The Bookshop That Floated Away

In early 2009 a strange sort of business plan landed on the desk of a pinstriped bank manager It had pictures of rats and moles in rowing boats and archaic quotes about Cleopatra s barge It asked for a GBP30,000 loan to buy a black and cream narrowboat and a small hoard of books The manager said no Nevertheless The Book Barge opened six months later and enjoyed the hapIn early 2009 a strange sort of business plan landed on the desk of a pinstriped bank manager It had pictures of rats and moles in rowing boats and archaic quotes about Cleopatra s barge It asked for a GBP30,000 loan to buy a black and cream narrowboat and a small hoard of books The manager said no Nevertheless The Book Barge opened six months later and enjoyed the happy patronage of local readers, a growing number of eccentrics and the odd moorhen Business wasn t always easy, so one May morning owner Sarah Henshaw set off for six months chugging the length and breadth of the country Books were bartered for food, accommodation, bathroom facilities and cake During the journey, the barge suffered a flooded engine, went out to sea, got banned from Bristol and, on several occasions, floated away altogether This account follows the ebbs and flows of Sarah s journey as she sought to make her vision of a floating bookshop a reality.
The Bookshop That Floated Away In early a strange sort of business plan landed on the desk of a pinstriped bank manager It had pictures of rats and moles in rowing boats and archaic quotes about Cleopatra s barge It asked for

  • Title: The Bookshop That Floated Away
  • Author: Sarah Henshaw
  • ISBN: 9781472108050
  • Page: 364
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “The Bookshop That Floated Away”

    1. Many people have dreams. Some want to shrug off the ties that a property can have, others dream of opening a bookshop. Very few combine both of those dreams, but Sarah Henshaw is one that did. Have written an eclectic and unusual business plan and submitted it to her bank requesting £30,000 to be able to buy a narrowboat and a pile of books, the manager considered her request.And said no.Thankfully her parents had the capital to enable her to fulfil her dream and six months later the Book Barge [...]

    2. I usually avoid memoir and books-about-books like the plague, but this memoir about a bookshop on a boat was wonderful. Sarah Henshaw's writing is by turns pee-my-pants funny, reflective, and moving. I loved this spunky young woman, her less-than-shipshape business and her personal foibles: I bet you will too. I could've done with a little less about the boating side of her adventure, but virtually all of this was engaging.

    3. An easy read - written in a series of short chapters as she gently rambled on about the people she met and things going on around her that she connected to books she had read. Occassional humore - such as one of the rules for her canal boat bookshop:"Please don't fart. This bookshop is very small and quite poorly ventilated. I've thrown perpetrators out before now"Loved her humour for the most part - her rambling less so, and maybe I just didn't get it - but was a bit jumbled up for me.

    4. In 2009, Sarah Henshaw had a brilliant idea - to transform a narrow boat, named Joseph, into a bookshop, called The Book Barge, but by 2011, battered by the recession, the growth in digital book sales and Henshaw's self-confessed terrible book-selling skills the store, moored in the Midlands, was on the verge of closing. Desperate to keep the business afloat, Sarah came up with the idea to traverse the canals of England for six months to raise awareness of the plight of independent booksellers a [...]

    5. I kept waiting for this spoiled brat to grow up and be a HARD-WORKING independent bookseller. She has such disdain for JOBS and those who work hard at those jobs, yet she has no compunction about CONTINUING to sponge off those who do work hard at jobs (her parents, her boyfriend, her friends, and so forth). This story is not about a young girl being supported by loved ones in pursuit of some great dream. It's about a woman almost in her thirties who flits about and does not bother to learn how t [...]

    6. В этой книжке три главных героя: книжная баржа (точнее, узкая лодка), слегка ебанутая и выпивающая девушка и книжки. К моему сожалению, в сочетании «книжная баржа» главное слово — «баржа», но все равно мемуар у Сары получился в меру занимательный. Нынешняя жизнь как есть в со [...]

