Book Purchases in Edinburgh

There was a big book-shaped void in my life due to the shops being closed for what seemed like forever, and despite buying some books online it just wasn’t the same as going into actual shops and browsing the shelves. No book smell – no serendipity – no book chat with like-minded people. Book buying online is fairly soulless.

Anyway a trip to Edinburgh one day last week went some way to filling that gap as you can see. I had a lovely time even although we had to hang about outside the shops waiting for people to come out before we could go in due to the shops being fairly small.

Books Again

The House of the Pelican by Elisabeth Kyle (1954)
Thursbitch by Alan Garner (2004)
Cross Gaits by Isabel Cameron (1945)
The Fascinating Hat by Isabel Cameron (1941)
Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann (1927)
The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski (1953)
The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff (1956)

Not a bad haul I think you’ll agree, they’re all by authors that I’ve read before and enjoyed – except for The House of the Pelican. I don’t even think I had ever heard of Elisabeth Kyle before, but the setting of the Edinburgh Festival appealed to me so I started that one almost immediately and so far – so very good.

Have you read any of these books?

10 thoughts on “Book Purchases in Edinburgh

  1. I haven’t read The House of the Pelican but I am a fan of Elisabeth Kyle. My library had a book of hers called Princess of Orange about James II’s daughters which I really liked. Some of her fiction is a little like Arthur Ransome but with a Scottish setting – maybe not very eventful but enjoyable nonetheless.

    I’ve never come across that Garner and I don’t own that Sutcliff, although I have a handful (my mother is an enormous fan and wrote a fan letter once).

    I know Rosamond Lehmann’s mother was American (presumably brought money to the family?) but have not read any of her books.

    • Constance,
      I’ll definitely look for more of Elisabeth Kyle’s books as I’m enjoying The House of the Pelican. I think Rosamond Lehmann’s father was quite wealthy, he was an MP at a time when they weren’t paid for it, but I don’t suppose he would have said no to a well off wife, there doesn’t seem to be much information about her mother. I like Garner and Sutcliff and didn’t know of either of these books so they were a nice surprise.

  2. The Victorian Chaise Longue gave me the cold gruesome. I was surprised at how much it unsettled me.

  3. Katrina,
    How I will love to hear you comment on these finds–I don’t know any of them, but Laski is an author I well recall, particularly her book Little Boy Lost, and the film starring Bing Crosby searching and searching for his son. Laski has written a number of books that were war-related, didn’t she? I should read more of her.

    • Judith,
      I read Little Boy Lost but haven’t seen the film, actually I’m not a fan of Bing Crosby so that sort of puts me off! I particularly enjoyed her book The Village which is set right at the end of WW2.

  4. I was only in Edinburgh for about 40 hours and found a few used bookstores sort of behind the Castle but did not find anything worth purchasing, which was disappointing. On the other hand, I had overpacked and nearly collapsed carrying my luggage to the train station the next day (and that was the beginning of my trip). Before my next trip, my mother gave me a rolling suitcase.

    • Constance,
      We rarely go to those bookshops close to the castle, they tend to be expensive for books I would like to buy, or have lots of mass market paperbacks. We usually go down to Stockbridge which is my favourite part of Edinburgh, the bookshops are charity bookshops but usually have a good selection of old books and I’m usually lucky there. It’s not very far to walk there from the centre of the city, but you really have to know about it. Books can be so heavy so any travellers have to be careful not to overdo it and have to pay for excess luggage weight!

  5. I also look forward to your comments on the books as you read them. I haven’t read any of these authors, although I have one book by Marghanita Laski that I bought fairly recently. I would love to be able to visit those charity book shops, we have nothing like that around here.

    • tracybham,
      I must admit that the three charity bookshops in Stockbridge are really quite small but they almost always have books that I want to buy. I’ve been envious of some of the vast used bookstores that I’ve seen in photos from the US, but I suppose the books might not be of the type I look for anyway – or might be hundreds if not thousands of miles from you. If you ever visit Edinburgh let me know and I’ll show you the shops!

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