Diary of a small town sensation: how the Wimpy Kid author built his dream bookshop
Growing up, Jeff Kinney discovered Tolkien, comics and computers at his local bookshop. When it closed he was bereft – would opening his own as an adult help to right that wrong?
Author Jacqueline Woodson recently spoke about books being either mirrors or windows. Mirrors for seeing ourselves, and windows for seeing into other worlds. Growing up, I enjoyed both types of books, from the realistic contemporary fiction of Judy Blume to the epic fantasy of JRR Tolkien. I had access to books by these and every author in between courtesy of a bookstore a short drive from my house. I didn’t understand my privilege then, but I’ve come to understand it better over time.
In the short time that it was open, I developed interests that would shape my career. I grew up at the advent of personal computing, and the books I read helped me along a path to becoming a programmer. I also developed a deep appreciation for comics, thanks to an expansive humour section at the bookstore. Those comic collections helped to prepare me for my dream career as a cartoonist. Had we not had a bookstore nearby during my formative years, I would have grown up to be a completely different person.
We’ve had several romances develop from first dates in the cafe, and one couple is getting married this autumn