Tuesday 11 August 2009

Booking in Bristol

I spent the weekend with my brother in Bristol - of course I wanted to see him, but I also wanted to go to the Books for Amnesty shop. It has its own website, which is quite impressive for a charity bookshop, and I documented my first visit to it about a year ago. It's good quality, cheap, quick turnover, and for a good cause. Of the six books I bought there, all had been put on their shelves in the last month (they date them when they put them out) so the shop really does warrant frequent visits. And of course I also bought three books in another shop... these nine came, in total, to £8.40. A success, I think you'll agree. Keen eyes will spot 12 books in the Recent Acquisitions pile below... two came from the Albion Beatnik Bookshop in Oxford, one through the post after being recommended by my friend Barbara-from-Ludlow.

Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
This is the one Barbara-from-Ludlow recommended, as being in the same sort of area as my dissertation.

English Short Stories of Today - ed. E. J. O'Brien
Includes a story by David Garnett, Edward Sackville-West, Antonia White etc. The 'Today' in question is 1934.

The Sandcastle - Iris Murdoch
I keep piling up the Murdochs that I *will* read one day... Someone recommended this to me once, I think.

Summer at the Haven - Katharine Moore
A friend of Joyce Grenfell, wrote some non-fiction (e.g. this on maiden aunts) - this slim novel is about an old people's home, and is apparently amusing and optimistic. Might make interesting reading alongside Elizabeth Taylor's Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont.

Howards End - EM Forster
Despite not having much luck with his novels so far, I thought I'd persevere. Mostly because of the beautifully inviting cover to this edition. I snapped this up before it even reached the shelves - the shop assistant was putting it out, and I took it from her very hands...

Family Money - Nina Bawden
Not read anything by her yet... but her name has always been on the peripheries of my reading. I've had Tortoise by Candlelight forever, though no idea from whence it came.

Family History - Vita Sackville-West
This rang a bell in my mind... I was reminded later that someone was going to send me their spare copy of this. Goops.

The Shutter of Snow - Emily Holmes Coleman
I know nothing about this author, would love to be enlightened. The 1930s novel is about madness, a theme I love reading about... will let you know.

Clash - Ellen Wilkinson
Another author about whom I know nothing, but a £1 Virago ought not be left.

Writing Lives: Conversations Between Women Writers
Newer Virago writers interview older Virago writers - what's not to like? I can give a full list of authors later, if anybody's interested?

Among You Taking Notes - The Wartime Diary of Naomi Mitchison
I thought I had other books by her... but apparently not. I always like to have letters or diaries on the go.

Behindlings - Nicola Baker
Sounds quirky and weird, and maybe my cup of tea... at 40p, I thought I could risk it.


  1. Okay, I am still gasping for air after reading that you are having a difficult time getting into Howard's End. I rarely re-read books but I have been considering re-reading this one recently. I have seen the movie about a million times and haven't read the novel since my undergraduate days.

    Do you like other Forster and are just having difficulty with this one? Or are you not a fan of Forster in general? (You must realize I had a hard time even typing that last question.)

    Your bookstore plunder looks great. I especially covet the Murdoch.

  2. Intriquing titles, all!
    Especially Family History and The Shutter of Snow.

  3. Thomas - I've not started Howards End yet, but I did struggle with A Room With A View and A Passage To India, I'm afraid...

  4. Oooh nice Howard's End edition. Mine is a silver Penguin but has a bedstead reflected against a yellow wall, from memory..not the best cover in the world. I'm intrigued by the Emily Holmes Coleman, I'll have to make sure I remember that.

    Oh, and to add to the sacrilege, I didn't like A Room with a View much either, and I have never made it past the first chapter of A Passage to India. I do love Howard's End though, in my defence!

  5. What a great secondhand book haul!Howards End is one of my all time favourites and is definitely on my 'desert island' list.
    That Iris Murdoch edition looks intriguing - I collect first edition Murdoch's as I am a huge fan and I am always on the lookout for them in secondhand shops.

  6. Those prices make it hard to walk away empty-handed. The wartime diary sounds particularly interesting to me. Hope you had a lovely visit with your brother!

  7. Brilliant book purchases, it makes me want to pop on the train to Bristol just for this shop. I am looking forward to seeing reviews on all of these eventually.

  8. I'm another huge fan of Howard's End here, so I really do hope you enjoy it. IMHO, it's just pipped by Where Angels Fear to Tread, but it's a close second. Good haul!

  9. ... Although I should say that I, like you, struggled with A Passage to India. Although it was the first year of my undergrad, and so I might feel differently about it now.

  10. Could you give a list of the authors from the book 'Writing Lives' please?

  11. *envious of those VMCs*

    (Any chance I might acquire that spare copy of Family history?!)

    Strangely I acquired a copy of Family Money only this week; it's today's read, although as I'm a little behind with my VVV blogging it may take a while to review that on the sight.

    I keep looking at The sandcastle in shops; I've not read any Iris Murdoch, but love all things beach and sea related so wonder if that might be a good starting point...

  12. Read some William Saroyan...

  13. Family Money was a lucky find for me as well on a charity shop spree. Enjoy.

  14. Let me know what you think of "Family History"...I haven't read that one of hers. Loved "The Edwardians" and "All Passion Spent."

  15. I'm afraid I must add my voice of dissent to poor old Forster, Thomas...I enjoyed 'Howard's End' when I read it years ago, and really liked 'Maurice' too, but since then my enjoyment of E.M has really dwindled to the point of non-existence. It was 'The Longest Journey' that really sounded the death knell for me. But on a lighter note, 'Howard's End' is probably the best Forster to read!

    And always nice to see another of Vita's volumes! I really should have heard of that one, but I must have forgotten...




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