Recent Book Purchases

Yet again, I had banned myself from the library to concentrate on my own books, but a visit to the adjoining museum shop to buy a card ended up with me sloping into the library and of course I was seduced by some new books, but it was the unplanned book buying which was quite spectacular. In January it seems that every time I went out of the house I came back with books which I wasn’t even looking for – honest!

A visit to an antiques centre ended up with me buying the lovely Folio editions of the Mapp and Lucia books by E.F. Benson. I have them all but just in paperback so I couldn’t resist these, especially as they were so incredibly cheap. I’m not going to tell you exactly how cheap, I don’t wish to cause pain!

A mooch around some Edinburgh charity shops ended up with me buying the Penguin crimes.
The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
The Mask of Glass by Holly Roth
Cork on the Water by McDonald Hastings

I also bought It Ends with Revelations by Dodie Smith. Has anyone read this one? I’ve only read I Capture the Castle, which I really enjoyed. Then when I saw a pristine hardback of All Our Worldly Goods by Irene Nemirovsky I had to buy that too.

In the Scottish bookshop in Dunfermline I couldn’t pass up on
Children of the Tempest by Neil Munro and
The Selected Travel Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson called Dreams of Elsewhere.

Taking my library books back I swore I wasn’t going to borrow any more books, well I stuck to that but I couldn’t help just glancing at the bookshelves which hold the books for sale, Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym jumped out at me – really it did!

A trip to St Andrews saw me bringing back:
The Angel in the Corner by Monica Dickens, I haven’t read anything by her for getting on for 40 years, hard to belive it but true.
I also bought The McFlannels See It Through which is the second book in a humorous Scottish wartime series, but I don’t have the first one yet.

A trip to Linlithgow saw me buying:
The Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat. It’s a children’s classic which I’ve never got around to reading. Of course it’s set in the English Civil War, which historians now recognise involved the whole of Britain, some of them are now calling it the War of the Three Kingdoms.

Also Nan of Northcote by Doris A Pocock, which is set in a girls school and was published in 1929. It cost me all of £1 and it could be absolute garbage but I love the cover.

My favourite and most expensive purchase was:
Scottish Gardens by Sir Herbert Maxwell, published in 1908 and it has lovely illustrations of some gardens which I’ve visited. I’m sure some of them don’t exist any more but I’m going to track them down and visit the ones I can, to see how they have changed over the years. The book is a beauty and was still a bargain, it’s for sale on the internet for much more than I paid for it. I’ve also discovered that the author was Gavin Maxwell’s grandfather. When I was a teenager I loved his nature books which are set in Scotland.

As you can see, I’ve got to get on with my reading!

20 thoughts on “Recent Book Purchases

  1. Great haul! They looks so beautiful all lined up there. Nothing better in life than old books! Never heard the McFlannels before so I had to check it out and I couldn’t resist – I ordered the first book.

    • Peggy,
      They’re on my stairs of course, just for the photo. Wow you were fast, I was just hoping the first one would turn up in a shop soon but I think I’ll get it online too. That’ll be more towards the challenge.

  2. I bought a lot more than I planned to in January also. Some at a bookstore, but most of it online. Your purchases sound great. Especially interested in hearing about the Dodie Smith book (I haven’t read anything by that author).

    • TracyK,
      I Capture the Castle seems to be the Dodie Smith book which just about every female reader in the UK has read. I resort to online only in desperation but so many bookshops have closed down and sometimes I’m just too impatient to wait for serendipity to strike.

  3. I’ve been quite restrained recently, resisting buying books. I managed it until February. But I have to borrow library books – I don’t want them to cut the mobile library service! so I’ve been borrowing books.

    You have got some lovely books there. Monica Dickens was a great favourite of mine years ago – not sure if I read that one though. And I loved The Children of the New Forest as a child. Interesting about the English Civil War – the 16th century was the period I studied for ‘A’ Level History and Scotland was certainly part of the war – not so long after the union of the crowns, it had to be, what with the religious issues as well. Oliver Cromwell was the Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland during the Commonwealth period. Oh dear, I did ‘A’ levels so long ago, I can’t remember all the details, but I’m sure our teacher never said the Civil War only took place in England and that we knew it involved the whole country.

