Autumn Break Book Purchases

I came back home with very few books this time, slim pickings indeed. I didn’t see one Angela Thirkell book but I did buy:

Fire, Burn! by John Dickson Carr
A Thatched Roof by Beverley Nichols (sequel to Down the Garden Path)
and on the way home I bought a 1970s edition of Four Hedges by Clare Leighton.

The bookshop in York, just beside the Minster is one of those ones which sells a lot of prints too. I always find that quite sad because most of them have been ripped out of books. But I couldn’t help admiring some woodblock prints by Clare Leighton, I don’t recall ever seeing anything by her before, so when I picked up a book in an antiques centre at Powburn, Northumberland I was amazed to see that the book underneath was one by Clare Leighton with 88 illustrations by her. How lucky was that?! At only £5 it was definitely coming home with me. You can see some of her work here.

When I got home I looked her up and discovered that her brother was Roland Leighton, whom I always think of as O Roland – if you’ve read Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth you’ll know that she was engaged to him but of course he died of his wounds in 1915. Four Hedges is subtitled A Gardener’s Chronicle and needless to say I won’t be breaking it up to hang any of it on my already overcrowded walls.

So that was it, just three books bought whilst in England but today we wandered down the High Street and I went into one charity shop and ended up buying:

The Demoniacs by John Dickson Carr
Watson’s Choice by Gladys Mitchell and
Taken By The Hand by O. Douglas

I’d better get down to some serious reading at the rate the TBR pile is growing, especially as two of the books which I had requested from the library have also turned up. I still haven’t got around to sorting through the photos I took whilst we were away. Maybe tomorrow!

10 thoughts on “Autumn Break Book Purchases

  1. As I read your post, I was trying to remember how I knew the name Clare Leighton – and I did, just as you mentioned Vera Brittain.

    I agree with you about orphaned prints! We have criminals here in the US who visit rare book rooms in libraries to steal prints out of books.

    • Lisa,
      It’s amazing how often you find links between lots of authors and artists, isn’t it. We have book and print thieves here too. Sometimes they’re even academics and librarians who are just trusted to be honest and there’s no real security in lots of libraries and universities, it’s crazy.

    • Peggy Ann,
      It’s one of those small editions by the publisher Thomas Nelson and was a Sunday school prize for a May McVey in 1939! So she was obviously deemed to be suitable reading for members of baptist churches.

  2. I didn’t know this artist / writer, Clare Leighton. I love the prints, though.

    Recently, I read Watson’t Choice. Gladys Mitchell’s books are hard to find in the States, so I’m always searching for one of her many, many books.

    Beverley Nichols is a favorite of mine. I have several of his books, including Down the Garden Path, but I don’t recall even hearing of A Thatched Roof. The search begins!

    John Dickson Carr is another favorite. I’m so glad that authors like Carr and Mitchell were so prolific. Many, many years of reading to look forward to!

    • Joan,
      I thought you had mentioned Gladys Mitchell not long ago, I don’t think I’ve read any yet.
      The Beverley Nichols books are really nice and a matching set. I haven’t read Down the Garden Path yet.

  3. There is always tomorrow……. I have so much to read.

    I had no idea that was going on with prints from books. I would just never think of defacing a book.

    Look forward to the photos.

    • Jo,
      At times it feels a bit like being on a treadmill, they’re coming into the house faster than I can read them. Book trashing is economical for them I suppose. Often a book which has a value of £10 – £20 will have several prints in it which can be cardboard mounted cheaply and sold for about £25 each. It’s a horrible thing to happen to a book though.

  4. I’m always amazed at the wonderful books you find in your travels. It is really hard to find any books that interest me in the bookshops here in Phoenix.

    • Anbolyn,
      I was feeling quite hard done by too, but now I’m feeling sorry for you! If you ever get to Britain you might want to bring a spare empty suitcase for your book purchases!

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