Here at Frugi, we believe it's so important to encourage others to explore new worlds, go on adventures, connect with others and promote curiosity and lifelong learning.
One of the ways we can achieve this is by losing ourselves in a good book! That's why at Frugi Bloom, we've teamed up with our friends at Falmouth Bookseller to bring you carefully curated seasonal reading lists that we hope will be helpful, captivating and inspiring.
Each reading list will contain books of varying genres, so whether you love exploring imaginary worlds or perhaps you prefer learning about our own, we've got you covered!
We chatted to Eloise, the Manager of Falmouth Bookseller, about the shop, the team's favourite books and why it's so important to support local, independent businesses.
Please tell us about the background of Falmouth Bookseller.
There's been an independent bookshop in Falmouth for probably over 50 years, but in its present incarnation it's been about 30 years.
Ron Johns is the owner and has over 50 years' experience in the book trade, opening his first bookshop in Plymouth when he was in his 20s, and he now also has bookshops in Padstow and St Ives.
We're located in the middle of Church Street on Falmouth's High Street, in the middle of the hubbub of our wonderful vibrant town.
Do you stock a variety of genres or specialise in certain ones?
We are lucky to have a really diverse customer base, so we try to stock well-chosen selections across the board. Aside from fiction, some particular genres we pay close attention to are art and design, cookery (a personal favourite) and our nautical and local titles. We also have a great children’s range filled with beautiful and unusual books.
Tell us a bit about Falmouth.
Falmouth is a great little town! We're lucky that whilst we are seasonal it's not quite to the same extent as places like St Ives. Of course, we have an influx of tourists in the summer months, but we also have a strong year round population and Christmas is probably our busiest time of year.
Our town team is also brilliant at organising events year-round. I think a personal favourite will always be the Shanty Festival, when the whole town comes alive, and this summer we've also got the return of tall ships which is quite a spectacle.
In the town itself we have a huge selection of superb restaurants and bars that are sure to cater to everyone's taste buds and lots of unique little independent shops to explore. We also have beautiful beaches and stunning sunrises (if you can get up early enough), and we even have a castle!
Who is in the team and if they were stuck on a desert island, which book would they want with them?
Ron's desert island book would almost certainly be a Murakami, although he is currently working his way through The Diaries of Samuel Pepys, so that would at least keep him occupied for a while!
I think I'd have to have The Lord of the Rings with me because escaping into an entire fantasy world is very appealing.
Of our booksellers, Olivia would take a big book of fairy tales because they are dark, daring, wise, romantic, and always her favourites.
Emily's choice is suitably Cornish; she picks Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, a truly absorbing dramatic story.
Maddy's pick is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon as it's just the right mix of gripping adventure, history and wonderful characters.
Maisie would take one of her favourite books, Circe by Madeline Miller. Circe ends up on an island of her own too and has plenty of magic and strength to share.
Summer is nearly here! What are the team’s favourite UK holiday destinations?
Ron is an avid glider pilot, so he regularly travels around the UK for gliding holidays, his chosen spot usually being Yorkshire or Scotland.
I also went to Scotland for the first time a couple of years ago and it is stunning, rural and wild just like Cornwall, only a bit chillier.
Olivia is Cornish through and through and can't think of a better answer than Cornwall!
Emily enjoys a trip up to the New Forest, not too far away but a wholly different change of scene.
Maddy loves a trip to London for a dose of museums and posh dining, but only for a couple of days until the frantic pace becomes too much and she wants to escape back down South.
Maisie will take anywhere leafy, rural and fresh to explore but always wants to return to the sea.
Have you had any famous faces visit your bookstore or do readings there?
We've been lucky over the years to have been visited officially and unofficially by lots of famous faces, from sailing royalty such as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to cult heroes like Rik Mayall!
Probably the most famous recent event we held was with Michael Palin and he really is a lovely as people say!
We also often see people pop in whilst on holiday in Falmouth, including as Dawn French, Jeremy Paxman and Ben Fogle.
Like everyone, we’re sure that COVID-19 has had a big impact on your business, especially with the shop shutting on several occasions. How did you find the transition to just selling online during the lockdowns?
It's been a very steep learning curve and in some ways this has just sped up a process we've been working on for a while, although I'd rather have had a few months instead of about a week to launch an entire online shop!
Whilst it has nowhere near matched our usual trade, people have been wonderfully supportive through it all. The first lockdown was a bit ropey, but the website and email orders were building steadily and so many of the messages we received were just lovely. We've had orders from those who would normally visit us during the holidays, and it's been such a fun and encouraging experience hearing from each one of them.
We moved events online, which opened a much wider pool of authors, and it is certainly something we want to continue alongside in-person events as we go back to 'normal'.
Why is it important for people to support local, independent businesses such as yourselves?
Local indie businesses make your town.
They are what makes each place unique and are quite often the hub of a community, but essentially it comes down to if you don't use us, we will be gone.
Supporting your local independents is putting money straight back into your own community to help them not just survive but grow and thrive.
There is also something very special about independent shops – each book we sell, whether in person or online, is going to a person, not just an order number.
If you aren’t sure what you want, or you want something we don't have, I guarantee you independent businesses will go out of their way to help you, and if they can't, they'll still try and recommend you someone who can. The most important thing is that you walk away happy.
What makes Falmouth Bookseller special?
The staff and our knowledge make us special – algorithms do a job, but nothing beats telling a bookseller how much you loved a book for them to share the same enthusiasm and excitedly start recommending you others.
Our team all read such vastly different things and our knowledge is second to none, you name a genre... one of us will have read something we can recommend.
We are also lucky to have a good-sized bookshop that means we can stock a treasure trove of books beyond the bestseller lists, and sometimes it's those gems you stumble upon that you didn't know you needed.
Most importantly, we're a bookshop full of readers. We simply love books and genuinely want people to enjoy the books they walk away with.
And finally, what is the best thing about being a bookseller?
There are lots of great perks to being a bookseller, early warning on new titles, exciting and sometimes unexpected proofs, staff discount (how else would we fund our reading habits!?), but it really is sharing the love of reading that is the best part.
You'd be amazed at how emotionally invested you become when recommending a personal favourite to someone and the joy when they come back to tell you they loved it!
Miss Benson's Beetle
by Rachel Joyce
Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job, looking for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition for a beetle that may or may not exist. Enid Pretty is not the companion Margery had in mind, but on their journey, they risk everything and discover their best selves.
by Alison Davies
This beautifully illustrated collection of narrative bedtime meditations for adults will help you sleep well and wake up prepared for any challenge. Wave goodbye to stress and anxiety as you reconnect with nature and escape to different parts of the natural world in each story.
Rhapsody in Green
by Charlotte Mendelson
Charlotte Mendelson only owns six square meters of urban soil and a few pots, but she is an extreme gardener and the creator of a tiny, edible jungle. She explores her experiences, prejudices and passions, and learns how gardening, however peculiar, can save your life.