Monday 13 December 2021

Independent Bookseller Feature no 14: Claire Grint of COGITO BOOKS, Hexham, chooses EXPECTATION by Anna Hope

"Beautifully realised characters, elegant, emotionally direct prose and clever fluid structure." 

"Cogito Books has been in my family since we first opened our doors in 2001. I became much more involved with the shop after graduating, so it was a natural transition for me to take over the business when my Dad retired. With a small but dedicated team of three experienced booksellers, we put the customer at the centre of everything we do – and we love nothing better than sharing recommendations and talking about books.

A family business from the outset, Cogito Books was established by my Dad back in 2001. I joined him in 2005, then  took over when he retired in July 2012. I love books and people, so running a bookshop has always been a perfect combination for me. The relationships we build with customers are absolutely central to what we do – and nothing beats the feeling of helping someone to find the perfect book and hearing that they enjoyed it.

What makes our bookshop unique? The relationships we build with customers are absolutely central to what we do – from discovering their reading tastes to knowing the details of their lives. We’re lucky to be at the centre of a thriving community, running three monthly book groups in addition to author events and weekly storytelling sessions for children. Customers often comment on the sheer range and breadth of books we stock; being independent, we’re lucky to be able to get behind books we love and to provide a curated, personalised experience." Claire Grint

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This novel is utterly luminous; the lives of friends Cate, Hannah and Lissa leaping straight out from the page and resonating in the very deepest sense, as we’re invited to recognise and celebrate the experiences which mould us as human beings. The novel pivots around the year 2010, where we find Cate struggling to cope with new motherhood and her in-laws, Hannah undergoing gruelling IVF treatment and Lissa beginning to think that she’s running out of time to achieve success as an actress. The past is then woven into the present, with subsequent sections diving back through the years to reveal more about the roots of the women’s friendship; the experiences which created it and those which are beginning to fracture it on both subtle and dramatic lines. 

The issues in the novel are ones we can all recognise; examining friendship, feminism and family in our complicated century. The beautifully realised characters, elegant, emotionally direct prose and clever fluid structure create a portrait of lives both full and vivid yet tinged with the melancholy of regret. The novel tells of chances not taken, of mistakes made; of the gap between expectation and our often painful, compromised yet ultimately precious reality.

Expectation is published by Transworld.

Personal book recommendation

Team 20th birthday celebration: Claire Grint, Hilary McCallum and Jenny Tattersall

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