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  • Confessions of a Bookseller

  • By: Shaun Bythell
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (309 ratings)

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Confessions of a Bookseller

By: Shaun Bythell
Narrated by: Peter Kenny
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Summary

"Do you have a list of your books, or do I just have to stare at them?"

Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. With more than a mile of shelving, real log fires in the shop and the sea lapping nearby, the shop should be an idyll for bookworms. 

Unfortunately, Shaun also has to contend with bizarre requests from people who don't understand what a shop is, home invasions during the Wigtown Book Festival and Granny, his neurotic Italian assistant who likes digging for river mud to make poultices. 

The Diary of a Bookseller (soon to be a major TV series) introduced us to the joys and frustrations of life lived in books. Sardonic and sympathetic in equal measure, Confessions of a Bookseller will reunite readers with the characters they've come to know and love.

©2019 Shaun Bythell (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about Confessions of a Bookseller

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great book ruined!!!!

loved the prequel, but this,although a fab well written book was ruined by the narrator who at times was camp ,then at other times partial to poor accents... such a shame as it spoilt the whole thing. Gutted.

8 people found this helpful

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Hooray for this sequel!

Hooray for this sequel to Bythell's wonderful Diary of a Bookseller (reviewed on my Audible Listener Page in 2017)!

Time has moved on for Shaun Bythell - sadly Anna, his American partner, has moved back to America but still visits, leaving Bythell at 45 with an increasingly damaged back from man-handling 1000s of books, and fearing a future as a cantankerous old curmudgeon. Despite, this, 'Confessions' is upbeat and brims with energy and sardonic humour - and wildly eccentric people, most of them customers.

Nicky, Bythell's Jehovah's Witness helper, is still in the shop (when she actually manages to get there) mis-pricing books and bringing 'treats' from Morrison's skip on Foody Friday - (chocolate donuts which the cat has slept on or which Nicky has licked , or both; squashed Welsh cakes or 'feta and spinach horrors') Emanuela, the 25 going on 85 year old Italian whom Bythell is housing and feeding in exchange for some help. Her mangling of the English language is one of the delights of the book, including her torrents of invective all tolerated by Bythell along with her massive appetite and her curious shaving habits.

There's a new wave of dreadful customers who haggle shamefully over the prices (do we ask for discounts in Lidls??) ; make wholly unreasonable requests (I've only got 80p, can I pay the other 20p on a credit card? This book is priced at £40, Can I have it for £20?);. They're sure that their bag of Jeffrey Archers and Dan Browns is worth £100s rather than the re-cycle bin. They make no secret of the fact that after spending 2 hours, or many more, in the shop leaving books on the floor, they're off home to order the book they wanted on Amazon; they shelter from the rain in the shop, wet and un-buying; they ask supremely stupid questions and, almost worst of all, lean against the counter and tell lengthy mind-numbingly boring anecdotes. Bythell recounts all this with humour both bitter and funny.

We also learn a great deal about the stranglehold of Amazon and on-line book sales and share Bythell's weepingly frustrating experiences with the stipulations laid down by these massive companies. Festival time is hugely exhausting but stimulating with a house full of writers, necessitating frequent trips to the tip with crates of rubbish dripping stinking lobster juice into his vehicle. He drives many miles to check out boxes of books following up calls from people certain their books are super-valuable - one house he was told had 30,000 books, Bythell reckoned the total was closer to 60,000.No wonder his back suffers.

What makes the whole so special are Bythell's fishing trips and his appreciation of the countryside, landscape, waters and skies of Scotland. He can look up and watch a skein of honking geese across the sky; he revels in the luminous quality of the light. Above all he revels in the glory of books and treats us to what he's currently reading (Martin Amis) and plenty of quotations from classic and early books of all kinds. He's with the words his student helper Flo wrote on the blackboard outside the shop: "Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy books (which is basically the same thing)."

I preferred the narrator of Bythell's first book, but Peter Kenny is good and particularly good at presenting Emanuela. I loved it all.

7 people found this helpful

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A brilliant follow up

Having first finished The Diary of a Bookseller, had the pleasure of listening to the sequel. Hilarious as ever. Will have to visit the shop, say hello to Captain and buy copies of the book when next in Scotland.

Highly addictive listening and unreservedly recommended.

6 people found this helpful

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Ruined by an atrocious narrator

I listened to Shaun’s first book and absolutely loved it. The narrator was fantastic, it was so relaxing - the perfect bed time listen! Unfortunately this time however, I’ve had to give up 30 minutes in, nothing to do with the content of the book, just the utterly atrocious narrator. The bizarre whispy exhalations and intonations feel like he’s reading a scary story to a child. It’s such a contrast to the wonderful narration of the first book. For me, this one is unlistenable.

5 people found this helpful

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Bitterly disappointed

So badly read it is difficult to understand much of what is being said. Read far too fast also. What can be heard is just a repeat of Diary of a Bookseller and that was brilliantly read.

4 people found this helpful

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A good story spoiled

I loved Shaun Bythell’s first book and bought the sequel immediately after finishing it. Once again the diary is full of interesting characters, insight and all things literary, but the audible version is unfortunately ruined by the narrator. I persevered but at each chapter, gritted my teeth and debated whether to suffer the cringeworthy voice rattling through at a rate of knots, using inappropriate emphasis and appalling accents, or not. I am still on that road, and though I have never been tempted to write a review before, feel I should point out to prospective listeners that they will need to get over the irritating, confusing and distracting narrator or buy the book. I am tempted to say the latter, which will probably please the author no end and at least allow one to follow the story. I missed chunks of it as I was too busy trying to detach the voice from the words.
PS the narration of the first book was wonderful!

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very entertaining, even for a bookseller.

loved it and will recommend to others. writing style makes it fun to read. Funny, sad and entertaining

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Great fun, fabulous set of characters

I read the previous bookshop diary by Shaun Bythell so had been looking forward to the sequel immensely. It didn’t disappoint and I’ve devoured it in a few days. It’s funny and engaging- I especially loved Granny. I’ve even picked up a few tips about other books to read. I do hope there will be more diaries to come - I’m missing Shaun and the rest already.

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A good light and fun book

Nice easy listening for an audio book.

Easy to pick up at many intervals and still follow

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Really enjoyable

I Love this and the author’s other books. Excellent bedtime reading and a very enjoyable listen

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  • NHlaurie
  • 22-06-22

Be careful!

I love this story so much, I subscribed to the shop's random book club! Great writing about great people in a great place. It made me wish I lived nearby.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vulpine from Innsmouth
  • 13-10-20

books!!!

fun day by day adventures of a bookseller in a small Scottish town. Definitely want to visit someday.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 27-12-22

Confessions of a book seller

I found it somewhat tedious, although did enjoy the character development of the young “granny”. It’s different.