  4. Oh I do envy you that lovely set of the Lucia books! Mine are a mis-matched set of new & used, fine for reading but not anything to look at.

    I just discovered Monica Dickens last year (via blogs) but I haven’t read that one yet. Her books never turn up in stores here, so I’ve been ordering them on-line. I’m surprised & happy at how readily available they are, even in old hardbacks.

    • Lisa,
      I think loads of Monica Dickens books must have been published as at one point she was popular with book clubs. I think she’s Charles Dicken’s grandaughter. Your Lucia books sound exactly like my paperbacks, mind you I was pleased enough with them when I bought them.

  5. Katrina,
    This is a scrumptious post and one I can luxuriate in! I love the tale of this gathering of a library, and, of course, it’s just what you need to do these days. I’m very intrigued and, okay, well, I’m a little jealous.


    • Judith,
      I have a feeling that when we move and I unpack all of my books, many which have been in boxes for a few years now, I’ll be drowning in books.

      • What a splendid image. I hope, when the deluge occurs, you’ll be on a bed, a settee, a couch, or something soft. My mom always told me (here I go with my mom again), that when you move to a new house, get one comfy corner or one room where you can sit and relax all set up first, so you have a place to retreat to as you continue the house settling.

        • Judith,
          I’m sure your mom was right about that, you need somewhere that you can relax away from all the rest of the mayhem. I’m dreading it though after being here for 26 years.

          • Oh, Katrina, I would be dreading it, too! What I despise above all else is mayhem, though I imagine you might be dreading all your memories in that special house.

            That’s why I’m hoping and wishing and crossing fingers that you’ll find a house that is special to you, or that you feel may become special.

            Until then, do what I do in situations like this, bury your nose in a book whenever you can.

            Have you been tuning into the Olympics at all?


  6. How stupid of me, Katrina,
    I meant to say that I imagine you might be dreading leaving all your special family memories in the house you’re leaving.


    • Judith,
      It’s really the upset of moving which I’m dreading, but it’s time to pass the house on to people who need this kind of house, we’ll still have the memories when we move. I’ve been reading a lot of comfort books to keep me going.
      I/we have been watchimg the Olympics. The curling of course and the snowboarding, skiing, ice-dancing and the crazy hurtling down ice on a glorified tea tray – looks like fun to me!

  7. Nice haul!! I’m especially in love with the Folio editions of Mapp and Lucia. I still haven’t read them yet, but I hope to read at least one or two this year. I just broke down and ordered myself a present, a Folio edition of Enchanted April — my library has a copy and I’ve always wanted won. I got a nice copy from the UK which was cheaper than the shipping!

    • Karen K,
      That was a lucky buy for you, I’m going to look out for a copy of the Folio Enchanted April too, even though I have an old one. I’ve been looking for a Folio of Gaudy Night at a reasonable price for ages, it’s always expensive.

  8. Love the look of those Mapp and Lucia editions. I owned two identical copies of the M&L omnibus for 15 years and couldn’t bear to part with either. And then we moved, and it was just too ridiculous to transport both over 2500 miles, so I gave one to a friend.
    I haven’t heard of that Dodie Smith–curious to see if it’s any good. Sometimes the lesser known works of such writers are justly lesser-known. I once picked up a non Mary Poppins by P.L.Travers and couldn’t stand it. OTOH, you might have a gem. Please blog about it!

    • Niranjana,
      I will blog about it when I get around to reading it. I’ve never even read Mary Poppins, I don’t know how that happened but I think there are 6 books in the series, I take it you enjoyed them. Strangely I was just thinking yesterday that it’s about time I read another William book.
      Some authors have just one great book in them and then anything after that is a disappointment.

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