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Hay-on-Wye, The Town of Books: Background information when reading The Bookman's Tale

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The Bookman's Tale

A Novel of Obsession

by Charlie Lovett

The Bookman's Tale
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  • First Published:
    May 2013, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2014, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Hay-on-Wye, The Town of Books

The Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye When Peter discovers the watercolor of the woman that resembles his dead wife, he is standing in a bookshop in the small town of Hay-on-Wye, Wales, in the United Kingdom. This town, known as the town of books, has a population of 1,500 but boasts nearly 30 bookstores. Hay-on-Wye is about three to four hours' driving distance from London.

Hay-on-Wye evolved into its current status beginning in the 1960s when a bookseller, Robert Booth, decided to start collecting used books from around the English speaking world and bringing them home. Since then the small Welsh-border town has become a mecca of sorts for book lovers. The stores specialize in second-hand books with some bookstores selling antiquarian books, some specializing in maps, and others peddling popular paperbacks. In the late 70s Booth decided that the town would become its own "kingdom" with "home rule" and declared himself as king.

A bookstore in the Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye Booth's particular brand of zaniness lives on. In a town overflowing with books...

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