I’m back! Hope you had a good week – I was dashing all over the place, from the south coast to the northern reaches of England (so, er, the distance some of you pop out for milk, in the larger countries of this world) speaking at a conference and attending my very lovely friend Lorna’s wedding. Best day ever! But of a more literary nature, I paid a visit to Barter Books in Alnwick (pronounced Annick). Lots of friends and family had told me that it’s brilliant, and it was unlikely that I’d be in the area again for a while – so I went to visit.
Barter Books is inside an old railway station and is also famed for re-discovering the Keep Calm and Carry On posters (you can read more about them here). The inside is quite wonderful – not only is it capacious, it has a mural of many authors, and a model railway going around the top of the bookshelves (which you should be able to see in the third photo below.) Here are some selected photos…
But what you really want to know, of course, is how I have broken my Lenten fast with a haul of books! Here is what I got: (as always – comments, please!)
A Case of Human Bondage – Beverley Nichols
Although I have a stack of Nichols’ books unread, this might be the first I end up reading. It’s about W. Somerset Maugham, and a response to his apparent character assassination of his wife. Sounds very strange, and an enticing literary spat.
Mr. Pim Passes By – A.A. Milne
I already have this in a collection, but I spotted the acting edition of the play, and thought it would be fun to have a copy of it – complete with notes from someone who played Mr. Pim himself.
Make Me An Offer – Wolf Mankowitz
I read this novella about antiques a while ago, and thought it was great, but didn’t have a copy. Now I have a signed one!
All Done From Memory – Osbert Lancaster
Looks like fun – words and images from one of the best cartoonists, and one of my favourite periods.
A Way of Life, Like Any Other – Darcy O’Brien
I probably would have picked this up anyway, because I love a NYRB edition with a fab cover, but I also vaguely remembered reading a review of it somewhere… probably Thomas’s.
Recovery – Stephen Benatar
When I Was Otherwise – Stephen Benatar
The Man on the Bridge – Stephen Benatar
Like quite a few bloggers, I read and much admired Stephen Benatar’s Wish Her Safe at Home, and couldn’t resist picking up three of his novels cheaply. And signed, no less, although I rather get the impression than it would be more difficult to find copies of these novels which weren’t signed.
The Ha-Ha – Jennifer Dawson
Someone recommend this… who? You? I have a weakness for Virago Modern Classics about mental fragility, and this one even won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (hmm.. maybe that could be my challenge next year? Read the JTBM prizewinners?)
The Odd Women – George Gissing
At least half the people who pop by here have recommended I read this, not least Darlene, and now I’m one step closer!