By Hope Talbot, Second Year History
Nestled away on one of St. George’s bustling streets is an oasis of calm in the form of Two Six Four.
A bookshop that supports independent local makers, Two Six Four is the brainchild of two ambitious young freelancers keen to create a space that radiates community support and solidarity. In an area of Bristol where gentrification is reigning supreme, it’s a space that is dearly needed.
At their launch on a dreary November evening, I was welcomed in by owners Cat and Carla who radiated an almost infectious positivity and warmth. With prosecco and one of the most incredible charcuterie boards I’ve ever witnessed, I was immediately charmed.
Both long-term residents of Bristol, Cat and Carla recognise the ever-changing nature of the city, as well as the inaccessibility of new literature to disadvantaged groups. Attempting to alleviate this inequality, the pair have big plans for their store, with a book exchange and a pay-it-forward scheme currently in the works.
Likewise, the pair also want to challenge the mainstream canon of literature, which overwhelmingly caters to the same authors and publishers. In recognition of this, the store is organised by theme rather than author and genre, with niche publishers and writers scattered throughout.
Stocking translated works, new wave fiction, and a flurry of writers of colour who have been previously ignored by the canon, Two Four Six is refreshingly different in its collections.
In a time when money is scarce, and budgets are tight, I was admittedly surprised to see this new business starting up. Discussing this with Cat, she has cautious confidence, stating that ‘if we can make (Two Six Four) work at a time like this, we can make it work through anything’. Carla was similarly assured, explaining that freelance work has aptly prepared them for periods of feast and famine financially.
Whilst this business may be starting in a period of economic instability, St. George is seemingly a perfect location. As Bristol continues to expand, growing rent has pushed residents to the outer boroughs of the city, with St. George gaining popularity.
Overall, Two Six Four is a bookshop that centres on community care. In a time that feels particularly fraught, Two Six Four is a much-needed escape from the woes of real life. Being able to escape into its literature, and the cosiness only a bookshop can provide, it is sure to be a mainstay of St. George, and Bristol more broadly.
Featured Image: Courtesy of The Good Book Shop on Instagram, @goodbooksbristol
What book will you pick up from Two Six Four?