New additions to the shelves

After months of admirable self restraint, the flood gates opened in the last few months and all my attempts to whittle down my stack of owned-but-unread books have been thwarted.

Scriveners-BooksOur holiday through the middle of England took us to Buxton in Derbyshire which happens to be the home of Scriveners — one of the 10 best second hand bookshops in the country according to The Guardian newspaper. Five floors of books I was promised. So of course I had to visit. And of course I had to buy.  So keen was I that I was outside the shop waiting for it to open. Long after the announced opening time, I was still waiting. But minor frustration set aside I had a wonderful hour browsing their collection which included a lovely section on literature in translation. I haven’t seen other second hand shops do that but it’s a great idea.

I ended up with the three Virago Modern Classics editions you can see in the photograph because I can’t get those easily anywhere near my home.So when I see a green cover in reasonably good condition peeking at me from a shelf, it’s an opportunity too good to miss.  books aquired summer 2018

The Rising Tide by M. J Farrell (an early pseudonym for Molly Keane) was first published in 1937, her seventh novel. Like many of her other works this is a tale of an Irish family.  Miles Franklin is an author I’ve heard about many times over from bloggers in Australia and since I am trying to read more from that part of the world,

My Brilliant Career seemed the perfect purchase. It’s her first novel, written when she was only sixteen years old. The publisher’s summary on the back cover says it has the faults of immaturity but “it is impossible not to love.”

And finally, we have Willa Cather, an author I came late to via My Antonia which I didn’t expect to enjoy but thought it was glorious. Oh Pioneers is the first of her ‘Great Plains’ trilogy which actually ends with My Antonia. So I’m reading them in the reverse order but it probably doesn’t matter too much.

The copy of A Change of Climate by Hilary Mantel is another second-hand shop purchase, this time from the Oxfam book shop in Stratford upon Avon. This isn’t one of her historical novels but I see that it is partly set in South Africa, a region of the world which fascinates me. Mantel lived for many years in Botswana which is where the idea for this story about a missionary couple originated.

My acquisitions haven’t been all used books.

When I got home from the holiday it was to find several packages awaiting me including a copy of  Wally Funk’s Race for Space by Sue Nelson, courtesy of the lovely team at Westbourne Press. This is an extraordinary true story of a woman who was in the first group of American pilots to pass the Women in Space programme. She went on to become the country’s first aviation safety inspector.

Also on the doormat were the monthly choices from three book subscription services (I’ll tell you all about these in a separate post later this week).  Plus my ordered copy of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty, one of the very few Booker prize winners I have yet to read, and Adam Thorpe’s Missing Fay which is a book club choice for this month.

Now I have all of these two questions are causing much furrowing of brows in the BookerTalk household. Where am I going to put all these new books given every bookshelf is full and the floor around them is equally congested. And when am I ever going to read them?

But aren’t these wonderful problems to have????

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on July 2, 2018, in Australian authors, Bookends, British authors, Man Booker Prize and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. Great haul Karen. I particularly approve of Miles Franklin of course, but I also love seeing Willa Cather there too. I’m a big Cather fan.

  2. We are lucky in Hobart to have wonderful 2nd hand bookshops as well as beautiful indie new books bookshops. Tasmania is truly a state of readers. Being an Amer-Australian (though more Aussie than American) I loved My Brilliant Career and Willa Cather is wonderful too. The space book looks great. Thanks for sharing your wonderful excursion with us.

  3. There are worse problems to have, and worse addictions, right? I bought a different Hollinghurst a while ago as it was compared to Iris Murdoch on the back cover blurb. Sigh.

  4. Having had to abandon half of my books cases in the move and consequently half of my books as well I am now operating a one in, one out, policy. It concentrates the mind wonderfully when you can only buy that boook that is calling to you so loudly if you are prepared to let another old friend go!

  5. Happy to hear you’ll be reading more Cather! The Prairie Trilogy concept was not Cather’s intention when writing those novels, but a marketing ploy dreamt up in more recent years but it looks like the idea is here to stay. You’re right, the order in which those novels are read doesn’t matter. My Brilliant Career is on my shelf, patiently waiting to be read. I just took it down to flip through and like some of her chapter titles, like this one: “As short as I wish had been the majority of sermons to which I have been forced to give ear.” Ha! Welcome home.

    • That’s a chapter heading? It reminds me of the earliest novels from people like Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding who if my memory is correct practically gave you a summary of the whole chapter

  6. My solution to the #NoRoomLeftOnTheShelves problem is to find a big thick book for reading (so that it lives on the bedside table) – if it’s thick enough you can fit three books into the space where it was. LOL You might need to have two big thick books on the bedside table…

    • i rather think I need to build a tower of thick books on the bedside table to make any inroads into the pile that has accumulated elsewhere

  7. That bookshop sounds fabulous, what a lovely area to holiday in too. Enjoy your new books, I love that Cather and that Miles Franklin I have read twice. I can’t remember if I have read that Molly Keane, or whether it’s one I have yet to read, it’s terrible how I always get her books mixed up. I quite enjoyed the Hollinghurst I seem to remember.

  8. Wonderful problems for sure. I love the look of that bookstore. I don’t remember much about The Line of Beauty except that it infuriated me; at this moment I can’t remember why. Happy reading!

  9. I’m impressed with how long you lasted – well done! You deserve that nice pile of books. 🙂

  10. I loved The Line of Beauty, I’m looking forward to reading your review.

    I read My Brilliant Career a few months ago and it was a good read. Very interesting to discover Australia and yes, it’s a bit immature but it’s normal for a book written by a teenager.

    Both books have billets on my blog.

  11. Oooooh, lovely finds! You certainly couldn’t resist those Viragos and now you’ve given me a very good reason to visit Buxton…. 😉

    • The staff there were lovely too – very friendly and chatty. there is a book sale on a sunday once a month in the winter gardens so time your visit right and you could be coming home with a car full

  12. I busted scrivens a few years ago great I deeply miss a large second hand shop as when I lived in Alnwick about the time barter books opened and loved that shop

    • I was despondent for years because there wasn’t a second hand shop in Cardiff except for Oxfam which tended just to do the bestsellers. But then `i found Trout Books in one of the arcades. What joy!

  13. I never tired of reading posts about what people have bought/acquired lately. Looks like a lovely stack! I, too, am running out of room for my books, despite regular bouts of purging.

  14. Books and Bookbinding looks delightful! Good luck with fitting the new haul on the shelves. I’m having to pull titles off if I want to add anything these days.

  15. Where to put the books led to purges for me a couple of years ago, and the tendency to mostly buy e-books.

    But…I do love a hardcover book now and then. That bookshop looks amazing!

    • The only thing I didn’tlike about the shop Laurel was that it was so congested I was afraid what would happen if there was a fire and I was on the top floor with only the one very narrow staircase to exit by

  16. My reading goal for the year includes reading the newest book I bought. I created a spreadsheet in January to get myself organized, but the newest book category keeps changing! Ack! I feel like I need to figure out a plan so I don’t feel anxiety about it, but I’m not sure what.

    Maybe stack up books so they BECOME a new table/shelf? Anyway, good luck to you! 😀

  17. Sounds like a great visit! I’ve now googled the article on second hand shops to see if I’ll be near any next week on our quick trip over 😀 (I’m sure my partner will love it.)

    I’ll be interested to see your thoughts on The Line of Beauty. It is not for everyone and wasn’t even for me when I read it. However, I think if I revisit it when I’m older it, and most of Hollinghurst’s work, will have a much different impact on me.

    • That was a clever ploy – will you tell your partner in advance or just drop it casually into the conversation as you approach the town where the shop is?

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