Colin was here over the weekend, and yesterday we took a trip to Woodstock. The initial idea had been to go to Blenheim Palace, depending upon the price… well, it was £14, which is ridiculous, so we wandered the streets of Woodstock instead. And I – will you believe it – bought some books.
The first one was actually in Oxford – I spent a book token on Deborah Devonshire’s latest collection of essays, Home To Roost and other peckings. We all know her as Debo Mitford, and her previous collection Counting My Chickens delighted me last April. She’s still wearing the same coat on this cover, and doubtless the contents will be equally unique and enjoyable.
And onto Woodstock. A charity shop proffered The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, which I’ve heard raved about, and which my book group is doing later in the year. Harriet’s thorough and appreciative review is here. In the same charity shop I bought The Garrick Year by Margaret Drabble – a tatty copy, but sounds fun.
And then, when we thought we’d exhausted Woodstock, we came across The Woodstock Bookshop. I’ve discovered they have a website. A small shop, opened in March 2008, they were jam-packed with excellent books, obviously carefully chosen. Lots of Hesperus, Capuchin, those beautiful Virago anniversary editions, and several shelves of Persephone Books. I could have bought dozens of things, but had to control myself – but, since I think independent bookshops deserve support, I did come away with a Persephone I don’t yet have – short story collection Tell It To A Stranger by Elizabeth Berridge. If you’re passing through Woodstock, perhaps going to Blenheim Palace, do make sure to pay a visit to The Woodstock Bookshop. They also have people talking there, if you’re around – do see the website for more details. I get quite evangelical about the need for independent bookshops, especially since Oxford now has none.