Soneva Fushi’s Barefoot Bookseller
How my morning begins
My day in the Barefoot Bookshop begins when I bring a stack of hardback books out to our veranda. There, I display them on a desk made of sanded down slabs of wood and I sit and read a while as guests pass by on their way to breakfast. There is always a little post-breakfast rush, when guests arrive merry and full, looking forward to the day ahead. Most mornings, I find myself in many wild and varied conversations, usually sparked by the same question, ‘What do you like to read?’. It’s amazing how excited someone can get when asked this question. Sometimes, people know right off the bat, but other times they have to take a moment to think about it, and reflect on their favourite books. It’s such a wonderful way to learn a little about someone you’ve just met.
When the bookshop has a breath, I try to get some writing done for the Barefoot Bookshop blog, or I do a little more reading of my own. I’m slowly working my way through every shelf, as all good booksellers should. During my time here, I’ve fallen in love with short story collections. We have the full set of Everyman’s Pocket Classics and they’re wonderfully curated. From ‘Love Stories’ to ‘Stories of the Sea’ and, my favourite, ‘Intoxicating Stories’; they’ve pulled together a comprehensive and diverse array of little tales, all unified under one theme. They are really popular with guests who like to dip in and out of different worlds, or be introduced to a variety of writers at once.
My coveted lunch-break
My outrageous lunch-break has made me the envy of the island. At three hours long, it’s a dreamy way to spend the afternoon, and in the perfect place too! I head to the Host canteen, I go swimming or scuba-diving, I lie on the beach reading or writing and I put into practice Soneva’s ‘Slow Life’ mantra. It’s a wonderful way to make the most of the sunshine and I always feel my energy has been reset before I head back into the bookshop for the evening.
Creative writing classes for guests
Often, I’ll host creative writing classes in the bookshop. Most of the time guests arriving on the island are here for a holiday from busy and stressful lives, and they suddenly find they have the time to be creative. I really love hosting these classes, because no two are the same, and although they are meant to be challenging, it’s also relaxing to spend an hour or two channelling all your energy into something creative. I love reading what’s produced from these sessions and often I’ll stay in touch with my students. It’s always so wonderful to hear that someone has left the island but has continued to incorporate reading or writing into their daily life.
Closing time comes just before dinner, when I retrieve the books that are out on the porch and restock our happily shrinking shelves, getting them ready for the morning ahead.