Books on the Hill opened on August 30th 2014 and is an independent bookshop run by Dr. Alistair Sims and his partner, Chloe Smirk. In an interview with the North Somerset Times, Alistair once said:
“I’m trying to create a bookshop which is a hub for the community and also where I can progress my work as well.”
Alistair and Chloe have certainly achieved their aim.
Alistair is dyslexic and had difficulty reading until he was thirteen, in contrast Chloe was a prodigious reader at the age of eight. Chloe and Alistair share a passion for books and had always joked about running their own book shop so when the premises on Hill Road became available they couldn’t resist it.
With his PhD in archaeology and his recent signing by Academia Lunare, Alistair is a great role model for young people who feel they may not be able to enjoy reading or feel anxious that their dyslexia may be a barrier to success. Alistair is more than willing to talk to anyone with dyslexia or anyone who wants to know more about it for whatever reason. You won’t be surprised to learn that Books on the Hill stock a great range of books from the dyslexic friendly book Publisher Barringtons Stoke
Being inclusive is very important to Chloe and Alistair who really want to support and encourage everyone in their community in their quest to enjoy reading and they take great pleasure in doing so.
“We had one child frightened of going into a bookshop or library and after helping him find a dyslexic friendly book and being able have a chat with him, he wasn’t scared anymore and has since come in again and again. There have been many instances where we as a bookshop have made a difference in our small way.”
Books on the Hill have a range of fiction and non-fiction as well as a thriving Books Delivery Service: Books on the Hill — Send My Book. You can quite simply order a book and it will go from the supplier to you or direct to friends or family – a great service.
They have also created a special gift package which makes an ideal present for the book lovers in your life and culminates in the receiving of six carefully chosen, beautifully packaged books arriving through the post to the person of your choice. You can check out the details on their website.
Added to this Alistair and Chloe organise regular book signings, author events and workshops. One of my favourite workshops which I attended with a group of students was a Masterclass from the Beano illustrator Kev Sutherland who gave some great tips on comic book drawing. The young people involved still talk about it! I was really sorry to miss the Tapas Book Party on the 29th September celebrating the publication of The Labyrinth of the Spirits by best-selling Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón. They have had many authors come and sign at the shop, including Stan Nicholls, Sophie Tallis, Joanne Hall, John Llewellyn Probert, and New York Times Bestseller, Robin Hobb. They also facilitated a very memorable evening with the TV presenter Nick Knowles at the Curzon cinema.
My first meeting with Alistair and Chloe was school related – they will always go the extra mile for schools. They are happy to order books and offer considerable discount on large orders. They have good links with publishers and are more than willing to arrange for authors to visit the schools or support the schools if they have arranged their own visit. Alistair was a welcome sight at the recent talk at Clevedon School given by professional British tree climber, cameraman and adventurer James Aldred who appeared as part of their celebration of science week.
As well as providing a range of dyslexic friendly books Chloe and Alistair stock a range of Quick Read books – these are short books by bestselling authors, aimed at adults who do not read often, or find reading difficult and many them are suitable for older teenagers who are reluctant readers. They are a very good deal at £1 each. Young people love nothing more than seeing their work promoted and celebrated in the commercial world and Chloe and Alistair are very happy to receive book reviews.
Books on the Hill also have a delightful range of quite unique gifts, jigsaws, greeting cards and wrapping paper and ……………loose leaf tea! I can recommend the Jun Mei Lapsang Golden Eyebrow Tea which was bought for me as a present! I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I would have made such a purchase but I would now! It’s delicious! In fact I’m going to enjoy a cup now with one of my lovely birthday presents from Books on the Hill! Happy birthday me!
Find out more about Books on the Hill here: