I bought books. So many books.

It’s been a couple of years since I went to Hay on Wye, and on Saturday I went back. No matter how many times I go, I can never quite get over the joy of so many bookshops in one place – though there are fewer each time I visit, which is slightly sad. Still, I came away with quite a few gems, including some quirky titles I wouldn’t have heard about except through browsing.


And Even Now by Max Beerbohm
Yet Again by Max Beerbohm
Every time I do a book haul, I seem to have bought more books by Beerbohm. To date, I have only read two. But… well, those two were great.

Zuleika in Cambridge by S.C. Roberts
I read about this riposte in the introduction to Zuleika Dobson (tying in to the Beerbohm titles above), and it was fun to stumble across it in Addyman Books.

Our Heritage of Liberty by Stephen Leacock
READ MORE LEACOCK SIMON. I have so many unread. But I’ve never heard of this. And I’m intrigued to hear about what Canada’s heritage of liberty is.

Julian Grenfell by Nicholas Mosley
I thought I already owned this Persephone book, but LibraryThing tells me I don’t. I haven’t yet checked my Persephone shelf to make sure…

Essays in Satire by Ronald Knox
After a quick flick through, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of satire in this collection – but it looks like an entertaining read, and a really pretty book too.

The Scheme for Full Employment by Magnus Mills
I haven’t read a Mills book for ages, and I keep stocking up on them – are you sensing a theme in this haul post? (Sidenote: it’s relatively seldom that I buy a novel by an author I know nothing at all about.)

No Signposts in the Sea by Vita Sackville-West
This was the first VSW novel I read, back in around 2002, and didn’t much like it. But since then I’ve come to really love her, so… maybe now I’d like it? If not, a pretty Virago with a nice cover (painting by Kees van Dongen) ain’t a bad thing.

Corduroy by Adrian Bell
Yes, OK, I did already have a copy of this – but this is a Slightly Foxed Edition. Yum.

Memoirs of Emma Courtney by Mary Hays
I read a few of these Pandora titles back in the day (18th-century novels by women), and have long intended to read more. Mary Brunton was a great discovery back then.

The Pit Prop Syndicate by Freeman Wills Crofts
This green Penguin is beyond tatty, but I’m up for reading more FWC after finding him through the British Library reprints.

Guy and Pauline by Compton Mackenzie
After reading Poor Relations while I was in Edinburgh, I wanted to read some more by Mackenzie. Only £1 for this one, though I know nothing at all about it.

Tomorrow Will Be Better by Betty Smith
I haven’t read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn yet, despite meaning to for years, but this one leapt off the shelf into my hands.

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington
This has been on my wishlist for many years, though I can’t actually remember why. Somebody presumably reviewed or recommended it? Anybody?

Simple People by Archibald Marshall
Seems to be witty essays about people’s professions, maybe? I love a witty essay. And the name rings a bell for some reason.

Friendship and Happiness by Arnold Bennett
A little volume about Christmas, I think, and how its meaning has changed. Bennett seems to have put pen to paper with every thought that crossed his mind, publishing them as little hardbacks, and I am not mad at it.

Fiction as She is Wrote by ‘Evoe’
Evoe is, I believe, E.V. Knox – and this collection of spoofs looks at different types of popular fiction in the 1920s. I just love this sort of thing. And I love the reference to archetypal English as She is Spoke.

Intimate Things by Karel Capek
I need to read more of the Capek books I’ve been piling up, and this collection of essays is probably where I’ll start. I think it’s quite similar, in conception, to Delight by J.B. Priestley.

The Novel and Our Time by Alex Comfort
This little book looks at different trends in fiction of its time – the time being 1948 – though a post-buy flick through suggests it might be more connected with Russian literature than I recollected.

Lives for Sale ed. by Mark Bostridge
A collection of biographers writing about their biographical experiences, which sounds fantastic. Names include Lyndall Gordon, Claire Harman, Hermione Lee, Frances Spaling, Hilary Spurling, Claire Tomalin, Jenny Uglow – basically everybody you could hope for. And will (fingers crossed) answer all the questions that come to mind when I read a biography.

Bestseller by Claud Cockburn
I read bits of this in the Bodleian during my DPhil – looking at the bestselling books of the first half of the 20th century – so it’s nice to get an affordable copy for my shelves.

First Editions of To-day and How to Tell Them by H.S. Boutell
I’m not that interested in finding first editions (or first impressions, as the note assures me is meant) – this 1920-something book is just an intriguing curiosity. Every publishing house of the day is listed, with descriptions of how you can be sure you’re getting a first impression – so it’s mostly interesting for an overview of the publishing industry at my favourite time for books.

Tea with Walter de la Mare by Russell Brain
I love personal, anecdotey memoirs of famous authors.

Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban
The Unpossessed by Tess Slesinger
Chaos and Night by Henry de Montherlant
A whole bunch of NYRB Classics – which I can almost never resist.

Right! There we are. So many books!

29 thoughts on “I bought books. So many books.

  • November 14, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Sorry to hear Hay-on-Wye is diminishing, but vicariously enjoying your visit anyway. I think it was you who triggered me to read Zuleika Dobson, so,, since I now know Cambridge better, I was inspired to snatch up the cheapest copy available online! Also I think I’ll start a Betty Smith re-read. Must say I didn’t get on with Julian Grenfell very well (yawn).

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      I remember other doves not loving Julian G – but I am nothing if not a completist! But, more importantly, I need to sort my life out and read some Betty Smith. Even if she has perhaps the blandest name in all of history – and this is coming from somebody who poses stiff competition.

  • November 14, 2016 at 10:09 am

    It’s official: you are as bad as me. I haven’t been to Hay-on-Wye for a very long time, but clearly I need to stay away or else…

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      We are beyond help. Not that I was even looking for help. I was revelling in it!

  • November 14, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Lives for Sale is wonderful, Simon. Mostly about how the biographers came to their subjects and/or how they did the research.

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      It does sound a delight – and one I would have recommended to you if you hadn’t already read it!

  • November 14, 2016 at 10:52 am

    I was restrained last time we went and only got half a dozen.
    Good to hear you are keeping them in business! :-)
    I thought several shops seemed to have almost as many new titles as old on their shelves now all so different to 20 years ago

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      There are increasing numbers of new books – I know how to get past them to the old ones behind! Particularly in Hay on Wye Booksellers, on the main street, the secondhand fiction is really hidden.

  • November 14, 2016 at 11:24 am

    OMG! I haven’t been to Hay for ages, but I’ve been quite “good” recently and the TBR isn’t too huge. I wonder if I can work it into a visit with my cousins when they’re vaguely in the area next April …

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Liz! You HAVE to. Plus it’s such a lovely day out even without the books.

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm

      Haha! It is a bit overwhelming and very tempting… but I think you should, Karen.

  • November 14, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I would say “Congratulations” but…..not sure that’s the right word!

    I daren’t visit Hay, as I would either become paralyzed with fearas to so much choice, or going mad, then trying to bring the books home (and finding space for them!)

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      It is definitely a bit overwhelming, but on the eighth visit you get used to it ;)

  • November 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Lots of great looking books there! I honestly have never even looked into what else Betty Smith writes. I really should!

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks :) I’m super excited about this haul!

  • November 14, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I’m not sure why but this post cheered me up no end.

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Aw, I’m glad, Caroline! I’m not going to share the books so I can at least share the joy ;)

  • November 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Where do you find space to keep them all? Fascinating haul, as usual. Love Capek so that one stood out for me and am very intrigued by Pandora titles. Will have to look into them myself.

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      Good question, Claire! And answer comes there none…
      I thought of you with the Capek. I’ve bought a few of his more unusual books recently, so should actually read them (cos that was the most expensive one I picked up!)

  • November 14, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I haven’t heard of that Leacock either and I’m doubly curious to know what our heritage of liberty is. I will be looking forward to your review!

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      I will fill you in in due course! It’s been so long since I read a Leacock book – this will be quite an unexpected one to line up next.

  • November 14, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I have only been to Hay-on-Wye once and I didn’t find any books I wanted to buy. I think you must have just got there before me that time. Stockbridge in Edinburgh is my downfall!

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      Wow, Katrina, none at all? I don’t think I’ve ever come away with fewer than 15… so maybe I did clean them out each time before you arrived ;)

  • November 14, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Goodness me you did buy books didn’t you. Well done. What a fascinating looking haul. I ‘m sure you’ll enjoy them.

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      I hope so! (I dread to look back at previous years’ hauls and seeing how many are still unread…)

  • November 14, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    I throughly enjoyed Lives for Sale when I read it recently. And Turtle Diary was a great favourite for years after I first read it.

    • November 15, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      I’ve had a few comments on Turtle Diary now, from v anti to v pro, which has made me all the keener to give it a go.

  • November 16, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I love getting new books! You must be so excited :) It’s my favorite thing to get!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: