books · bookshelves · bookshops


Two weeks ago, while running some errands, I stopped by the bookshop. I thought it would be a short visit since my only intention was to return a collection of Turgenev’s stories that I borrowed more than two months ago. Last time I was there, their used book stock was disappointingly thin. The category ”used books” no longer existed on their web page so I feared that they were planning to cut them out completely.

What a pleasant surprise it was to see the shelves full! Naturally, I had to stay and check what was on offer. I found quite a number of wonderful titles, among them Durrell’s

I found quite a number of wonderful titles, among them Durrell’s Menagerie Manor (for a ridiculously low price) and The Shipping News.

  • Look at Me. Anita Brookner

When books are cheap, I tend to grab any available title by an author of interest. Particularly when a twentieth-century British woman writer (that I am yet to discover) is in question.

  • The Bell. Iris Murdoch
  • The Philosopher’s Pupil. Iris Murdoch

I have only read (and loved) the first couple of pages of The Sea, the Sea, but I have read a lot about her writings during my final year at the university. It’s the philosophy of morality that attracted me to her. Looking forward to exploring!

  • Menagerie Manor. Gerald Durrell

The best kind of comfort read – British humor and animals!

  • A Peppered Moth. Margaret Drabble

After reading four of her books I can say I have mixed feelings towards Drabble. If I’m honest, the feelings are slightly leaning on the negative side… Still, my hand automatically reached for this book and I concurred with it.

  • The Shipping News. Annie Proulx

I have read it some time ago, but certain images of the sea come back to me fairly often. I always knew I would like to reread it so here it is…

And at last!!… My first Virago Modern Classic! I felt such a rush of excitement upon spotting the green spine that it did not matter which author or which title it was. I am content with it being Stead’s The Salzburg Tales mainly because she is Australian – having it near will be a reason more to build up my laughable knowledge of the literature of that country.

When books are cheap, I tend to grab any available title by a publisher of interest… Well, in any case, this is certainly true of Virago. I found a collection of stories, Close Company: Stories of Mothers and Daughters, and decided it’s coming with me.

The next day, my sister invited me to a birthday shopping spree and, after purchasing a dress and some flowers for the balcony, we ended up at the Here I lost all my restraint and bought all the books I saw (and put on hold) the previous day.

  • Her People: Memories of an Edwardian Childhood. Kathleen Dayus

Another Virago… The subtitle offers all the explanation needed.

  • Eminent Victorians. Lytton Strachey
  • Orlando. Virginia Woolf
  • The Life of Samuel Johnson. James Boswell

These three books share a connection. I wrote my master thesis on Orlando following my interest in Woolf’s understanding of the art of biography. The Life of Samuel Johnson was the book which she praised and held in high regard, so it was essential to read it as part of the research. Eminent Victorians I haven’t read but always wanted to since it occupies a significant place in the history of biography as well.

  • Master Georgie. Beryl Bainbridge

This one came as a surprise since I did not notice it the day before. Bainbridge belongs to a group of writers I am looking forward to getting acquainted with. I read Master Georgie is brilliant.

  • Lorna Doone. R.D. Blackmore

It’s a classic I knew nothing about. The name was faintly familiar, but nothing else. The time will come to change that.

  • The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien

I haven’t read it in the original language. Soon, I hope…

  • The Angel’s Game. Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The second book of the serial I am eager to dig into. Now I only have to get the other three!

Last but not least, A Gardener’s Guide to Herbs. I dwelled for a long time whether to buy this one or not since information on any possible herb is readily available on the internet at any given hour. However, I prefer having them in a form of a book and so the preference sealed the deal. Great photos, short instructions on sowing, caring for and harvesting 60 herbs; the book also states some culinary, medicinal, cosmetical and fragrance use of these herbs. There are some craft ideas as well. Wonderful!

And that was it…


13 thoughts on “Book-shopping

  1. it was probably even more delightful because you went to that shop with low expectations. Murdoch is someone that I have had mixed reactions to – loved The Sea, The Sea but struggled with one or two of her others

  2. Quite a colleciton of finds! And congrats on that first Virago. I don’t think that’s a very common one either!

  3. Welcome to the Virago club, very excited for you to have picked up your first and The Hobbit too. I have yet to read Orlando but thank you for reminding me that that and The Shipping News are somewhere in my stacks!

    1. Thank you very much, Ste. After stumbling into The Virago Book of Women Gardeners, I knew the chances of setting my hands on a Virago Modern Classic were real. Five months later here it is! What joy!
      No problem. Do you need a reminder on some other books? :P

      Truly sorry for the late reply. I’ve been busy with my garden so I almost forgot about the blog.

  4. This is quite a haul, indeed! Congrats on nabbing your first VMC, too! :) I had a sort of obsession/ fascination with Samuel Johnson some years back and picked up quite a few of his biographies and a volume of his travels with Boswell to the Hebrides. Interesting to know that you wrote your thesis on Orlando, which has been on my TBR for ages. Must really get to it soon!
    And oh, your blog is looking great with the new makeover. ;)

    1. I have to apologize for the late reply, Michelle. I feel so estranged from the blog. I cannot even read the blogs I follow because it would make me feel guilty for not commenting. I’m out of words, at the moment…
      Thank you! The travel book sounds interesting. It must be deliciously entertaining. I will check it out. :)
      The makeover was a consequence of an attempt to resolve the problem that I had (that I’m having!) with poor photo resolution. I am not completely satisfied with the new look but I like it enough to leave it be!

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