Why did you choose your house?
Perhaps it was schools, family or transport links that helped make the decision. For me, it was the book shop! I live around the corner from a very good book shop - and that's not an accident!
The joy of a good book shop within walking distance can never be overlooked - estate agents should include this in their home specifications. - like good schools or west-facing garden.
I love my local book shop. Over that last five years, the staff have learned my taste in fiction and don't roll their eyes when I pop in looking for something as vague as, 'a good read - something not too dark - but it needs to arouse emotion - well written - good first page.' Instead, they bring me novels, telling me who else in the shop has read it and what they thought. Within minutes I have an armful of books to choose from - a pleasant but difficult task.
I could visit the chains with their Buy one, get one... promotions, but it's not the same atmosphere. All those identical books laid out on identical tables don't prompt that sense of excitement. And the online retailers who analyse our reading habits and send us emails beginning 'Readers who liked...also liked...' leave me cold.
Of course, my husband doesn't know that we live in our house because it's around the corner from a good book shop. He thinks we moved there because it didn't need a lot of work and has a small garden. He thinks the decision was entirely practical. It was!
Would you like to know the name of my local book shop? You needn't know it, there are so many other terrifically independent book shops around the country that give similar service. But I'll tell you anyway - Jaffe & Neale, Chipping Norton.
If you visit, tell them I sent you.