Hay-on-Wye: The Haul

I didn’t come back from Hay-on-Wye empty-handed (surprised?) and I thought I’d share my spoils with you.  Not literally, I’m afraid – they’re mine, all mine! – but here’s the pile I found whilst wandering around the sunny and freezing streets of Hay.

Father – Elizabeth von Arnim
This was my best find of the day – I hadn’t even heard of this title, and it’s pretty difficult to track down on the internet – and certainly not at the price I snagged it.  Hurrah!

Elizabeth of the German Garden – Leslie de Charme
A biography of E von A leapt off the shelf and into my arms.  Has anyone read this?

Off the Deep End – Christopher Morley
I’m a fan of Morley’s essays and novels, so I was pleased to find this collection of his sketches in such a nice edition – once owned by Winifred Hudson, according to the fun little book plate inside.

The Iron Man and The Tin Woman – Stephen Leacock
The Boy I Left Behind Me – Stephen Leacock
Although I had a few years when I read Leacock voraciously, I haven’t returned to him for quite a while.  But when I find Leacock books I don’t yet own, I snap them up… good to have a stockpile, no?

Borrowed Plumes – Owen Seaman
Seaman was an editor at Punch when AA Milne worked there, which is why he’s familiar to me – this book of spoofs includes one of Elizabeth von Arnim.  And the book was signed by Seaman!  I don’t really care how valuable a book is, but I love signed books because I know the author has held them, and it makes them feel a bit closer…

Concert Pitch – Theodora Benson
I read one of her other novels last year – called Which Way? – and thought I’d try another.  She was quite Persephonesque, although perhaps not quite up to their standard.

Daisy’s Aunt – E.F. Benson
Beautiful little edition, but… turns out I already have this novel under another title.  Oops.

The Initials in the Heart – Laurence Whistler
I have no idea why I want this, but I know it’s on my Amazon wishlist, so someone must have recommended it to me… was it you?!

The Windfall – Christopher Milne
I think I already have this collected in The Open Garden, but it’s a lovely, cheapish addition to my Milne completism.  Also has beautiful wood engravings by Kenneth Lindley.

Surviving: The Uncollected Writings of Henry Green
Some would suggest that, having read a mere one of Green’s novels, that I don’t need to start buying his uncollected writings.  But very few of those people read book blogs.

A Casual Commentary – Rose Macaulay
I read chunks of this in the Bodleian, so it’s good to have my own copy – I do love our Rose.  This is a collection of her light journalism, and very amusing it is too.

The Gentlewoman – Laura Talbot
A bookshop outing wouldn’t be a bookshop outing if I came back without a Virago Modern Classic – this one, with a spinster governess, sounded right up my street.

Mr. Scobie’s Riddle – Elizabeth Jolley
Foxybaby – Elizabeth Jolley
I’ve been meaning to try Jolley (specifically The Well) for a while, but I didn’t find the one I was after… so, using book bloggers’ logic, I just bought other ones instead.

The Only Problem – Muriel Spark
I’m constantly surprised by how much this lady wrote, and how I keep coming across titles of which I’ve never heard.  This one looks like Spark at her most delightfully odd.

Stepping Heavenward – Richard Aldington
I do love Dolphin Books…

Ivy & Stevie – Kay Dick
And this one, which I’ve started already!  It’s interviews with Ivy Compton-Burnett and Stevie Smith, and musings on these authors.  I’ve not read any Stevie, but I love Ivy, and love interview books too.

That’s the whole haul!  Lorna, with whom I went, bought about the same number – isn’t it wonderful when you book-hunt with other avid book buyers, rather than people who pick up one or two books all day?

 As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on these, especially if you’ve read any of ’em…

37 thoughts on “Hay-on-Wye: The Haul

  • February 3, 2012 at 4:52 am
    Permalink

    I think I squeaked with excitement when I saw the first two books, though I've never heard of either of them. But how could I not be thrilled by anything E von A related? Also, having just finished A.A. Milne's autobiography, I'm really excited that you picked up Borrowed Plumes! Everything else looks wonderful too and, as a proud Canadian, I'm particularly happy to see you're adding to your Leacock collection.

