West Wales bibliophiles

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West Wales bibliophiles

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Feb 27, 2011, 12:19pm

This is a rip-off of West of England bibliophiles, as you've probably noticed! I'd be interested in hearing from other book-lovers in West Wales (Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire)--favourite bookshops, secondhand sources, reading matter preferences, local interest stuff etc.

Feb 28, 2011, 11:09am

I'll just wave from the other side of the country. Though I used to live in Yr Wyddgrug.

Mar 1, 2011, 4:13am

I was born in southwest Wales (a bit west of Tenby) and lived there - after stints in other parts of the world - up until a couple of years ago. If not for my husband's job and our need to be in Cornwall for that reason, we'd move back in a heartbeat. It's my favourite place anywhere, without question.

Two of the secondhand bookshops I loved in my area were Cofion in Tenby and Animal Kitchen in Narberth.

Mar 1, 2011, 4:53am

>3 miss_read:: I don't know Cofion in Tenby (I'm only familiar with two bookshops there) but Animal Kitchen is certainly unusual, and only gets curiouser and curiouser!

A bit west of Tenby--is that St Florence or Manorbier way, perhaps? I taught as a supply teacher in Greenhill School a few years ago, but actually live up in the Preselis.

Mar 1, 2011, 7:03am

Yes, Manorbier! Well - it's a small world, isn't it?!

Mar 1, 2011, 7:18am

Happy St David's Day!

Mar 1, 2011, 9:00am

And a happy day too from Wikileeks!

Mar 1, 2011, 5:18pm

CliffordDorset -- that comment should be classified under the Excruciating Puns Act!

Mar 2, 2011, 3:30am

>7 CliffordDorset: I love it, Clifford!

>4 ed.pendragon: Ed, Cofion is just near the Tudor Merchant's House.

Mar 2, 2011, 6:27pm

>9 miss_read:: Ah yes, NOW I place it! Down the alleyway towards the harbour! Always seem to miss it.

Jul 16, 2011, 1:37am

Glad to find a group of west Walians. I'm due south of Carmarthen - Abertywi as might be, Deheubarth as was (and as we all are in the three counties).

Jul 17, 2011, 5:14pm

>11 scintillathepun:
Croeso! I suppose you might also class West Wales as Dyfed (Pembs, W Carms, S Ceredigion) if it wasn't for the fact that the modern short-lived county of Dyfed was not a loved creation. (By all accounts; I wasn't living here then.)

Like the moniker, by the way. Pun by name, pun by nature!

Jul 24, 2011, 12:17am

Diolch yn fawr.

The despised 'D' word is still used by many address databases and its sometimes impossible to get them to alter. Anyway, Dyfed was originally cognate with Pembrokeshire - it was incorporated into the kingdom of Deheubarth by Hywel Dda in 950.

By any name, though!

Jul 24, 2011, 11:54am

I know boundaries were fluid, but I thought Dyfed at times included a bit of what's now west Carmarthenshire; and, of course, we'll never know for certain the extent of the Demetae in the Iron Age. Still, you're right, it's mostly cognate with Pembs, and I too get irritated by address databases which have not been updated!

Jul 26, 2011, 6:25am

I was a student at Aberystwyth for many many years and can recommend the bookshops there. There are some good ones in the centre of town, including an Oxfam bookshop and a good Welsh language shop, but the best by far is Ystwyth Books.
It is a second hand bookshop packed with treasures! It is pretty hard to find though, they seem to be attempting to hide themselves from the general public :)
If you go right up the main road, past the clock tower until there are no more shops, then turn right down one of the little side streets as though you are going towards the Old College it is on your right, no other shops or cafes or anything on the street, just Ystwyth Books. I always thought it made it like a magic bookshop from a story, like it might not be there the next time you went to find it :)

Jul 26, 2011, 6:45am

>15 KayEluned:
Hope it is there when I eventually go to find it!

Ago 28, 2011, 12:27pm

Paid a visit to Tenby a fortnight ago and went in to Cofion. It has to be the smallest, most crowded bookshop on the planet. There are overflowing shelves and then there are massive toppling piles taking all but the tiniest gangway. If a book slides onto the floor its almost impossible to bend down to pick it up - in fact I think I detected some books ground into the floor from ages past.

What a joy to find such wildness in a world otherwise obsessed with tamed books.

Ago 28, 2011, 1:21pm

Isn't it fantastic!! A friend was in there once and accidentally toppled over a pile of books. The owner looked up and said, "Oh, a book launch!"

Ago 28, 2011, 2:23pm

ha ha ha ha

Ago 28, 2011, 2:56pm


Editado: Jul 18, 2012, 1:49pm

Good news story: Seaways Bookshop in Fishguard has been under new ownership for well over a year now and has been expanding (yes, expanding) its available space. As well as the usual selection of fiction, non-fiction, children's and CDs they've added publishers' remaindered stock, both hardback and paperback, and an increased range of stationery. They were always friendly in there, and the new owners have continued that tradition, I'm glad to say! http://www.librarything.com/venue/31407/Seaways-Bookshop

(PS I'm not paid any commission by them on sales...)

Jul 18, 2012, 1:59pm

Good to know!

Jul 18, 2012, 3:13pm

>22 Polaris-: I just thought that I'd post that as we're just about into the summer (!) break (with indeed a promised break in the wet weather) and as visitors head for Pembrokeshire beaches / coast walks their thoughts might turn to books...

Jul 18, 2012, 8:18pm

Indeed. Let's hope this scandalous rumour of the break in weather is true. It feels like the whole of Llantrisant is going to slide down the hill! If I get some time to enjoy any sun on offer it will be nice to get out to Fishguard for a visit. I'll be sure to check out Seaways - looks like a good one.

Jul 19, 2012, 11:13am

>24 Polaris-:
No, don't say that about Llantrisant, nowhere deserves to slide down a hill!
By the way, I have a daughter just moved to Nelson, which has the surprising attraction of a still-open library. Can you recommend any decent bookshops in the area when I go to visit her?

Jul 19, 2012, 11:42am

Afraid not. I've not been long in the neighbourhood, but there's nothing right near here. There's the independent in Cowbridge down in the Vale - I went to visit one day midweek I had off from work, but it was closed disappointingly. If I ever work in the Hereford area I detour to either Andrew Morton Books in Brecon or the Hay Cinema Bookshop. But I'm on the hunt for a good local nearer to the Pontypridd area. No luck yet. The University of Glamorgan Blackwells in Ponty closed down before I moved here...

Any suggestions welcomed!

Jul 19, 2012, 11:44am

Thankfully we still have libraries.

Jul 19, 2012, 11:48am

Cowbridge has been recommended to me as good for independent shops before, so that sounds promising!

Ago 5, 2012, 5:29pm

Did you know that we all originated from Africa??
Let's stop all this 'them and us' and acheive equality, love and respect for our fellow men

Ago 5, 2012, 7:50pm

>29 lizstansbridge:
I started this off with "I'd be interested in hearing from other book-lovers in West Wales (Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire)--favourite bookshops, secondhand sources, reading matter preferences, local interest stuff etc." So I'm not sure where this 'them and us' aspect comes in.

Ago 7, 2012, 6:13pm

I think you showed your own predjudices.
Stop this parochialism, embrace other cultures.

Ago 8, 2012, 3:06am

Lizstansbridge, I'm not sure what prejudices you're seeing... ?????

Ago 8, 2012, 4:54am

I'm visiting Wales and happened upon this thread. Advice on bookshops in West Wales is just what I was looking for. The messages are helpful and I appreciate the information from the contributors kind enough to take the time to provide it. Then I get to the messages at 29 & 31 - how bizarre are they? Not only wide of the mark, but borderline spiteful! I would urge people to ignore them and not let them spoil an innocent, friendly and helpful thread.

Ago 8, 2012, 7:20am

Quite strange!

Ago 11, 2012, 1:06pm

>21 ed.pendragon:

Thanks ed.pendragon. I'm glad to know about Seaways in Fishguard and hope to make a visit next week with my two teenage offspring, both of whom are lovers of books. Weather permitting, we will also walk some bits of that wonderful coast path around Pen Caer Strumble Head and wonder at the ancient forts and standing stones on Garn Fawr/Garn Gilfach.

I was wondering which part of Pembs to visit until reading this thread after a long break from LibraryThing.

Glad to be back!

Ago 11, 2012, 2:17pm

>35 scintillathepun:
The stretch of the coast path you mention is lovely if, at times, a little invigorating! There is an ancient cromlech (technically, an "earthfast tomb") near Llanwnda with a standing stone in a field nearby. Garn Gilfach was claimed (wrongly I believe) by an antiquarian as a corruption of the name of the hero Culhwch who's mentioned in an Arthurian tale in The Mabinogion, a great tale which features a giant boar which Arthur chases over the Preseli Hills. This stretch is also the site of the Last Invasion of Britain in 1797.

If you ask in the bookshop, they have a decent selection of local interest books. Have a good trip--hope the break in the recent good weather promised for the next week doesn't materialise or you'll get a little damp!

Ago 14, 2012, 2:17pm

This is a really good thread Ed keep it up! My sister is holidaying in the Gower in a couple of weeks so I am going to direct her here first :)

Lizstansbridge - Are you sure you've commented on the right thread? Bit confused.....

Ago 15, 2012, 12:42pm

I remember a charming and friendly little bookshop in St Davids, barely a stone's throw from the cathedral ...

Editado: Ago 15, 2012, 3:39pm

Oct 24, 2012, 7:09am

The Guardian has a useful 2011 listing (with commentary) of independent bookshops in Wales: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/01/booksellers-wales; is your favourite bookshop there, and is the description accurate and up-to-date?

Oct 24, 2012, 12:48pm

40 -

Thanks, that's a useful page to keep as reference. I note how few there are here in the valleys... West Wales looks very well served though!

Ene 8, 2013, 12:11pm

2013 is upon us, and I thought I'd highlight another source of books for those who will be sampling West Wales this year.

Particularly if you're walking the coast path, or having a family boating holiday in the Pembrokeshire Newport, you might like to browse the Carningli Centre (http://www.carningli.co.uk/ and on Facebook). There used to be a specialist bookshop there but that closed three or four years ago; then the wholefood shop started stocking a bigger range of new books. But don't neglect the Carningli Centre: as well as antiques, art and railwayana they have an intriguing and ever-changing range of secondhand books, and the owners are friendly...


Editado: Jul 29, 2013, 10:24am


I went to a really good event in Tywyn last month: http://www.helensandler.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/lanternlit.html I went as a spectator but you can bring poems or prose to read in the open mic. We also heard stories from the writers Jane Whittle and Ann Weatherby; next month will see a reading by VG Lee. It was a lovely day and I was thoroughly entertained by bright, engaging and BRAVE people. Really recommend this to readers and writers, and would make a good venue for a meetup - the pubs nearby look decent and there's also the cinema at the same venue.

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