Back from Edinburgh

Loving the comments on the 50 Books competition post – do keep ’em coming! I think I’ll do the prize draw on Monday.

The long train journey is over, and I am back from a fun, rainy, book-filled week in Edinburgh. Said train journey was slightly spoiled by a group of people blasting out music from their speakers for a solid two hours. So loud, so rude. We were all too British to say anything, but complained to each other once they’d left.

I had a lovely time – a highlight being seeing Karen/Cornflower. And I went to eight or nine bookshops while in Edinburgh, and bought 15 books. Two of them, I realised afterwards, were books I already owned (oops) so I passed them onto a friend I was staying with – and here are the 13 I brought back with me. Incidentally, the best bookshop I went to was Armchair Books – a great selection of reasonably-priced books, though the hardbacks were all on shelves that were unreachable without stools or a stepladder. I perched precariously on a stepladder at one point. But if there are Rose Macaulay books on a shelf I can’t see properly, I’m gonna get a stepladder.

Edinburgh books 2016

The Scrapbook of Katherine Mansfield ed. J. Middleton Murray
The Life of Katherine Mansfield by Ruth Mantz
I’ve seen these a few times, but never at a tempting price – so I was pleased to stumble across them in Till’s bookshop. Both are Constable hardbacks, and were part of JMM’s rather energetic series of Mansfield-related publications just after her death.

The Rain Girl by Herbert Jenkins
We all know that I loved Patricia Brent, Spinster, so it was great to find one of Jenkins’ other books in a lovely edition – this one was on a high-up shelf in Armchair Books.

The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gazdanov
I could feel Kaggsy watching me when I picked this one up – a Pushkin and a Russian! It sounds so intriguing – about a man who reads a short story which describes a murder he had himself committed. What comes next…?

Orphan Island by Rose Macaulay
Armchair Books had loads of Macaulay books, though this was the only one I didn’t already own – and one that I have kept an eye out for for a long time. Hurrah! (Must read some more Macaulays. Have so many unread.)

Friends and Relations by Elizabeth Bowen
I need to read more Bowen, and I think she’ll come up on ‘Tea or Books?’ at some point – but which? Maybe this one?

Paul Kelver by Jerome K. Jerome
I keep buying JKJ books, don’t I? Hadn’t heard of this one before, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it sometime.

A Cup of Tea for Mr Thorgill by Storm Jameson
Another one of those authors I’ve been meaning to read for such a long time, and have only read some non-fic articles by her. This one, I’ll admit, I bought chiefly because I really love that cover.

Letters of Siegfried Sassoon and Max Beerbohm
Who knew these gents wrote to each other? Well, probably loads of people. But not I! (My Max Beerbohm shelf is growing at a fast rate…)

Virginia Woolf: Her Art as a Novelist by Joan Bennett
I’m not the sort of guy who’ll leave behind a book about Virginia Woolf – particularly an early one.

All The Dogs of My Life by Elizabeth von Arnim
How did I not own this before? Being a cat person more than a dog person, I’m not sure this lens will work for me – but I’ll find out. (NB must enthuse more about Sheila Kaye-Smith’s All The Books of My Life, which is wonderful.)

Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham
More Cunningham for my Cunningham shelf – yes please.

A Sea-Grape Tree by Rosamond Lehmann
I think I might own all of Lehmann’s novels now, and have still only read one (Dusty Answer) – but now I have even more choice.

18 thoughts on “Back from Edinburgh

  • June 17, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    I’m very pleased to see a copy of Friends and Relations. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

    • June 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      I really must read more Bowen soon!

  • June 17, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Your purchases are fabulous; a Jerome K. Jerome new to me and I recently bought Elizabeth’s German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim so her dog book interests me too. Can you believe I have not read any Rose Macaulay books, I must remedy that.

    • June 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks Terra! And yes, do try Macaulay – she’s a mixed bag, but Crewe Train and Keeping Up Appearances are personal faves.

  • June 18, 2016 at 7:37 am

    How many books do you own in total?Hope you dust them all now and again.

    • June 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      About 2800 I think. And they’re pretty dusty.

      • June 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

        At least you are honest.


    • June 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      I suspected you might ;)

  • June 18, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Although I wasn’t mad about Towers of Trebizond, Orphan Island sounds absolutely fascinating! Had never heard of it before but have ordered it from library. Thanks!

    • June 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Do report back! I actually ended up giving up on Towers of Trebizond for the time being – though intend to go back to it eventually. But Macaulay at her best is wonderful, so fingers crossed for this one.

  • June 18, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    You will love All the Dogs of My Life! It is as delightful as all the other von Arnim books! I loved that she kept denying it was an autobiography. It is about her books, but also about herself. Lovely that you had a good trip. How I would love to see a bookstore like Armchair. And here I was thinking of getting rid of some of my books! How can I?? I also have bought several books that I had already on my shelves at home. Do not let that deter us from buying books!

    • June 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I’m glad she talks about her books too – I was worried that it would just be the dogs…

      I’m even more glad that it isn’t just me who accidentally buys duplicate books!

  • June 21, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Edinburgh is the best place for buying books! And I LOVE Armchair Books! I could buy virtually everything in the place.

    Glad you had fun :)

    • June 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Isn’t Armchair Books a treasure trove?! A shame about some of the shops that didn’t put as much effort into the displays and books.

  • June 23, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Lovely to see a mention of Sheila Kaye-Smith. Local-to-me author; born in St Leonard’s on Sea and buried in a tiny RC chapel attached to a private house near Northiam ( house was then bought by Rumer Godden) and little known now. I borrowed a copy of All the Books of my Life from Hastings library which holds a lot of her archive. A lot of her books set in the countryside close to her birthplace. She often used local names but changed their location.

    • June 25, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Oh lovely! The only books I’ve read by her are non-fic – this, and a couple she co-wrote with GB Stern about Jane Austen.

    • June 28, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Don’t forget Kaye Smith provided the material for Gibbons COLD COMFORT FARM satire.Many of her books are readable and several are not to modern tastes.THE TRAMPING METHODIST and GREEN APPLE HARVEST spring to mind.

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