    7. Liked the idea of this book but it didn't work out for me. I didn't find the 'funny tales' particularly funny and the author often felt as if she was trying too hard. And there's only so much you can say about going through a lock.I love poking around a book shop as much as any other book lover, but equally I can fully understand why customers make a note of ISBN numbers and then go and order the book for half the price on line, or download it electronically. I'm afraid this book bored me and wa [...]

    8. This book would have gotten 2 stars were it not for some lovely gems of English language description. I found it very, very hard to sympathise with Sarah because she created so much drama herself by being ill-prepared. This made me cross because she was a liability, operating a narrowboat without a safety consideration. I felt that she had personally been on a 'journey' during this journey but hadn't really learnt much about herself other than a couple of pages summary at the end which, to give [...]

    9. I really wanted to love this book. The cover was charming, and I chose it among many others while I was shopping the crowded shelves of Shakespeare and Company. A lone woman campaigning for the plight of the independent bookseller by creating a floating and traveling book barge? Count me in! The challenge was that I found the book to be much more about the actual barge (navigating locks, canals, motors, etc.) than about bookselling. If nautical interests were my pursuit, I think I would have fou [...]

    10. I picked this one up as I work in a small indie bookstore. So the struggles of someone in a similar situation I thought would make for very interesting reading. The problems of customers using your store to browse and then telling you happily that they can get it cheaper online "but thanks for the ideas" and similar are very familiar. I have to say though that I think Sarah is possibly the worst business owner/sales person ever. She lives in fantasy land about cash flow and with such a quirky st [...]

    11. I did enjoy this little story however, at times I simply wanted to shake a little bit of common sense into Sarah. It is wonderful to be a dreamer but Sarah appeared to be very ill prepared for taking her dream out onto the canals. I was wondering if she actually exaggerated some of the events for shock purposes within the actual book, or if life had been just as she penned it? I particularly liked her section written from the point of view of the canal boat himself. The book did make for enterta [...]

    12. This book is a strange little gem, and though it often made my eyes widen slightly and wonder, even out loud at times, if the author was crazy, it's an extremely interesting tale, that never gets boring. I never once lost my appetite for this book, and it's various literary parallels and references, made me squeal a little in bookish glee. Overall a quirky, fun, and not afraid to get gritty story about a floating bookstore and his owner.

    13. First person account of a young bookshop owner and her narrow boat bookshop. Henshaw spent several months ravelling the canals of southern Britain in an attempt to keep her business alive, and she candidly relates her lack of experience and poor business skills. She is entertaining, and puts a humorous spin on her tales, but at times she descends into fantasy, which was difficult to separate from reality.

    14. Ugh, as if the author wasn't annoying enough, there's a section written from the boat's POV? No. Just no.

    15. This book was fun in parts, but it was largely about being inept at rowing and business. I enjoyed several sections in the first half, but couldn't really sympathise with Hernshaw's unpreparedness for just about anything she had to do. The book worsened as it moved into the second part, with the first-person boat section reminding me of the kind of essay I loathed writing at school. There was some redemption in the George Whitman section, before the letter went back into familiar territory. Com [...]

    16. Look, I love books I love reading I love bookshops or book barges or book train carriages whatever but I found this book a little hard to take. The author is constantly going off on weird tangents and into some kind of odd fantasyland of her own which equates to nothing when it comes to getting the story told. She is an oddball for sure.

    17. It's one thing following your dreams but what a terribly irresponsible woman! Aside from that, it was an entertaining enough read.

    18. Summary of the Book:Sarah Henshaw is a bookseller, but no ordinary book seller! SH takes the business to new places when she opens 'The Book Barge'. 'The Book Barge' is a narrow boat called 'Joseph' who has been emptied of its prior facilities and turned into a floating bookshop. Sarah had been open 2 years and business was very up and down, so one day SH decides to plot a 6 month trip around the U.K with a mission to share the plight of independent booksellers with the masses.In May 2011 SH lef [...]

