Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising
For a book lover, the smell of a secondhand bookshop can be as intoxicating as the most expensive perfume.

For me, the familiar dusky cinnamon scent is a powerful allure and I can happily lose myself for hours between bookshelves, combing, browsing and poring over books, books and more books. How lucky we are, then, to have such a shop on our doorstep right here in Abergavenny. Broadleaf Books, located at 16 Monk Street, is an Aladdin’s cave, brimming with an abundant and eclectic range of books from Natural History to Art and Photography.

When I recently met up with owner Joanna Chambers, who has been in the book business for over twenty years, she explained to me that every single book in the shop has been personally and carefully selected and sourced by her. That’s quite mind boggling, considering the quantity and variety of books she has in stock. In fact, Joanna has no fewer than thirty-five sections of books, all reasonably priced and in excellent condition.

Joanna takes me on a tour of her shop and, as she pulls books from shelves, opening them to reveal stunning bookplates, wonderful dust jackets and typography, it’s evident that she is passionate about her trade. There’s something about the way she talks about books which conveys a deep appreciation and love for them. Every now and then a customer enters the shop and Joanna is quick to attend to them, knowing in an instant whether she has the kind of book in stock that will suit. On the day I visited she had requests for books on butterflies and moths and old plays to name a few. In each case, her customers left with a book or two under their arm, delighted with their purchases. While Joanna attends to one of her customers, another comments that this is his favourite shop in the world. ‘In fact,’ he says, correcting himself, ‘it’s my favourite shop in the universe…and you can quote me on that!’

It’s somewhat of a cliché to say that there is something here for everyone, but in this case I’d say it’s true. At every turn I find myself selecting books from the shelf, announcing that this one would be a great Christmas present for so-and-so. And, with the variety of books available, you would be hard-pressed not to find something special to make the perfect gift. What could be more personal than presenting your friends and loved-ones with a beautifully bound, yet reasonably priced book on the subject of their interest?
Joanna knows her bookshop inside out, and she welcomes her customers with enthusiasm. She effortlessly practises the fine art of being helpful while permitting her clientele the space in which to make their own discoveries. And, I assure you, there are delightful discoveries to be made. After spending time chatting to Joanna, I took myself off to one of the little rooms, housing cookery and baking books. I could have left with countless volumes, but resisted the temptation and settled for a couple that took my particular fancy, vowing that I’d be back!

Broadleaf Books is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Give yourself plenty of time to visit, as I promise that once you step inside and lose yourself among the books, you won’t want to leave!

Broadleaf Books, 16 Monk Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5NP. Good quality, interesting books considered for purchase. Tel: 01873 857 127


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