The Open Book: Sigrid van der Laan

16 December 2014

Welcome to Sigrid van der Laan who is our current resident running The Open Book. Here she tells us about her first ten days. 


Being in between jobs, I didn't need to think twice when I got the chance to run a bookshop in Scotland for six weeks. For a romantic Dutch city girl it was like

‘Notting Hill’ and ‘ Braveheart’  came together ;-)


Fairytale world

I saw myself sitting between piles of books, with the smell of paper and ink, reading my favourite story. Outside was the grey cold of a Scottish winter. Music playing in the background; cups of tea, a cat snoring on my lap, interesting people buying (of course) lots of books. A fairytale world with a magic edge, helping me run away from mundane reality.


Candy store

Ten days have passed since I started at the Open Book. It's almost exactly like I imagined, but without the steady flow of customers buying piles of books. I can't believe people are not rushing to this candy store full of books begging to be read J The quiet period before Christmas however gives me some time to get to know my books.



I’m surrounded by paperback fiction, ranging from classical novels (Dickens, Austen, Poe) to modern ones (the Millennium Trilogy, a must read!). There is crime and fantasy. There is Scottish literature and culture. A wide selection of nature, mythology, gardening, politics, children’s books... When the shop is quiet, I browse the shelves. This is luxury. I feel like I am twelve years old again - totally absorbed by a story, my mum had to call me four times for tea. Luckily the shop doorbell rings when a client comes in ;-).


School kids and Russian brides

Customers. There’s the middle aged lady from Dumfries, doing her usual tour of bookshops when waiting for the bus. A couple of Wigtown school kids reading each other stories on the beanbags in the children's corner. The Russian bride, determined to find books from her home country. A teacher from Glasgow School of Art with his mission to help restore the collection of the fire-hit library (Yes! he found a book).


Please step in to see our motley collection of books. I’m sure you’ll find one that catches your eye, even when there are only a few pounds to spend ;-)