A pilgrimage to the Bookbarn

I’m back in Oxford now, and took the opportunity to go via the Bookbarn in North Somerset – where I have been many times before, and have written about here on several occasions. Every book is £1, though all the best books are siphoned off into the internet-only section of the barn complex (which wasn’t always the case – those halcyon days when all the books were browsable!) Truth be told, their fiction section is quite poor now, and I got very little there, but I got an awful lot of non-fiction. As you will see…

Bookbarn haul 2016

Lydia & Maynard: the letters of Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes
Ballerinas and economists aren’t top of my list of interests, but the Bloomsbury Group certainly are up there – and I love collections of letters, so here’s a corner of that group that I can add to my collection.

The Hare With the Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal
So, LibraryThing tells me that I already have this. Oops. Lucky charity shop in Oxford!

Letters to Louise: Theodore Dreiser’s Letters to Louise Campbell
I haven’t read a word by Dresier, but couldn’t resist more letters – particularly since they promise to cover his writing process and drafts, which is fascinating to me. And I bought a novel by him over a decade ago, so maybe it will inspire me to read that.

Hassan by James Elroy Flecker
If you’re following those books in the photo above, this was a tiny Penguin slipped between two bigger hardbacks. I bought this entirely because he gets a bewildered mention by the Provincial Lady.

Unforgettable, Unforgotten by Anna Buchan (O Douglas)
I didn’t realise that Anna B had written an autobiography – this looks fab.

Brensham Village by John Moore
The sequel to a book I have yet to read… but do own. Fingers crossed I like it!

Woman Alive by Susan Ertz
I haven’t read Ertz yet, but she gets a glowing mention in Nicola Beauman’s A Very Great Profession, and this hardback is lovely.

Two Worlds by David Daiches
All I know about Daiches is some literary criticism I read years ago – which seemed a good enough reason to grab his autobiography about growing up Jewish in Edinburgh.

Evelyn Waugh by Frances Donaldson
If there’s something I love even more than biographies, it’s memoirs by people who knew famous people in a non-famous context. Niche, I know, but Waugh’s self-proclaimed ‘country neighbour’ should be fun.

Talking Heads 2 by Alan Bennett
Writing Home by Alan Bennett
National Treasure.

The Spirit of Tolerance by Katharine Moore
I’ve read a couple of things by Moore, and also read about her editing this collection in her letters with Joyce Grenfell.

Mild and Bitter by A.P. Herbert
I can’t remember if I’ve ever actually read anything by APH, but I read quite a lot about him – and anything collected from Punch in the 1930s is going to be fabs,

My Apprenticeships by Colette
This is the year I’ll read some Colette, promise, Peter.

The Best of Stephen Leacock 1
I suspect I’ve got all these selections in other books, but I’m not the sort of guy who leaves Stephen Leacock on the shelf.

Pomp & Circumstance by Noel Coward
This has been on my keep-an-eye-out-for list for so many years that I can no longer quite way – other than the fact that Noel Coward is a legend.

The Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium by Gerald Durrell
Birds, Beasts, and Relatives by Gerald Durrell
The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell
The Drunken Forest by Gerald Durrell

There were SO many books by Gerald Durrell and Laurence Durrell there – I was particularly pleased to find the second and third books in the My Family and other Animals trilogy.

Selected Essays by Hilaire Belloc
Since I use the word belloc to mean ‘hilarious’ – yes, I know – so I should read some essays by him, right?

 

21 thoughts on “A pilgrimage to the Bookbarn

  • January 10, 2016 at 6:04 pm
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    What a terrific list of books — lucky day scouting!

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    • January 13, 2016 at 11:50 pm
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      It was very fun – especially since I had nobody to feel guilty about making them wait for me!

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  • January 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm
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    Hi Simon, I think Brensham = Frensham and Moore’s museum is in Tewkesbury. I have had one on my pile for a few years – September Moon – Who will get to their Moore first?
    Barbara

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    • January 13, 2016 at 11:51 pm
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      Elmsbury certainly equals Tewkesbury, but I wasn’t sure where Brensham was – and I haven’t actually heard of Frensham! I wouldn’t be surprised if you managed to get to the Moore first.

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    • January 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm
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      It’s fab, isn’t it?

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  • January 10, 2016 at 7:56 pm
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    Wow – wonderful finds Simon, and at a pound each you can’t go wrong! Shame you can’t browse everything though – I see them on A****n a lot reselling.

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    • January 13, 2016 at 11:53 pm
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      You can’t go wrong, can you? They have computers where you can request books to be brought over from their Internet-storage-section, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed to do that.

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  • January 10, 2016 at 9:22 pm
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    Colette! I hope you will appreciate her as much as I (we including your other readers) do. Peter

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    • January 13, 2016 at 11:53 pm
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      I do hope so too!

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  • January 11, 2016 at 6:48 am
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    I’m reading the Grenfell/Moore letters at the moment, Simon. I envy you the Anna Buchan autobiography, I enjoy her novels. I’d also like to read more Dreiser. I loved Jennie Gerhardt & have Sister Carrie on the tbr shelves.

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    • January 13, 2016 at 11:56 pm
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      Those letters were really enjoyable – Grenfell certainly knew how to write a letter. And I’ve seen a film of Sister Carrie – confusingly called Carrie, which gets confusing with the Stephen King horror film.

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  • January 11, 2016 at 1:46 pm
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    Pomp and Circumstance! One of my favourite novels EVER. I have a highly treasured copy I bought from our local library when they were selling off, and honestly think I would run back to save it from a burning building, I love it so much. Shallow as a puddle, in many respects, but fun. And cheering, and redolent of a completely different life (from mine, at any rate). I do hope you enjoy it.

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    • January 13, 2016 at 11:58 pm
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      Oh Sarah, what a wonderful recommendation of it! You’ve certainly made me much more excited to read it. I rather suspect the life might be rather different from mine too.

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  • January 11, 2016 at 10:21 pm
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    All sound fascinating! What great buys. I’m also glad to find out that I’m not the only person who’ll buy a book because it was mentioned by a literary character in another book…

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    • January 14, 2016 at 12:01 am
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      I knew that people would understand ;) Since the Provincial Lady seemed horrified at the idea of reading James Elroy Flecker, it’s hardly a recommendation, but still…

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  • January 12, 2016 at 1:55 pm
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    Jealous! Our big book fair isn’t until the spring, and I am already chafing at the bit. I always come away with a preposterous stack of books, and then they all go half-price on the last day, so the ones that previously tempted me but I didn’t buy them all get fed into my massive canvas books bag.

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    • January 14, 2016 at 12:01 am
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      Jenny, you need to high-tail yourself to Somerset and go and visit! Though it does get worse every time I go, so… time is of the essence! (I also took a massive canvas bag with me…)

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  • January 13, 2016 at 3:08 pm
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    This is a stop I must make during one of my trips over, Simon. I just finished reading The Bookshop Book and Bookbarn gets a mention. Of course my first thought was of the posts you’ve written about your visits there and how your ever-growing collection could be a Bookbarn of your very own!

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    • January 14, 2016 at 12:03 am
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      I’ve had The Bookshop Book for a while and still haven’t read it – must rectify soon! I have certainly been many times, and probably posted about it on most of them, so I feel like I deserve a mention alongside ;)

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  • January 17, 2016 at 11:02 am
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    The Brensham books are great – I think better than the … oh, the other one about a village and then there was an update years later. What was it? Will update later when I’m closer physically to my books. Anyway, a lovely haul!

    Reply

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