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The Bookshop That Floated Away [Kindle Edition]

Sarah Henshaw
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

In early 2009 a strange sort of business plan landed on the desk of a pinstriped bank manager. It had pictures of rats and moles in rowing boats and archaic quotes about Cleopatra's barge. It asked for a £30,000 loan to buy a black-and-cream narrowboat and a small hoard of books. The manager said no. Nevertheless The Book Barge opened six months later and enjoyed the happy patronage of local readers, a growing number of eccentrics and the odd moorhen.

Business wasn't always easy, so one May morning owner Sarah Henshaw set off for six months chugging the length and breadth of the country. Books were bartered for food, accommodation, bathroom facilities and cake. During the journey, the barge suffered a flooded engine, went out to sea, got banned from Bristol and, on several occasions, floated away altogether. This account follows the ebbs and flows of Sarah's journey as she sought to make her vision of a floating bookshop a reality.

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Product Description

Book Description

The story of an extraordinary bookshop... and everything its owner did to keep it afloat.

About the Author

Sarah Henshaw is the proud owner of the Book Barge, the UK's only canal-based bookshop, which is currently still in business somewhere on the water in rural Staffordshire, close to Stoke-on-Trent.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 791 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (3 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,241 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime and lovely 3 May 2014
As fluid and clear as the water upon which it sales, the writing of this book is gently witty, touching and, quite literally, "sails" its readers into its world.

This is a book which reads like a modern fairy-tale, yet is never whimsical or clichéd. It is not just a recount of a bookshop but a book that challenges us all to consider our dreams and to wonder what would happen if we followed them. Set against a backdrop of waterways, the book allows us to see rural England from the viewpoint of its waterways: we see the reality of following dreams and also, first-hand, the problems and the issues these present.

This is truly a lovely book and is warmly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I am a commitmentphobe ! Do I like it or don't I like it ? Well I found it very readable in a blog shaped way . The short 'chapters' at times hopped about a bit but I never lost interest .She is an erudite and interesting literaryphile. The gathering realisation that narrowboating is hard work , showed her gaining some idea of what real life is about . However the seemingly inept approach to business made me realise that she was really just playing at it . A comment towards the end by one of her friends ' well now you've had the ' experience '' voiced the question 'are you now going to do it properly or get a real job ' ...
Sarah is also a commitmentphobe .She is unwilling to commit to Stu yet still clings to him for help , financial , emotional and physical . But more seriously she is not willing to commit to growing up and being responsible for her own actions .This is what I found most difficult to deal with while reading this book . She has a dream and when a real bank turns her down she turns to the Bank Of Mummy and Daddy and they over indulge her by forking out £30 K .She gets credit from her suppliers but when the chips are down she shreds the bills and plays ostrich ! Eventually she has to resort to corporate whoredom [ her words ] and do a real job for a year to pay her debts , but has she repaid the Bank of Mummy and Daddy ? Has she repaid Stu ?
Sarah dreams of boating to Paris , I hope it comes off for her but I would not feel any sense of achievement if I did it by sponging off others . But that may be because I wasn't raised in this selfish generation !!
And like another reviewer asked , 'Why didn't she use the toilet cassette /', probably just playing Petra Pan again .
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking entrepreneurSHIP a bit too literally 19 April 2014
By Narsh
This is the amusingly written story of how a creative lover of literature ditched her soulless life as an entertainment journalist in the big smoke when the credit crunch demanded that entrepreneurs step forward. Unfortunately, it transpired that being creative and loving literature doesn't necessarily sell books.
On the other hand, it transpires that being creative and loving literature does help to write books so you'd be wise to spend less than a tenner reading her story. Even better - try and find her barge (which could, of course, be anywhere from Barton to London to Paris to the Black Sea) and grab yourself a signed copy.
Good value, amusing and easy read; and, in these times of economic doom and gloom, an uplifting story of true British spirit in the face of adversity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric but rather wonderful 10 May 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author comes across as extremely likeable if a bit scatty, and it's an inspiring, funny story of her attempt to live her dream of a life on the water. She is entirely honest and wryly humorous about all the various problems she encountered and the eccentricity of the whole scheme.

She is clearly a book lover and the style reflects this - at times she waxes lyrical, at other times she takes a more prosaic approach, and the style wanders between this and a kind of bawdy humour. There is even an extended parody of Black Beauty in which she writes part of the story from the point of view of the canal boat (who is called Joseph). While this may seem ill-advised at first, it turns out to be one of the funniest sections of the book.

I think one or two other reviewers have been put off by the fact that this isn't a simple bucolic tale and instead includes some surreal flights of fancy and shifts of tone.. However I found the style to be perfect as it captures the personality of the author so well. And the rather beautifully constructed ending manages to be clever, satisfying and romantic all at once.

So, not everyone's cup of tea, but definitely mine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having come across the Book Barge on the Kennet and Avon canal that summer, I was interested to read about Sarah's adventures. She has a lovely style of writing and story telling which I enjoyed. A joyful positive account of the canals and the people on and around it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 9 Sept. 2014
By Allan
Having set up a bookshop in a canal boat at Barton Marina in Staffordshire Sarah, our heroine, decides to try and drum up some more custom by setting off in her canal boat on a six month buying / selling expedition around England's waterways. This book is an account of the trip and it is very well worth a read. It includes many wonderful anecdotes about her encounters on the way, her ability to barter books for anything from meals to toiletries and even a trip across the Severn Estuary and a wonderful account from Joseph (the boat) about how he feels about the whole expedition (and Sarah's canal boating skills!).
Wonderfully quirky writing combined with a genuine joy for life and books make this a first rate read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars True boat lovers beware
I lost patience with this book it is so disorganised.It has a certain eccentric charm but if you have any love of the waterways and narowboats you quickly become disillusioned... Read more
Published 2 months ago by MONIKA TOMLINSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent inspiring work by the author who made an unconventional ...
Excellent inspiring work by the author who made an unconventional career choice . A great read that I could not put down
Published 2 months ago by David Riley
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked it - didn't love it
I liked it - didn't love it. As someone else said, it was irritatingly quirky in places, and good in others. Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. C. A. Price
3.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring for some...
On my travels, I encountered Sarah and The Books Barge. I was one of those customers who did not find something to purchase in her stock. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Andrew Francis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived in good time and product as described.
Published 7 months ago by B
4.0 out of 5 stars Bookshop that floated away
This gently eccentric memoir is for a somewhat specialised readership, which is why I'm not giving more stars. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Clare O'Beara
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
bit boring
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoy canal travel books give this one a wide berth.
What an aweful book. I love reading about canal journeys but after only a few pages I could read no more. It is more like a boring diary than a travel adventure. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Pip
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 10 months ago by Mrs Pamela Beard
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A wonderful project culminating in a very good read.
Published 10 months ago by Alan Barton
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