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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
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...
Published 10 months ago by Narsh

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars product of the over indulged and selfish generation.
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...
Published 8 months ago by Brad bee


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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
This review is from: The Bookshop That Floated Away (Paperback)
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime and lovely, 3 May 2014
This review is from: The Bookshop That Floated Away (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars product of the over indulged and selfish generation., 12 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Bookshop That Floated Away (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric but rather wonderful, 10 May 2014
This review is from: The Bookshop That Floated Away (Paperback)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely factual story of Sarah's travels around the canals of UK, 20 May 2014
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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
This review is from: The Bookshop That Floated Away (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Bookshop that floated away, 9 Oct. 2014
By 
Clare O'Beara - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This gently eccentric memoir is for a somewhat specialised readership, which is why I'm not giving more stars. The author had a less than ideal business plan - to buy a barge, stock it with new books from wholesalers and sell the books. The barge she bought (with a loan from family after banks refused her) was topped up by more money to restore it, remove the plumbing and buy books. Sarah then spends the rest of the book bemoaning the lack of plumbing.

Having run out of custom and with e-book sales steadily eroding her market as was already foreseeable, Sarah decided to take six months and travel the inland waterways in her narrowboat, selling books. This is best done by two persons as the locks need to be handled at the same time as the boat. Mostly she was on her own; we see the progress of collapse of her relationship with a nice-sounding man. This made the trip slow and challenging. However the first thing Sarah did was abandon her boat to bicycle around Wales so we have to wonder at her sense of purpose.

After the first half Sarah rewrites the story from the point of view of her narrowboat Joseph, in the style of Black Beauty. She makes constant reference to other literary works, feeling that the authors or characters are her travel mates, and tells us that she took all the modules she could in Russian literature at college. I can't help feeling that she'd have done better to take one in running a small business, which would include safe removal of takings to the bank, and paying bills as they fall due. I have to wish her well and enjoy her love of books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sarah Henshaw – The Bookshop That Floated Away | Review, 8 July 2014
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This review is from: The Bookshop That Floated Away (Paperback)
This is the true story of Sarah Henshaw and her book barge, the adventures of a former journalist who, deciding that city life wasn’t for her, decided to buy a barge (called ‘Joseph‘) and kit it out as a bookshop. Sarah and Joseph are normally moored at Barton Marina in the Midlands, not far from where I grew up, but this book covers the six months in which they hit the road (so to speak) to sell books across the country.

Along the way, they get banned from Bristol, broken in to a couple of times and Joseph floats away by himself on numerous occasions. At one point, Sarah takes a break from the barge altogether and goes cycling to Hay-On-Wye in Wales, the book capital of the UK. It’s a beautiful place, and she goes there for a worthy reason – you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is, though.

Sarah’s writing style helps to keep you interested throughout, too – she reminds me of Stephen Fry, in that both of them have a way with words that immerses you in language. They don’t just get their point across, they do so while reminding you of just how varied and emotive the English language can be, when used correctly. Couple that with the fact that I’m familiar with most of the places she visited, and you can see why I enjoyed it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good material-editor needed, 1 Jun. 2014
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This is an interesting story and I am sure the author is an engaging person to meet. However, she would have done better to have employed a good editor or even told the story to someone else to write down. It is written in such a disjointed style, moving about between various incidents. It does not flow at all, which is a real pity. I love books and bookshops and looked forward to reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 7 May 2014
As I'm interested in books & narrow boats, I thought this would be a good combination....& I wasn't disappointed. Its a light hearted read & easy to follow. Sometimes the author wandered off the subject a little, but this does not take much away from the story.
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The Bookshop That Floated Away
The Bookshop That Floated Away by Sarah Henshaw (Paperback - 3 April 2014)
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