The Little Bookshop on Cookham High St. opened in October and caused quite a buzz. It's the place to go after school, has regular book signings and some exciting plans ahead, I caught up with owner Una to find out more.

Tell me a little about you and your background?

I am originally from Belfast but moved to England in 1991 and to Maidenhead in 1994. My husband and I moved to Cookham with our three children and 3 dogs in 2011.

My husband and I are both scientists and worked in the Pharmaceutical industry for a number of years before starting our own consultancy business in 1998, which we are currently still involved in.

How did the idea come about to open the Little Bookshop?

Peter and I had owned the Little Shop for 4 years and had rented it to various other businesses. However, when the last lady decided to give up her tenancy, we thought it might be a good opportunity for us to try opening up our own business as we love the actual building and felt it could be used for something that everyone in Cookham village could enjoy.

How did you develop your love of books?

I would readily describe myself as a bookworm and am very happy reading several books at one time. My parents instilled in me a great love of books and this has developed over the years. I started a book club 10 years ago and it is still thriving today!

What do you enjoy most about working in an independent bookshop?

One of the best things about the bookshop is getting to meet the local people, particularly the children who pop in with their pocket money on a Friday and Saturday. A sense of calm pervades the Little Bookshop, particularly when you are sitting upstairs in the cosy loft with a new book, which can be in stark contrast with our frenetic pace of life.

What’s a typical day at the Little Bookshop?

Odering for next day delivery, checking books into shop...always exciting when we receive new titles! Catching up with our many customers from locals in the village, visitors from as far as Uganda and Australia. Meeting new authors.....many local authors books are stocked in the shop.

How does being in Cookham help your business?

We are so lucky to live in such a fantastic part of the world and Cookham is not only beautiful, it has a real sense of community. We have been really impressed by the amount of support we have been given by other business owners and the local people; there is hardly a day that goes past without well wishers dropping by to say how glad they are that a bookshop has opened in the village.

How do you maintain your work/life balance?

Get up early but try and be back home for 5 so you have the evening with the kids and ignore work calls if at all possible. The kids are now 18, 14 and 11 so it’s so much easier than when they were little but we had an amazing nanny for 13 years, which definitely helped.

We always make sure we do family holidays as the kids grow up so fast it's was important to do this as we know that one day, they’ll want to do their own thing.

Do you have any exciting events planned for the Little Bookshop?

We have some book signings coming up (details below), recently Holy Trinity School visited the shop which was really exciting as many of the pupils are loyal customers already so it's like welcoming good friends! Later in the year we also hope to launch The Little Bookshop Children's Short Story this space!

What is your no.1 read of the moment?

Educated by Tara Westover or Milkman by Anna Burns. I can’t decide which is best!

Forthcoming book signings at The Little Bookshop

Saturday 4 May at 2pm

Meet Louise Carron Harris a modern day medicine woman, a shaman, mystic, healer, teacher & story teller. Karen is promoting her book, Awakening of the Western Woman.

Just a few things people have said about Louise's book:

Louise’s personal journey is inspiring and reassuring to all the other western women who are waking up to their power and potential to make their own lives and those of others radiate with purpose, passion and playfulness!

This is an amazing story of a journey into what we all believe is impossible but becomes possible if we are true to ourselves and have the love and support of those we love.

This is a story of trust, faith, courage and unity. And I was mesmerised from start to finish.

Saturday 11 May at 2pm

Meet award-winning poet, Eoghan Walls as he reads from Pigeon Songs, his new second collection of poems richly steeped in themes of love and loss.

Eoghan was born in Derry, Northern Ireland and currently lectures in creative writing at Lancaster University. His first collection of poems, The Salt Harvest (Seren, 2011) was shortlisted for the DLR Strong Award for Best First Collection.

Saturday 15 May at 11am

Join Rosie Jackson winner of the 2017 Cookham Festival Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition and Graham Burchell to hear them read from their new poems about the Spencer's and to explain what inspired their work.

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