    19. Her narrative doesn’t always steer a straight course, so that sometimes I thought I’d put my bookmark in the wrong place. “Haven’t I read this bit before?”Apart from that minor confusion, “The Bookshop that Floated Away” is a delight! It’s a case of someone having the gumption – or perhaps just naivete, to follow their bliss to wherever it leads.Forget business plans or any kind of financial savvy. Sarah Henshaw admits to having none of it, and of being impatient with experts ( [...]

    20. Sometimes I find Non-Fiction books difficult to read continuously. They very rarely maintain my attention for long and I often have to break up reading sessions with bouts of fiction- but this wasn't the case with this book. I discovered 'The Bookshop that Floated Away' by Sarah Henshaw in my local library, and once I started I couldn't put it down. The story follows Sarah Henshaw as she buys a narrow boat, converts it into a bookshop and then decides to travel around the canals of England for 6 [...]

    21. This book has sat on Mt. TBR for a fair while now. It was bought as a gift for me and looked good from the blurb on the back, but unfortunately the execution of the book was a disappointment.Henshaw herself says at the beginning that there are very few characters that are constant through the book. Pretty much just Sarah herself, Joseph the boat, and a few people who pop in and out such as her on-off boyfriend Stu and her parents. This gives the book a very disjointed feel as people appear for o [...]

    22. This gently eccentric memoir is for a somewhat specialised readership, which is why I'm not giving more stars. The author had a less than ideal business plan - to buy a barge, stock it with new books from wholesalers and sell the books. The barge she bought (with a loan from family after banks refused her) was topped up by more money to restore it, remove the plumbing and buy books. Sarah then spends the rest of the book bemoaning the lack of plumbing. Having run out of custom and with e-book sa [...]

    23. This is the true story of Sarah Henshaw and her book barge, the adventures of a former journalist who, deciding that city life wasn’t for her, decided to buy a barge (called ‘Joseph‘) and kit it out as a bookshop. Sarah and Joseph are normally moored at Barton Marina in the Midlands, not far from where I grew up, but this book covers the six months in which they hit the road (so to speak) to sell books across the country.Along the way, they get banned from Bristol, broken in to a couple of [...]

    24. A wonderful true story of slightly thick-headed entrepreneurship. Sarah Henshaw, with very little funds, research or planning decided to open a bookshop - a risky enough business these days, but to make things even harder for herself, she decided to open her bookshop in a narrow boat, and take it on tour across the country. This book is the tale of that tour. The boat is a wonderful and romantic ideal - trading books for a shower or a slice of Victoria sponge conjures such a beautiful image, but [...]

    25. "The Bookshop That Floated Away” - there’s an intriguing title if ever there was one, and an accurate one too.Now, the title and cover may make it sound like a chick-flick type of book, but it isn’t. I have to admit that that was jy first thought when I say my wife reading it. But in actual fact it is the very funny story of a real business (ad)venture undertaken by the author. In 2009 Sarah Henshaw decided to set up her own business – a bookshop on a barge. Unusual and certainly unique, [...]

    26. this is a book with so much potential - the idea of a floating bookshop sounds great and I would have thought would make a great story. However this book seems to start in the middle and jump about randomly with bits of stories that don't seem to go anywhere. The author seems to have taken on a floating bookshop with no idea about boats or business and then it all goes wrong - you don't feel sorry for her but rather sorry for her poor boyfriend, family and friends. She does have some adventures [...]

    27. Girl buys boat. Fills with books. Tries and fails to make a living by selling them.A very English, middle-class sort of gap yah. Think 'Wild', but in the Midlands, canals instead of mountains, and with little evidence of personal growth on the part of the narrator. A quick, easy read. Some nice vignettes, but personally I found her chipper, faux self-depracating style a bit grating and lacking much in the way of self-awareness. At pains to show how eloquent and well-read she is with references t [...]

    28. 2.5 stars. This reads more like a blog than a book and some parts are very funny and really insightful into her struggles to keep the bookshop literally and financially afloat. But too many times it became disjointed and incoherent and I found myself getting really annoyed with Sarah that she wasn't more business minded - the book barge could have done so much more!Nevertheless I always enjoy reading about independent bookshops and booksellers so it was worth the few hours I spent

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