I think I was in just about every charity shop in St Andrews last Saturday, sadly most of the charity shop books are newish mass market paperbacks so there’s no chance of finding really unusual books. The Oxfam shop there is better than most though and has separate shelves for vintage books. I bought an Ann Bridge book there – The Light Hearted Quest. I’m fairly sure I read some of her books years ago, but they must have been from the libary because I don’t own any others. It was first published in 1956.
One thing which has annoyed me is the pricing of book club books. The last time I was in an Edinburgh bookshop there were some books which I would’ve bought if they hadn’t had wild prices on them – with the words first edition pencilled on them too. I can’t make my mind up whether the shop owner is just a bit clueless about book pricing as the books are a sort of sideline to the ‘antique’ shop or they are hoping to fool people. The books were all 1950s and 60s book club choice books, so there is no way that they could possibly be described as first editions as the book clubs obviously only reprinted books which were already very popular. So annoying!
Anyway, back to St Andrews and I was very lucky at the actual second-hand bookshop, sadly it’s the only one left now, but I almost always find something worth buying there. This time it was a book from the Our Beautiful Homeland series, published by Gresham. I’m ashamed to say that I had never even heard of the series but I checked the internet and there are plenty available for sale there.
I picked the book up because it has a lovely cover which I was sure had been designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, he did design quite a lot of bookcovers, especially for the publisher Blackie. The book was a bit manky though but I knew it would clean up beautifully with a wet wipe – and it did. It was the same price as a new paperback book, so a real bargain then and it has 48 coloured plates of York, Ripon, Harrogate, The English Lakes and Scarborough – which are all places we have visited. The plates are by Ernest W. Haslehurst and you can see some of his work here.