Ally Dewing is a blogger and booktuber from Shropshire who will be joining us to celebrate Books Are My Bag day. Her blog, Reading in the Rain, features YA book reviews, wrap-ups, recommendations, and other bookish posts. Ally also runs a YouTube channel, Ally Dewing, where she posts hauls, reviews, and tag videos.
1) Why are high street and independent bookshops important to you?
“There's an air about bookshops - independent or otherwise - that can never be recreated. There is always somebody willing to share their opinion on a book and offer a smile whilst they help you find the perfect book. I also find that there is something strangely comforting being surrounded by so many physical copies of books; it's as if they're all opportunities to just escape for a little bit, each to somewhere different and exciting!"
2) Name your three favourite independent bookshops (apart from us, of course!). What makes them special?
“Booka Bookshop is undoubtedly one of my favourites. I know every person in there by name and they are all so passionate about what they do which makes all the difference. It's so welcoming, the staff are just so lovely. They have a large variety of books too and also sell some absolutely adorable little gifts and stationary items, it's hard not to leave without buying something. Also their peach iced tea is just brilliant.
There's a little independent bookshop in Damm, Bruges which I have sadly forgotten the name of. It had books stacked up to the ceiling and, although it looked like a total mess, was organised in genres, languages and alphabetised. It was one of six bookshops in a really tiny village but was just so quaint and there were so many books from so many different countries.
Also there is Candle Lane Books in Shrewsbury. It sells a lot of secondhand and rare books and it such a pleasure going in and just looking around. The smell of old books consumes the entire shop and it's so wonderful!"
3) What is the best, funniest, quirkiest or most moving experience you have ever had in a bookshop?
“I spend so much time in bookshops that it's quite hard to pinpoint a best experience. However I would say that one of the best and strangest was when I went to my first ever book club meeting. I go to the Teen Bookclub at Booka and I remember practically running down after school finished worrying that I would be late as I only had fifteen minutes. I was the last to arrive and had to squish myself into the corner before we started with an ice-breaker in which we had to write down our 'heaven and hell' of books/genres/authors. The people were so nice and despite the fact we all felt a little awkward and unsure it was so much fun!"
QUICK FIRE ROUND!
4) What three words come to mind when you think of Wenlock Books?
“Lovely, passionate, special."
5) What has been your favourite book of 2015 so far?
“Ah that's so difficult! Probably Read Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler, it's a fantastic UKYA LGBT novel that is so genuine. Liz is such a lovely person too!"
6) What books are you looking forward to reading before the end of the year?
“Asking For It by Louise O'Neill immediately springs to mind. I also really want to read The Outcast by Sadie Jones, Killing Floor by Lee Child and some more Shakespeare!"
7) What are your top three desert island reads?
“Another difficult one! I'm going to go with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill."