Home

The Book-Finding Fairy makes a reappearance…

34 Comments

I’ve been purposely ignoring the charity shops lately, as it’s not as if the TBR mountain isn’t teetering; plus my reading speed has been surprisingly slow, and I keep getting distracted by cheap crafting supplies (that’s another story…) However, for some reason I felt the call of the Sense charity shop as I passed by it yesterday, and as I hadn’t visited it for a while I decided to drop in – which I was obviously meant to do…

pet dovlatov

The first two finds are particularly exciting as they’re both books that have been on my mental wishlist for a while – so to find them in excellent condition for only £1 each was a treat. They’re really not the usual type of thing that turns up in the Sense shop, so I can’t help thinking they were meant for me…

wandererI took a punt on the Hamsun, as I couldn’t remember if I had this one or not (I have several of his titles) but fortunately I didn’t – so I’m really glad I did pick it up!

The Oxfam hasn’t had quite such brilliant stock recently, and their literature section really isn’t very well curated or organised. Everything is in the wrong category or order (though they haven’t got the howlers Sense has – Anna Karenina shelved by author under K…..) However, this caught my eye:

the russian girl

I’m keen to explore more of Amis senior’s work and so I thought I’d give this a try. I already have a couple of recent postal arrivals by Amis too, it’s just finding the time to read them:

amis x 2

I’ve read good things about both of them, and so I have high hopes!

Finally, I thought I’d share a couple of incoming volumes via my dear friend J. who, noting my interest in Soviet sci-fi, procured them from a book dealer friend of hers.

more soviet sci fi

Since both feature the Strugatsky brothers, I’m rather excited! Now I just need to focus myself on *actually reading*!!!!

Leicester Comes Up Trumps Again!

35 Comments

Last weekend was a bit of a busy one, as we had to take Youngest Child back to Leicester for her final year at the university there. It’s always a bit of a dash, taking up most of Saturday (and weekends are precious when I’m back at work); but we knew we would see Eldest and Middle Child too, so that would be nice! I didn’t expect to be doing any bookshop haunting as time was so tight, and it was frustrating to know that the lovely Lorus Charity shop is not far away…

However, en route I got a call from Middle Child who was in the very same shop, and who proceeded to fire off a load of Virago titles at me to see if they were ones I wanted – and three of them were!

lorus

Left to right, we have a Mary Hocking (Indifferent Heroes), a Victoria Glendinning non-fiction Virago (A Suppressed Cry) and very excitingly, Infinite Riches, a collection of short stories. The latter is very existing and timely, as I was only reading about it on Buried In Print’s lovely blog the other day, and this particular copy is in amazingly good condition.  So huge thanks go to Middle Child, Ace Virago-Finder!

It was lovely to see all three offspring together, and we made such good time on the journey home that I had time to pop into town for some errands. And as I was dropped at the far end of town where I don’t normally venture, I decided to visit the Mind charity shop which I don’t often frequent (although they do have good books – I picked up a Slightly Foxed hardback last time!) Surprisingly enough, there were treats to be found here too:

mind

Yes, I *know* there are already two copies of “The Return of the Soldier” in the house; but this is a beautiful, first generation Virago in again amazingly good condition, and well worth 90p of anyone’s money. The Solzhenitsyn sounds fascinating – ’nuff said.

I guess going to the Oxfam was reckless – and when I got inside to find that they were having a 49p sale and that the sale table was plastered with old orange Penguins, green crime Penguins and blue Pelicans (amongst others), I did rather have the vapours. But I exercised strict restraint and only came home with these:

oxfam 49p

Well, you hardly ever see Aldiss in second hand shops. And I know something about Constant Lambert but I can’t remember what it is – no doubt all will become clear eventually.

So today’s Viragos are rather wonderful:

3 viragos

And the last couple of weeks has brought me 7 lovely Viragos in total:

7 viragos

The question is – what to read next???

… in which I am reminded why I love library sales!

25 Comments

And also the local charity shops, of course. I *have* been diligently taking books to donate every week I can recently, as many as I can carry (and this week’s pile was particularly heavy). However, that hasn’t stopped the incoming volumes, and I suspect the ratio of out to in is only keeping the amount of books in the house static 😦

Nevertheless, this week’s finds were particularly lovely! The first came from the Samaritans Book Cave, where I mostly donate:

ship

 

I used to read a *lot* of sci-fi/fantasy in my youth, but have tended to drift away from it. But it’s been rather calling to me, and I never did read McCaffrey, so I thought I would give this a whirl. I think it’s one of her more famous titles, plus it has a lovely vintage cover! 🙂

Next up was a call into the Oxfam, who were having a buy one, get one half price promotion on all their fiction:

wildwood hatchett

Another Nigel Williams title – yay! And no, I don’t know why Wildwood was shelved with fiction either, but I came home with these two for less than £3 which has to be good. Roger Deakin seems to get plaudits everywhere so I’m looking forward to this.

And finally I had to return a library book, so it would have been rude not to check out their summer book sale, especially as this nice Hesperus volume screamed at me while I passed:

unmade

And it cost – 20p…..

I now have three lovely Francoise Sagan volumes, all different editions and all lovely in their own way@

sagans

I reviewed Bonjour Tristesse here a while back, and I recently read A Certain Smile, which I will eventually get round to reviewing. Sagan’s an intriguing writer, capturing very much her time and her age in the first two books I’ve read – I’ll be interested to see what her other works bring!

So some nice (and very reasonably priced!) finds! It’s a shame libraries can’t hold on to all their stock, but it does work to my advantage sometimes… 😉

 

Serendipity strikes again!

18 Comments

I missed out on my usual visit to charity shops last weekend as we had to hop off to Leicester to fetch home Youngest Child for the summer (and say a fleeting hello to Middle and Eldest Child). However, I decided I *would* donate a few more big books today so of course I had to cast an eye over the shelves in the Samaritan’s Book Cave just to see if there was anything of interest. And indeed there was…

wimbledon

I’ve been on the look out for more of Williams’ books since loving his “Two and Half Men in a Boat” recently – in particular any of the Wimbledon Poisoner series. So although I’m going off collected omnibus volumes, the three books in one for £1 was impossible to resist. The books have seen a bit of wear and water, I think, but will be fine as a reading copy!

And in the Oxfam, this caught my eye:

socialist

Not that I’m really *collecting* these vintage Penguin poetry collections or anything (ahem!) – but this looked intriguing and too good to miss. There’s an amazing array of poets included and I’m going to try to train myself to dip into things like this, instead of thinking I have to read them all the way through!

So – five chunksters out and two in (I’m counting the Williams as one!)

socialist poison

But I think I will try to improve the ratio a little more in future….

…and I was doing so well!

12 Comments

I certainly was! I have been trying (and succeeding) not to buy any books lately. Not only is the festive season (and my birthday!) approaching, a time when I’m very likely to receive books, but also the shelves are still bulging despite my clearing out earlier in the year. So apart from sending off for the final book I need to complete my set of C.P. Snow’s “Strangers and Brothers” series, I had been very good up until the weekend…

Unfortunately the Oxfam Shop was the instrument of my downfall. They’ve revamped the shelves I like, which were Modern Classics and Classics, into just one section and added some new titles. So I ended up coming home on Saturday with these:

chapter journey

… for which there really is no excuse, particularly as I already have a perfectly acceptable copy of “English Journey”. HOWEVER – this is a lovely 50th anniversary (book club) edition with lots of period illustrations and it was only £2.99.

journey illus

I mean, it *is* lovely, isn’t it? And here is Priestley on the back cover:

journey back

The other book was a whim, nothing else:

chapter hats

I know not a thing about it, but was intrigued enough to risk £1.99. And if anyone has any thoughts on the book, I’d be interested to hear them, because I’ve never heard of Machado de Assis!

Incidentally, I was surprised at the prices of both these books, as the Oxfams often charge more than the other charity shops, but both of these were very reasonable. There is a new guy behind the counter so maybe he’s decided lower prices will stimulate sales – which could be a very dangerous trend…. 🙂

Reading Virginia Woolf – in Kew Gardens!

20 Comments

… plus other niceness in London!

Yes, I managed to escape for another day out in the Big Smoke at the weekend – a joint visit to Kew Gardens and also the lovely bookshops of the Bloomsbury/Charing Cross Road area!

For some reason, it struck me earlier in the year that I’d never visited Kew Gardens, and I conceived of the idea of visiting this summer and also of reading Woolf’s short story of that title while I was there! I did wonder whether I’d fit the trip in before the end of the summer holidays but I did – just by the skin of my teeth!

It’s quite a long haul to Kew from East London were my train gets in, but this *did* mean I got plenty of reading time while travelling and I made serious inroad into my current read, “Lanark”. I got to Kew quite early, and it was lovely and quiet – plus the weather was warm and sunny and dry all day, which was a bonus after the changeable times we’ve had recently.

I could be a Kew Gardens bore and go on and on about how absolutely lovely the place is – like being out in the country in the middle of London; full of beautiful plants and lakes and hothouses and Japanese gardens and bamboo and Chinese houses and pagodas and – well, you get the picture. I had a really beautiful day and I’d recommend a visit to anyone in the area. I took numerous photos which are not really that interesting but here are a few:

The Palm House

Something lovely in the Palm House – I am a little Horticulturally Challenged, so I can’t tell you what…..

The Waterlily House – with wonderful reflections in the black-tinted water.

The Rock Garden

A Yarn-Bombed tree!

Part of the Japanese garden

The object of the visit! Reading my faithful old copy of Woolf in the Secluded Garden!

After several hours of happy wandering, I decided I had time to pop into a bookshop or three before making my way home. Well, why waste the opportunity? I was actually pretty good, though I did stop off at the very attractive Kew Book Shop on my way to the tube, which had a lovely ambience and helpful staff, and picked up this:


Next stop was back in central London, the Bloomsbury Oxfam shop where there’s always the chance of a bargain – and I snagged these three:

“Moscow Tales” has been on my wish list forever; the Pushkin volume sounded great; and ” A Hero of Our Time” is a US edition with an Edward Gorey cover! I’ve been gazing longingly at this series of books online for a while so to find one in amazing condition for £2 was rather exciting……. 🙂

Amazingly enough, I didn’t buy a thing at Foyles, despite spending quite a while wandering round the lovely new store (and drinking some amazing gunpowder and peppermint tea). It’s not as if there wasn’t enough temptation – I mean, just look at this lovely table of Pushkin Press titles!

However, I was happy with the books I’d found and came home footsore but satisfied! Ermmm – there was a parcel or two waiting when I arrived so I may as well ‘fess up about the other volumes which have made their way into the house lately…..

These two book club editions came from a charity shop I don’t usually get the chance to visit – and as they were 60p each I thought they were worth a punt!

Castro is from RISI – I have a fascination with Cuba and I’ve read a *lot* of Che’s books, so I figured this would be an interesting read too.

And finally……. The latest edition of the very lovely “Slightly Foxed” and another Queneau I may have purloined from eBay….  Well, I’m not planning on any visits for a while, and I shall be trying not to buy for a while – I really do need to catch up with my reading!!

The Further Exploits of the Queen of the Oxfam Shops

30 Comments

No, that isn’t the title of a recent read – and lest anyone thinks I’ve gone rather arrogant, I should point out that I didn’t take that moniker upon myself! One of my lovely friends on the LibraryThing Virago group (you know who you are!) jokingly dubbed me that recently when we were having a conversation about Penelope Lively. I’ve only ever read Lively’s children’s novels and so another Viragoite urged me to get some of her work. I knew I’d seen some in local charity shops – hence my new title! And when have I ever turned down the challenge to track down a book? However, I tracked down more than I had anticipated… This is the pile I came home with and this is the story!

Off I trotted into the Big Town, and it turned out there *were* quite a few Penelope Lively books in the charity shops. I decided to be restrained and selective and picked out two I thought appealed, having a good read of the back blurbs, and they were only £1 each:

I remember reading about “The Photograph” when it came out and liking the sound of it. As for “City of the Mind” I have a thing about architecture and as this one is based around a London architect it was an obvious choice.

So I did think I was doing quite well with the restraint thing, until I hit the Oxfam… They had no Lively fiction but did have one of her books of autobiography:

Then I had a look at the general fiction and lo and behold! A Tove Jansson!!

Simon T at Stuck in a Book has always sung her praises and was encouraging me only recently to read some of her work – so grabbing this was a no brainer!

I should have left the Oxfam then, but I had one of those feelings you get when you’re on a book search…. I’d been looking at my Amazon wish list and one of the books on it was The Portable Hannah Arendt. The book is one I’ve wanted to pick up for a while, and although it’s not over expensive online, when you add on postage the price shoots up. Arendt is an intriguing woman, and she floated back into my thoughts because my friend H, who I saw last week, is very keen on her work – which reminded me I wanted this book. And oddly in the Oxfam I felt the pull of the philosophy section (not where I usually go) and there, sitting on the shelf waiting for me, was this:

Serendipity or what? You tell me – but it cost slightly less than the online copies and there’s no postage on top *and* it’s in excellent condition (important, because I’m so fed up with buying misdescribed books!) Phew!

So I came out of the Oxfam with a lighter purse (not by too much, though) and a much heavier bag. What happened next in The Works I refuse to take any blame for…. I had to go in there anyway for some stationery. And they have boxes and boxes and boxes of books for £1 at the moment (some even less). So it would have been foolish not to browse, no? These are what I found:

Uncle Silas was £1 and sounds creepy classic fun. The Spark was also £1 and is a Virago I don’t have. The Emma Tennant was 59p (59p!!!) – for a Canongate Classic!! I read Tennant in the 1970s/1980s but can recall absolutely nothing about her work, so this is a good chance to rediscover her.

I blame my friends on the Virago group – totally – my book habit may be a little out of control but they can’t say they haven’t encouraged me!! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: