Where is Madoc Street? In Llandudno, of course. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that name, I really think the Welsh just throw in consonants willy-nilly to confuse English speakers. We used Victorian seaside town of Llandudno for our Northern Wales home base for three days. It’s a beautiful area of the world, gorgeous coastline, beautiful mountains, and a castle around every corner. One day the boys went golfing on a genuine ‘links’ course, and the girls, Kelsey and me, shopped and ate our way through the town. After stuffing ourselves at the Albert Pub and vowing to never eat at another restaurant in Llandudno, we started back to the hotel and tripped over three bookstores.
Siop Lyfrau Lewis Bookshop - Only marginally organized by genre, this store is a delight for those who love to sort through stacks of books to find a gem. Books are in a variety of conditions, some are pristine, others not so much. It’s really a treasure hunt type of store, it may be frustrating to dash in for a specific book, but perfect for good search. The books were cheaper than the going rates at Hay-on-Wye. I found Essays at Large by Solomon Eagle, the title reminded me of one of my favorite books, At Large and at Small by Anne Fadiman. For all I know her title is related to Eagle. If so, then the circle is complete because I bought his book in tribute to her. Plus, the title of the first essay is “Reading in Bed,” a favorite activity. Lord of the Flies was Kelsey’s required reading for the summer and we couldn’t find it in any of the Hay-on-Wye bookstores, but here, buried under a three foot stack of books, was a gold embossed edition. After successfully retrieving it without collapsing the tower of books on top of it, Kelsey wondered about it’s ‘cool factor.’ Is it better to have the paperback everyone will be reading or something different? I told her what I wish I understood at 13, it’s all about attitude. Mark it up to look well-read and thought over, then carry it with confidence.
There is a relatively large selection of Welsh books and cards. We bought a card that says “Happy Birthday” in Welsh, at least we think that’s what it says. Oh well, the recipient won’t know any better either. [Address: 21 Madoc St, Llandudno, Conway, UK Tel: 01492 877 7000]
Madoc Books – This is a stunningly beautiful store, practically an art gallery of books. It’s an antiquarian shop containing rows of shelves each filled with neatly placed and tagged leather bound books. I walked through enjoying running my hands over the books. While there was a smattering of literature, the focus was on history, natural history, travel, topography, religion, most with an emphasis on Wales. There are choices in English and Welsh. The books are pricey. This store is for the collector or people like me, the voyeur.
There is “best” list for everything in Great Britain, one day we were fortunate to visit the “best loo in Great Britain” and while it was quite nice, as bathrooms go, we found it humorous that such an award existed. Kelsey patiently waited for me to meander around the store curled up in what she declared the “best chair in Wales.” [Address: 5 Madoc St., Llandudno, Conway, UK Tel: 01492 871 590]
Beacon Books - A Christian bookstore combined with a fair trade crafts store, I was surprised to see an Indie Bound poster in the doorway. Beacon Books carries a selection of Christian fiction, Bibles, devotionals, and Bible study materials. The store caters to the entire age range from children, to YA, at adults. Much of the selection is similar to US Christian bookstores, but the baked goods sure looked tempting. [Address: 30 Madoc St., Llandudno, Conway, UK Tel: 01492 877995]