The Blackpool Bookseller

Captain’s Log #004

Clara Zoellner
3 min readMay 10, 2022
The second-hand books bought at the shop

As I embark on a mission to the post office, I wander through Blackpool’s streets, determined to find the road less travelled — at least by me. Too often have I walked the same way, and frankly I was getting bored of it.

Standing at a traffic light, I gaze around and am quickly rewarded for my longer route. I spot a tiny sign in a window, written in shaky letters, almost childlike: Books. Curiosity getting the better of me, I climb up a tight staircase tucked in next to a lingerie shop and suddenly find myself in a sea of books.

There are books everywhere, from the floor to the ceiling. The shop is really just a random flat with individual rooms full of books, rather than one big show room. Everything is meticulously organized from German literature (in English) to feminist authors (Agatha Christie) over to navy themed thrillers.

The shop owner himself sits somewhere by the window in room number four behind a wall of books. The captain of an almighty ship welcoming the traveller on board. Instead of a hello he greets me with a strange question: So what school did you go to? I stumble across my words and say I even went to university to which he promptly says: What are you doing now then?

I don’t know, I truthfully tell him. I want to say: I’m writing, living, soul searching but I leave it at that.

We chat about university and where I’m from and eventually I tell him the truth, that I don’t really know what to do. He suggests a couple jobs in Blackpool, adamant to keep me in this town rather than moving to the big city. In the end he settled on:

“You still have time, you only really need to decide when you’re 50.”

— But quickly assured me that even him, who seems to be well above this cut off point, also doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Hearing these words from people of all ages over the past couple years and now from the Blackpool Bookseller always feels like little pieces of therapy. Each time a small reminder that no one knows what the fuck to do and we’re all just tired of pretending.

Keeping in mind my light luggage, I end up buying two tiny poetry books — as one simply doesn’t seem enough. One chosen for a fantastic glimpse into a poem about avoiding being a bore and the other one on the sole base that someone spilled their thoughts on the pages for me to decipher. I can’t wait to unite them with the other random poetry books I’ve collected over the years.

The poems responsible for luring me in

Sometimes you find these little places of peace in the universe where time seems to stop and energy engulfs you in ways you haven’t felt for a while. The Blackpool Bookseller was kind enough to unintentionally gift me one of these special moments and unbeknownst to him will now be the origin story behind these two newly acclaimed poetry books.

If you are in the area and want to give the Blackpool Bookseller a visit, you can find the shop at 61 Cookson St, Blackpool FYI 3DR.



Clara Zoellner

3rd culture kid currently exploring the wonders of the UK