Southsea now has its very own independent book shop, ‘Pigeon Books’, which is a fantastic addition to the already diverse and independent Albert Road. There is something magical and special about these kinds of places, which you can’t find in bigger high street names. I mean it is cool to walk into a high street book shop if you love reading and to be able to browse new books whilst pottering in each section, but what makes an indie literary delight a place you want to visit?
Speaking to Mel and Phil, they really love reading (as well as Mel being an author herself, passionate about writing poetry and short stories) and that means they can recommend books based on what you like; a personal touch you wouldn’t get in other places. Starting out as a stall on the market it’s nice to see them grow and now find a permanent residence on Albert Road, sitting in Pallet Pro. Being independent, the shop is full of carefully curated and very well thought out books to grab your attention.
Offering a light and airy space with room to potter around, local authors are promoted whilst there is plenty of choice in a range of subjects. I particularly love the diverse range of children’s books that really offer young readers a chance to be inspired while boosting their skills and feeling engaged in what they are reading! Opening every weekend means if you work during the week you won’t miss out. Both Mel and Phil currently work full time and hope to make Pigeon Books a full-time venture, so be sure to show your support!
My favourite books I have bought so far from the shop are ‘California’ by Elle English who is also featured in the latest magazine. Offering a wonderful way to view parts of the world through the eyes of her children, Elle manages to capture your attention in a magical and endearing way through the use of Gemma Butterfield’s illustrations. Travelling 6 months of the year Elle really makes you want to go off on an adventure with her entire family. You can be sure to want to buy the next in the series…coming soon.
‘Guardians of the Planet’ by Clive Gifford is another absolute favourite we bought that really opens your child’s mind to what problems the world is facing in relation to climate change, pollution, animal extinction and other issues. It offers a positive way to help the environment. We are working through this book as part of our curriculum and loving it. Well illustrated and certainly a book that draws you into a place where you feel you want to do more for the planet.
Saturdays have become a day when I like to spare an hour to go and visit Pigeon Books and just look at what is new, recommended and see what is going to be my next book.
Another great thing to happen locally is that Mel is running a wonderful book club at Sam’s Place, situated on Grove Road South. Being a local Samaritan’s with a difference, it offers workshops and local events to help people feel less isolated and part of the community. The book club has a popular turnout and there are some fab titles that have already been read.
The next date for Book Club is the 13th of February. Please get in touch with Sam’s Place for more details of how to join in.
By Louise O’Brien