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 9:52 am
      Permalink

      I definitely squeaked when I saw Father on the shelf! It's not unusual to come across some E von A, but it's always ones I already have – to find this, in such a lovely edition, was a great surprise.

      And of course Owen Seaman will be a familiar name to you! It's all incentive for me to re-read It's Too Late Now asap.

      Leacock doesn't get mentioned enough around the blogosphere…must read and review one soon.

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 8:54 am
    Permalink

    Impressive haul Simon, I've still to visit Hay-on-Wye and for some reason my nearest and dearest are very discouraging…

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 10:21 am
      Permalink

      Curious, that…(!) Lorna's fiance did text her whilst we were there to remind her that they don't have much shelf space in their flat. Ahem. But you must go! (Wouldn't a bloggers' trip to Hay be wonderful?? We'd boost the economy no end.)

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 9:31 am
    Permalink

    I've got the EvA biography – it's quite dense but it was good to paint more of a picture of the woman behind quite autobiographical novels. I've also read father which was good if unsettling!

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 10:22 am
      Permalink

      I did think, from the title alone, that it might be one of her more disturbing books…

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 11:16 am
    Permalink

    I have the biography Elizabeth of the German Garden. Leslie de Charms was a pen name for one of her daughters. I can't remember where or when I discovered this.

    BTW, this is the first time for ages that I've been able even to see other comments here, let alone comment myself.

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 11:33 am
      Permalink

      Oh, I knew one of her daughters had written one but hadn't put two and two together! Thanks for that.

      And very glad that some comment problems are clearing up, even if momentarily… do you use IE? It's usually IE which has a problem with blogger, I think.

      Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm
      Permalink

      I use IE and Firefox. Blogger hates me ever since Google carried out its 'transition', which deprived me of an account.

      Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm
      Permalink

      You're the first Firefox casualty I've heard of… good work, Google *sigh*

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 11:24 am
    Permalink

    Your photos on facebook had me very excited because I will be in Hay-on-Wye in about two weeks for my very first visit, and I had no idea it was so lovely.

    Glad you left the Penguins for me to find.

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 11:34 am
      Permalink

      Oh, it is beautiful as well as book-filled! The Welsh version, Blaenavon (which I haven't been to for years) was in a very ugly old mining town, which did little to make it appeal.

      I did leave all the Penguins for you! The only shop I went in which separates their Penguins was one on the main street, called Hay Books (or something like that) next to HSBC bank – it's also one of the cheaper bookshops. But we went in 6 this time, out of 20-something, so there could well be others.

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 11:36 am
    Permalink

    Nice! and oh how I want Surviving which I didn't know existed.

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm
      Permalink

      Not too bad a price on Amazon, Harriet! I want all my Greens to match, so when I saw one in the same edition as my others, I snapped it up. (You're welcome to borrow it, of course.)

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm
    Permalink

    What a great haul! And yes, it's so good to go shopping with other like-minded large-scale book gatherers…

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm
      Permalink

      It's so nice not to feel worried about pulling loads of books off the shelf! Other people I've gone with don't judge me, as it were, but I feel their surprise…

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    Permalink

    Looking like the cat wot got the cream there Simon. Didn't know the E von Arnim biog. existed & ditto the Virago. Enjoy the haul.

    Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm
    Permalink

    I have The Gentlewoman and it's lovely. Hooray for Hay! I have been twice with 3 other book-loving ladies (among them Heaven-Ali from the Virago Library Thingers) and we competed to see who "won" (i.e. had the most books). There were various cries of "It doesn't count because [it's for someone else / it's in a series I'm reading / I will bookcross it afterwards]" but we usually end up with about 30 each. I also took my Other Half there once – he's not a big book buyer but couldn't resist a) looking at them ALL and b) coming back with a pile himself.
    – Liz / LyzzyBee

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm
      Permalink

      How lovely it would be to go with Virago ladies! I've been six or seven times, and I adore it. But it's probably best that I don't live too close to it, otherwise I'd never pay my bills…

      I went to the Bookbarn in Somerset with two ladies from an online book group I'm in – everything was £1 each, and we all came away from 25-30 books. We basically only stopped because we were tired and couldn't carry anything more!

      Thanks for the support for The Gentlewoman – it's pushed it up the tbr pile a little :)

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm
    Permalink

    I haven't read 'Off the Deep End,' but I also really like Christopher Morley. And I make a Hay pilgrimage at least once a year! (I'm miss_read from the Virago group, btw)

    Reply
    • February 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm
      Permalink

      Lovely of you to stop by here, Helen (and I loved looking at your photos on your Photo-of-the-Day blogs) – I adore Parnassus on Wheels, like The Haunted Bookshop to a lesser extent, and enjoyed some of Safety Pins a great deal, and other parts of it rather less. Here's hoping the best bits of Off the Deep End are as good as the best bits of Safety Pins!

      Reply
  • February 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm
    Permalink

    What a wonderful trip! If I ever get over there, the economy will definitely have a "boost." That was a Christopher Morley title that I haven't seen. I have a Stepping Heavenward, but it is by Elizabeth Prentiss and definitely not about dolphins. :) Between you and Claire, I'm now on the hunt for more Milne. It's probably a good thing that there is an ocean between me and Hay-on-Wye. ;)

    Reply
    • February 4, 2012 at 12:04 am
      Permalink

      It was lovely! It was also pretty dead there, so I felt our purchases gave a few shop-owners smiles (although when I went to the desk with three £1 books, one did seem a bit disappointed – but she was lovely and friendly too, and said she hoped I'd enjoy the books.)

      I do wish you luck in your hunt for Milne! Plenty was published in the US, although I don't know how much filtered down to the secondhand market.

      Oh, and the book isn't about dolphins, it's just published by The Dolphin Press and I collect their editions when I stumble across them!

      Reply
  • February 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm
    Permalink

    Elizabeth of the German Garden: Yes, I've read this – loved it – of course, I like books _about_ authors. A very interesting life – especially with her long-term married lover and subsequent husbands (the Russell, or was he the only other? – had to 'escape' even!). One daughter was not happy with the move to England and went back there when she could.

    Reply
    • February 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks for the approval on this one, Nancy – I wasn't sure if it would be sufficiently interesting, because for some reason it looked a little dry, so I'm glad to hear otherwise.
      And hurrah that you're able to comment now!

      Reply
    • February 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm
      Permalink

      I was pleased with it :) Then again, I always am pleased when I've been to Hay (and always wonder what I left behind, owing to time constraints…)

      Reply
  • February 7, 2012 at 3:09 am
    Permalink

    Will be interested to know how you enjoy Jolley. She is an inspiration to me, beginning to write quite late in life and such novels!! The Newspaper of Claremont Street was read on the radio as I took long trips to work many moons ago now. It was quite spellbinding, such a fresh and original voice. Both of your finds are idiosyncratic and quite different as I recall. You have some gems there, Simon.

    Reply
    • February 7, 2012 at 8:22 am
      Permalink

      Thanks for that, Martina – I am intrigued by Jolley all the more after the comments about her. I think Mr. Scobie's Riddle will be the first I try, and then will report back!

      Reply
  • February 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm
    Permalink

    I have read Father by E von Arnim and, as always with this author, the relationships and characteriation are spot on. Have not read this for some time but can remember that I wanted to murder the father half way through.

    And yes, you have Aunt Daisy under another title – it was me who gave it to you!!

    Reply
    • February 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm
      Permalink

      Yes indeed you did! How annoying that I didn't know it was the same book…

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: