There has been bookshopping ….

…. there often is, but it’s a long time since I’ve found so many interesting titles in the course of just a few days.

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On Saturday morning I spotted a ‘3 for £1’ sale at a charity shop in town. I’ve not had much luck with those sales lately, but of course I have to look, and this time my luck was in.


Nancy Milford‘s biography of Zelda Fitzgerald has been on my wishlist for ages, and so I pounced as soon as I spotted.

I was very taken with Sarah Moss‘s first novel – Cold Earth – and I’ve been wanting to read her second, and so when I spotted a copy of Night Waking I picked that up too.

And then I needed a third. There was nothing unmissable but I spotted a book by Victoria Holt that I didn’t know – The Silk Vendetta – I liked the look of it and so it became my number three.

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There is a lovely café-bookshop a couple of hundred yards from my mother’s nursing home, and I hadn’t visited it in the nine months I’ve been visiting her. That was because I had Briar with me, but I haven’t taken her since my mother was ill, and became so much more frail than she had been. I would if she asked, but she hasn’t …. and that meant I could look in the bookshop.

I found two lovely numbered Penguins.


I have loved Daphne Du Maurier‘s writing from a very young age; I read every book the library could offer and, later on, I built a collection of my own, but I never came across a copy of The Du Mauriers before. I knew that it was a history of the family in the 19th century, but I hadn’t realised that it was written as a novel. I was smitten from the first page …..

Tea With Mr Rochester by Frances Towers is already in my Persephone collection, and it is a lovely collection of stories. But it holds ten stories – four less than the original edition. I don’t know why, I don’t know whose decision it was, but I remember finding out and being horribly disappointed that I had left a Penguin copy behind in the Oxfam shop a few years ago.

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I took a couple of extra days off work after Monday’s bank holiday – one for a jaunt and one to catch up with things around the house – and today was the day for the jaunt!

We try to visit St Ives once a year, to look around the town, to visit the galleries, and to investigate some different bookshops.

I didn’t expect much from the first charity shop we visited. There was a very small selection of books, but I spotted the name of a favourite author


The Landlord’s Daughter and The Room Upstairs both date from the late sixties. The reviews seem to be very mixed, but I love Monica Dickens‘s writing and so, of course, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

The Oxfam Shop has been a happy hunting ground in the past, and it was again today.


The Birds in the Trees by Nina Bawden fills a gap in my Virago Modern Classics collection. I loved her books for children – especially ‘Carrie’s War’ but I still haven’t read any of her adult novels. I really must.

Judasland by Jennifer Dawson also comes dressed in Virago green, but it was published as a new novel in 1991, not as a modern classic. I’ve read one of her books – The Upstairs People –  I love her style and I have a feeling  that this comedy, set in academia, could be rather special.

Summer in Baden-Baden is Leonard Tyspkin‘s homage to Dostoevsky and, because Russian novels are calling to me, because it’s a train book, I decided to pick it up.

And, best of all, I found a book by Francis Brett Young. I love his writing, and I love that Mr and Mrs Pennington is the story of the first year of a marriage in the 1920s.

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Now I just need to magic up some more shelf space ….

24 responses

  1. Congratulations on such a great book haul! (And let me know if you figure out a way to magically create more space on already crowded bookshelves…that’s a secret I definitely need.)

    • The Brett Young was on the collectible shelf and I thought it might be prohibitively expensive (there was an Ann Bridge for £25 that I had to put back) but it was only £2.49. I’ll let you know one of these days.

  2. How wondeful Jane, what lovely books!! I remember reading my mum’s Victoria Holt books in my teens. And I also have Summer in Baden-Baden on Mount TBR – it sounds fascinating, doesn’t it. As for the Penguins – just lovely!

  3. I just loved Tea With Mr Rochester by Frances Towers and yes you’re right it has more stories than the Persephone edition. Even more intriguing is the biographical info about Frances Towers. Apparently this Penguin edition is by no means a complete collection of all her short stories, there are many others submitted and published by magazines in the UK, how to track these down???

  4. What an absolutely wonderful haul! Nina Bawden’s adult books are great (especially ‘Devil By The Sea’, whose story still haunts me now), and ‘Summer in Baden-Baden’ is a beautiful novel. I hope you enjoy all of your new reads, and I shall have to try my best to fight the temptation to go book shopping now!

    • I remember you singing the praises of Nina Bawden some time ago, and I will pick up one of her books soom. It might be ‘Devil by the Sea’ because there’s a copy in my library with a note about who one of the people in the cover painting was – a local man.

      And I’m pleased you thought ‘Summer in Baden-Baden’ beautiful – because though I loved the idea I was a little fearful too.

  5. I do so like your list of finds because I am almost certain I will find them on open library – a website I stumbled upon which has the older writers available and I can download and read. For me it has been magic!

  6. Ooh jealous of the FBY! And that’s given me an idea for a nice little theme read this first year of my married life – I can re-read Dennis Mckail’s “Greenery Street”, for a start …

    • What a lovely idea. ‘Love in Our Time’ by Norman Collins would fit too …. I am thrilled with the FBY, and rest assured that any duplicates I spot at reasonable prices will be snapped up and directed towards you and Ali.

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