Category Archives: nonfiction

Favourite Quotes About Books and Reading from The Bookshop Book

The Bookshop Book was written by Jen Campbell. I discovered Jen on Youtube where she creates videos about books, writing and representation in the media. When I realised she was also an author, I checked out her books.

It was a book on my Christmas wishlist in 2016 so I was glad I was able to read it last month.

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In The Bookshop Book, Jen interviews bookshop owners and authors. They talk about their love for books, reading and the bookshop owners talk about how they started running their bookshops.

These are the quotes from sections of the book that I liked.

“My children are so used to being able to buy things on computers, but there is nothing like going into a bookshop and picking up a book and being able to examine the style of it before jumping in and deciding to have it.” -Rachel Joyce, author

“Never lend books, for no-one ever returns them. The only books I have in my library are books that other people have lent me.” -Anatole France (Harris & Harris Bookshop have this written across one wall in their shop)

“It was probably my mother who made me fall in love with stories.”- Ali Smith, author.

Ali Smith’s mention of how her mother made her fall in love with stories resonated with me because my mum got me a lot of books when I was growing up. I feel that’s part of the reason why I enjoy stories.

Ali Smith’s mention of how her mother made her fall in love with stories resonated with me because my mum got me a lot of books when I was growing up. I feel that’s part of the reason why I enjoy stories.

“But are books going to die out? Many people have prophesied that, but I say that can’t happen. Books are important, so very important. They teach you things; they show you different views of the world.” – Brian Aldiss, author.

“I think bookshops and libraries are vital. It seems so sad that so many libraries have been closed down and so many bookshops have disappeared. If children can’t see books on shelves and learn to enjoy browsing before they select a book then they’ll never become keen readers.” – Jacqueline Wilson, bestselling children’s writer.

I read a lot of Jacqueline Wilson books as a child so I was happy to hear Jacqueline Wilson’s thoughts on why bookshops and libraries are important.

“A good bookshop shows you the books that you never knew you wanted.” – Mark Forsyth, author of the Sunday Times #1 Bestseller The Etymologicon

If you’ve been wondering why books or bookshops are important in our communities, I hope these quotes have shown why we’ll continue to need books, libraries and bookshops.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterley: A Tale of Race, Discrimination and Achievement in the Modern World

Hidden Figures was a book I discovered after its story had been made into a film. It tells the true-life story of African-American women who worked in aeronautics and their role in helping America win the space race.

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Hidden Figures talks about these female mathematicians who worked in a white, male-dominated sector. They faced challenges such as having a segregated bathroom and not being allowed to participate on certain tasks because they were women.

They were pioneers in their field, occupying positions that black women had not previously worked in. In the past, black women with mathematics degrees mainly worked as teachers in underfunded segregated schools. When roles opened for black women at NASA,  it gave black female graduates the chance to work in a different sector and earn more money.

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These female mathematicians faced challenges such as having a segregated bathroom and not being allowed to participate on certain tasks because they were women. However, with persistence and delivery of excellent work, they were able to progress. There was a particular woman, Katherine Johnson who had asked to participate in editorial meetings. She was told she couldn’t because she was a woman. By persistently questioning this, she was finally allowed to attend. This was in 1958. There’s been a progress in that, sexual discrimination in the workplace is becoming more unacceptable.

The story also explores the social situation in America during the time, Katherine Johnson and her peers were working at NASA. Margot Lee describes this well in this section of the book.

So much money spent so that between 1969 and 1972 a dozen white men could take the express train to a lifeless world? Why, Negro men could barely go to the next state without worrying about predatory police, restaurants that refused to serve them, and service stations that wouldn’t let them buy gas or use the bathroom.

While some were glad that America had made into space, there were difficult conversations being had on how there were no black astronauts at the time. People also challenged the fact that a lot of money was being spent on the space programme while people were poor and dispossessed in the United States. Was this the right way to spend government funds? Although, I felt the good side about the government spending money on the space programme was that it created jobs that helped some black families move up the income ladder.

I enjoyed reading Hidden Figures but I must say some sections were quite technical. There were areas where Margot Lee wrote about the work being carried out in NASA and it was a bit hard for me to follow. Besides that, it was quite readable.

Technology is mainly seen as an industry dominated by men. Reading Hidden Figures helped me realise that women, including black women, made contributions to technology in the middle of the twentieth century and this should be recorded in history.

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I would recommend this if you’re looking for something inspiring to read and if you’re interested in the experiences of African-Americans. These female mathematicians worked in challenging circumstances and made a difference in their families and in the workplace.

*I got my copy of Hidden Figures at WhSmith at St Pancras Station. You can get the book on Amazon, Book Depository, Waterstones and WhSmith.