New Old Books

Until I find a new job I’m not buying any new books. Anything current that you spot me reading will come either from the library or the generosity of kind publishers.

I’m luckier than many, living in the family home and with savings to tide me over, but I still want to be careful while the future is so uncertain.

And there is treasure to be found in charity shops and second-hand bookshops for very little money.

Look what I found last week:

I’ll take things from the bottom up, as that’s pretty much the order that I found them.

The name Eudora Welty caught my eye, and I found an intriguing book. One Writer’s Beginnings. An American book that somehow found its way over the Atlantic to Cornwall. A book drawing on three lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1983, about listening about learning to see, about finding a voice. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?!

I borrowed London War Notes: 1939 to 1945 by Mollie Panter-Downes from the library, but I wanted a copy of my own. And I found one – ex library but in pretty good condition. It really should be in print and would sit nicely along the author’s short stories from the same period in the Persephone list …

My fiance spotted Concerning Agnes: Thomas Hardy’s ‘Good Little Pupil’ by Desmond Hawkins first. I know nothing about Agnes but I love Hardy and so this book, from a local press, seemed well worth the investment of £1.50.

If I’d been working I would have rushed out to buy the new Vintage Stella Gibbons reissues, and so I snapped up a charity shop copy of Westwood as soon as I spotted it.

And finally, Pamela Frankau was a name I recognised as a Virago author. I have yet to read any of her books but I have read a lot of praise as so when I spotted a title I didn’t recognise in a blue numbered penguin I had to take a look. I Find 4 People seems to be autobiography written as fiction, with the author writing about herself in the third person. I was charmed, and so the book came home.

An exceptionally good week, and an excellent haul for less than £10.

13 responses

  1. Charity shops are a wonder arent they. Though they are also a danger, I can’t go near the local charity bookshop too often as I end up buying too many claiming ‘I saved loads’ ha.

    • I have a rule that I can only buy the out of print and keepers which works pretty well, at least in a small town with a limited selection. But it was a different story when I worked in central London …

  2. My thoughts echo Simon’s. In fact, my husband will be in London next month so I called him over to point out Mollie P-D’s book and asked him to see if he could spot a copy for me! Thanks, Jane!

  3. I know what you mean about the joys of charity shops for the avid reader – I was thrilled to find a copy of Rumer Godden’s China Court (currently out of print and very expensive online) and a copy of Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel in our local Oxfam.
    I do envy you that Mollie P-D war notes though – have you seen how much it’s going for online!

  4. That is an excellent book by Mollie Panter-Downes, I have it myself. And while I’ve not read Pamela Frankau, I’ve heard good things of her books on and off over the years.

  5. I wish I could be as committed as you. I could make the resolution not to buy but I am sure I would be enticed at some point. I hope you manage to stick to your resolution.

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