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  • Two Roads
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The Corner Shop: A BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick

Babita Sharma

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Social & cultural history, Migration, immigration & emigration

A personal story from the child of corner shop owners that explores how these tiny open-all-hours shops changed our country -- as heard on Saturday Live, and a Radio 4 Book of the Week. Shortlisted for Business Book of the Year 2020: An Exceptional Book that Promotes Diversity.

'Nuanced, human and engaging' Nikesh Shukla, Observer
'Full of life, characters, gossip and all the richness of the local community' Sir David Jason
'A delightful story of growing up "above the shop"' Nigel Slater, Observer
'Cleverly links her own memories of shop-bound life with the last 50 years of British history' Spectator

'I come from a hidden world: I am the daughter of shopkeepers. I've seen you on a Sunday morning, nipping out to get a pint of milk or to grab a newspaper. I came to know a lot about you; whether your politics leaned to the right or left, whether you were gay or straight, and whether you were plagued by cash-flow problems or had enough disposable income to indulge your penchant for Cadbury's Creme Eggs.'

Babita Sharma was raised in a corner shop in Reading, and over the counter watched a changing world, from the clientele to the products to the politics of the day. Along with the skills to mop a floor perfectly and stack a shelf, she gained a unique insight into a shifting landscape - and an institution that, despite the creep of supermarkets, online shopping and delivery, has found a way to evolve and survive - and is now once again keeping us all going.

From the general stores of the first half of the 20th century (one of which was run by the father of a certain Margaret Thatcher), to the reimagined corner shops run by immigrants from India, East Africa and Eastern Europe from the 60s to the noughties, the corner shop has shaped the way we shop, the way we eat, and the way we understand ourselves.


'A triumph' Radio Times
'A compelling, full selection box of a story' Sanjeev Kohli
'One of the best books I've read on the immigrant experience in this country' Daily Mail
'I loved it cover to cover' Angela Clutton, author of The Vinegar Cupboard

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Praise for The Corner Shop: A BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick

  • A delightful story of growing up "above the shop" - Nigel Slater, Observer

  • One of the best books I've read of the immigrant experience in this country . . . it's the detail that makes it . . . a subtle, enjoyable book. - Daily Mail

  • A story of assimilation and triumph. - Radio Times

  • Full of life, characters, gossip and all the richness of the local community

  • A compelling, full selection box of a story

  • I loved it cover to cover. - Angela Clutton, author of THE VINEGAR CUPBOARD

  • Part memoir, part social history, The Corner Shop is a gentle, charming and at times poignant look at our nation of shopkeepers . . . human, accessible and informative; a nuanced exploration of part of British Asian life that has long been stereotyped - and therein lies this book's strength. - Observer

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Babita Sharma

Babita Sharma is a journalist, TV presenter and news anchor for the BBC. She presents Newsday on BBC World News, covering major global news events including the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore, the EU Referendum, the Rio Olympics and the award-winning BBC 100 Women series. Passionate about diversity and mental health issues, Babita mentors BAME journalists and also works with the charity Mind.

Babita presented BBC Two's Dangerous Borders: The Story of India & Pakistan. The documentary series took Babita to the India/Pakistan border 70 years after Partition, following in the footsteps of her family who were directly affected. The Corner Shop is her first book. It follows her critically acclaimed documentary Booze, Beans & Bhajis: The Story of the Corner Shop broadcast on BBC Four, BBC News Channel and BBC World News. Babita is married and lives in London.

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