Took a little drive out to Callander yesterday with my friend Paul. Popped into an iconic bookshop, Kings, on Main Street. I'd been once before a couple of years back.
There are many special things about this bookshop. Partly that they're not online because they prefer people to 'pop in and look around.' Partly because the books are organised more by a sense of category rather than by any strict system - which means you can find surprises on any shelf. Partly for Finlay the cat, who is quite a character, and will come to greet - and play fight - any guests. And partly for the owners, Sally Evans and husband Iain King.
Iain has a passion for bookbinding, and many of the books on the shelves are rare, old or out-of-print works that he has lovingly re-bound.
There's something thrilling about pulling a beautifully smooth book from the shelf, only to glimpse rough, deckle-edging between the cover. They're a little pricier than you'd expect a second-hand copy to be, but essentially, you're purchasing a work of art. These books have lovingly been given a second shot at life, deservingly preserved.
As well as modern paperbacks for a pound, there are also shelves of good-condition classics, including a fascinating children's section.
Sally is a poet, who has spent over thirty years in the Scottish poetry community. She also set up Diehard Poetry, which publishes a wide range of international poetry. Both Sally's own works and those of Diehard are available for purchase in the shop. I picked up a copy of Poetic Adventures in Scotland by Sally Evans, and Light Caught Bending by Martha Modena Vertreace.
I was really lucky that Sally was in the bookshop when we visited, so I managed to get a signed copy, including the lovely Finlay. It really is a gem of a bookshop. If you're up Stirlingshire, do take time to drop in and brows.