Bookseller at the End of the World, The

Shaw, Ruth

  18 Reviews

By any measure, New Zealander Ruth Shaw has led an extraordinary life, whether it was sailing the Pacific, working with drug addicts and prostitutes in Sydney's Kings Cross, feeding archbishops or running a charter boat around Fiordland.

Equal parts adventure and loss, Ruth's eventful life has had one constant - books - and now to the delight of the reading public, she runs wee bookshops in Manapouri.

Captivating and honest, this is a fascinating memoir that combines the wisdom of a passionate reader with the story of an unconventional life shaped by tragedy but redeemed by courage and determination.



AUCK 335
A very readable book enjoyed by all. Most found the story of Ruth's life more interesting than the sections about the bookshops because her life was in many ways dangerous and exciting and so different from ours. Most of our discussion was centred around her dreadful rape at the age of fourteen, the reactions to it, the consequences for her and the lack of consequences for the youths who perpetrated it. We generally agreed that rape and other forms of sexual abuse are still far too common today.
What a great book to start us off on our year's reading! What a woman! A, a contemporary, and such a book lover. We admired her courage and ability to make the most of opportunities that came her way, and generally to survive and make the best of her life. Through many trials to a happy ending. Truly inspiring. We liked the way she interspersed each life episode with a cheering little story about the bookshops.
TAUP 011
Everybody enjoyed this book and were amazed at what Ruth had done with her life. We particularly enjoyed her writing style, and the way the autobiography was interspersed with the recollections from the Book Shop. An excellent book for the start of our year.
All but one loved this book and couldn't put it down, the other 'enjoyed' it. Initially some were unsure about the structure with the two stories, but as it progressed it worked. A number of members want to visit the bookshop in Manapouri.
All of our group absolutely loved this book! Being a 'southern' group. Many of us have actually visited the "Two Wee Bookshops", so enjoyed reading and learning about Ruth's incredible/remarkable and at times, terrifying journey. A great read from an amazing lady.
CHCH 449
We all loved this book. One of our members knows Ruth from Naseby days and has caught up with her in recent years. Some of our members have visited her book shops in Manapouri. But, all that aside, we all enjoyed Ruth's easy style of writing and reading of her life and adventures. It has even inspired some to write their own stories.
AUCK 353
Everyone enjoyed the book - made us want to visit Manapouri. One person said it was the best book this year.
CHCH 558
An engaging and easy but gripping read. An interesting glimpse into someone else's life, who they met, what they did. Members from overseas enjoyed getting a feel of how life in NZ was in the past. Some of the topics are disturbing - and one member mentioned that some trigger warning would have been advisable - and some members felt that there was a lack of depth in exploring some of these topics, perhaps because the author wasn't comfortable doing it. Summarised as a grandma's love letter from a rambling lady in a bookshop, with a nostalgia for a time they never had.
WELL 181
Group all enjoyed this book very much. Found it to be very relatable and easy to read. We admired Ruth's courage and boldness, and found her quite inspirational.
Most loved this book, very real, honest, poignant and at times hilarious. A descriptive life journey showing events that shaped and influenced a life of courage and determination. The vignettes of people in the shops interspersed with Ruth's story kept the pace cracking along and lengthening her past history. Definitely recommend.
We all enjoyed this book, the first book we have had consensus on. It was brave and honest, and invoked a good discussion about the author and our own lives. We found it an easy read which encapsulated traumatic material/events, and a full and interesting life. We enjoyed the stories within stories and her colourful adventures sailing, and with different people and men in her life.
We all loved this book. Beautifully written and a great story that generated an interesting discussion.
RICH 005
Wow! What an amazing book - what an amazing life Ruth Shaw has had. This book was loved by our entire group and led to a great discussion. One of our group had been in the Wrens with Ruth and another works with someone who had been at school with her, both were surprised at her life experience. We felt she was trying to escape her experience 'in the bus'. We all came to the conclusion that our lives have been 'very ordinary' by comparison.
'A brave book', 'a wonderful story-teller', 'couldn't stop reading it', 'the bookshop stories were fascinating and a tribute to the empathy of the author'.
ROTO 003
We all loved this book... a candid, honest retelling of the author's life! Discussion about different times; flight from difficult situations/relationships.
Entertaining and very readable. We would all like to visit Manapouri, and visit the 'Bookseller' and other shops.
CHCH 544
We loved the book. Easy to read. Flicking between times made it interesting. We got the feeling that the author was now at peace and happy. There were horrible parts though - like the rape. People liked the stories about her life rather than the bookshop stories.
Our entire group overwhelmingly enjoyed this book. Covering so many topics and many small kindnesses - there was much discussion. Everyone agreed they would thoroughly recommend, and most were very keen to visit Ruth and the bookshops in Manapouri. A few of our group found rape a really hard/confronting topic, and others, the baby loss. But on the whole we really enjoyed this super read.