you’ve ever had with a customer?
We’ve had so many. Highlights include phoning up a customer and confusing them with the author of the book they ordered (they were very flattered). We’ve also had lots of very life affirming interactions too. Reuniting an older customer with a childhood favourite story 70 years later was a particularly lovely moment.
What’s your favourite And Other Stories book?
Rosie: Words from the World’s End by Joanna Walsh. These are short stories by one of my very favourite writers. She never fails to amaze me.
Sarah: Mona Arshi’s Somebody Loves You is a really beautiful book that I inhaled on a long solo journey last year and have been recommending to everyone ever since!
What book published in the last year do our readers need to get their hands on?
Rosie: The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li. This was a glorious surprise for me. I’d never read Li before and was so deeply moved by this tale of two French schoolgirls from a remote backwater taking very different paths in life after they co-author a hit novel which takes 1950s Paris by storm. Her writing about class, friendship, writing and gender is subtle but incredibly powerful. I loved it.
Sarah: Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder, which I have regularly been pressing into the hands of our customers. It’s funny, angry, super relatable and a perfectly pitched story of the joys and frustrations of looking after a small child. I can’t wait to see the film later this year.
What would be your desert island book?
Sarah: I have a tendency to always think that the last book that I read was the greatest thing ever, so I would choose We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman, which was phenomenal. Also, anything of Tove Jansson’s adult fiction, such as The Summer Book (translated by Thomas Teal), for when I need a bit of comfort and another perspective on island living!