Recent Book Purchases

We went to St Andrews on Saturday and I can’t resist a look in the second-hand bookshop there. I thought I was only going to buy one but ended up getting three as I stopped to have a look at the table of books outside the shop, I just had to have two from there too. So my haul was:

The Proper Place by O.Douglas
The Lowlands of Scotland by George Scott-Moncrieff
Till I End My Song by Robert Gibbings

I want to read all of O.Douglas’s books eventually.

I wanted the Lowlands of Scotland because that’s where I was born and although this is a book published in 1938 it does have a lot of black and white photos in it. It’s quite an interesting book although Scott-Moncrieff fairly slags off a lot of towns and villages as being ugly. I wonder what he would have thought of all the truly ghastly housing which was built around Scotland after the war.

I read about Robert Gibbings when I was doing a wee bit of research into Clare Leighton after I bought her book Four Hedges. Gibbings was an Irish artist and sculptor and illustrated a lot of books. This one is written by him and is one of his river books with nice illustrations, this was his last one published in 1957 when I suppose he knew he was very ill, he died the following year. Gibbings was apparently an influence on David Attenborough – luckily for us!

In the post during the week I received:

High Rising by Angela Thirkell which I had pre-ordered and it arrived on the 22nd. I’m really chuffed that this book has just been reprinted because it was difficult to find online in decent condition at a reasonable price. I already have a copy of Wild Strawberries which has also been reprinted.

From Abebooks I got Green Corners by Bertha Damon which is illustrated by Clare Leighton. It only has six full page illustrations but they are lovely. The book itself is about gardening and country life in New Hampshire of all places so it should be interesting to find out what sort of things grow there. It was published in 1947.

So out of my haul only one book is a new one, I must admit that I don’t often buy new books for myself although I do buy them as presents for other people.

14 thoughts on “Recent Book Purchases

  1. I need to try O. Douglas again. I didn’t take to the first one I tried.

    I am trying to be good and wait for the Thirkell book as a Christmas present.

    • Lisa,
      O.Douglas is very old fashioned and definitely not for everyone. I’m not keen on the religious bits she always put in, probably her father’s congregation expected that sort of thing. I enjoy them as they’re a look back into Scotland of yesteryear and there are characters that are recognisable types to me. Definitely comfort books with a touch of the fairy-tale about them.

  2. I love O. Douglas’ books; I’d be interested in your opinion of which village she set “The Proper Place” in.
    (Off-topic – I woke to the very happy news this morning of the expected baby for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Been rejoicing ever since 🙂 )

    • Valerie,
      I’ll have to bump it close to the top of my book pile then!
      It’s good that they waited a while before starting a family unlike Charles and Diana. It’s a shame that everyone knows about it so early on though, it would have been nice if they could have announced it to their families at Christmas. It’ll seem like a long wait now!

  3. I find it almost impossible to resist buying more books than I intend when I go into secondhand bookshops too. You did well. I really should try O Douglas and Angela Thirkell. Clare Leighton interests me – mainly, I admit, because Leighton was my maiden name, but I don’t think there is any family connection!

    We were passing by Alnwick, yesterday on our way to Newcastle and decided to stop at Barter Books, just for coffee, but as you have to pass the bookshelves to go to the cafe I couldn’t resist glancing at the books and I ‘had’ to buy two – an Agatha Christie and ‘The Scottish Border and Northumberland’, which nearly jumped off the shelf as I walked by! It looks fascinating, although I suspect it won’t be of interest to everyone.

    • Margaret,
      Well you never know, you might be related you are artistic after all. O.Douglas books are very much of their time, Scottish settings and a bit too twee for some people but it’s nice to figure out or imagine all the places mentioned.
      I got my 1938 Scottish Lowlands book for £1 although it’s in perfect condition. I think the chap was glad to get rid of it. As you say, books like that have a limited readership, we have a few old Northumberland books as Jack’s great-grandfather and my grandfather were both born there. They both came from engineering backgrounds and moved up and down to the various shipyards for work I suppose.

    • Anbolyn,
      I just heard from Joan Kyler that they aren’t available in the US yet. It seems strange because I think they would probably be more popular in the US, certainly there would be more sales! Hope you can get them soon.

    • I really, really wanted these books, so I told my husband he was buying them for me for Christmas – then I ordered them from Amazon.uk. Got the confirm that they’re on their way already.

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