Friday, August 5, 2011

The obligatory post about the books I bought

I was reasonably restrained with my holiday book purchasing (I like to think) and even more restrained with my reading. I finished Elizabeth Bowen's 'Friends and Relations' - I like her, but find she demands quite a lot of effort. She’s definitely not an author to rush; it takes me a long time, and a few attempts to get to grips with her words - but more of that another day. I also read 'The Last Chronicle of Barset' which saw me through the rest of the two weeks and was a joy – more of that soon as well.

I made a pilgrimage to Leakey's in Inverness (and have been picked up for not mentioning that in an earlier post, which was remiss of me because it’s cracking good and the biggest second hand bookshop in Scotland). Whilst there I picked up Kate O'Brian's 'That Lady' which I've wanted for ages, I think this means I have all the Virago O’Brian’s now which probably means it’s time to actually read one of them (and then another and another). I also got 'Marriage' by Susan Ferrier (apparently a Scottish classic) and which I think will go well with my current passion for all things nineteenth century, George Egerton's 'Keynotes and Discords' has also joined the collection, it sounds interesting but the one story I read on the train was tough going style wise, 'Bid me to live' by H.D, and 'Tea at four o'clock' by Janet MacNeill complete the haul from Inverness.

As I was in Orkney I had to get a George Mackay Brown - 'The Golden Bird' which is two novellas in one volume was one of the few I didn’t already have. Hoping for the best with this because I like his work short, it’s possible that a novella will be longer than I can maintain enthusiasm for. I also got a book about Herring called ‘HERRING A History of the Silver Darlings' by Mike Smylie also known by the nickname herring man. I’ve wanted this for a while but it’s been out of print and quite expensive. We actually bought out Orkney’s entire stock – I got the last Copy in Stromness, the Scottish one got the last copy in Kirkwall, we were both very happy despite realising that amazon would have been much cheaper.

The Main street book store in the borders is one of my favourite in the whole wide world (that I have discovered so far, there’s still a lot of world and by extension a lot of bookshops waiting to be explored but by any standards this is a nice one - with excellent cake) and I couldn’t visit without buying, I got a JohnBuchan – ‘Mr Standfast’ partly for the camp value but I hope it’ll be a rip roaring good read too and Mervyn Peake's ‘Mr Pye’ which looks interesting and is probably more me than Gormanghast (another one of those things started but never finished). And that was almost it except when I got home a copy of a nice shiny new cookbook was waiting for me – ‘Miss Hope's Chocolate Box', now all I need is some chocolate moulds and I’m in business.


  1. love the book shop ,I read a mackay brown the one shortlist for booker in 90's I remember I did like although struggle with the dialect at times ,all the best stu

  2. Hi Stu, I love Mackay Brown, I'm from that part of the world so the dialect doesn't bother me. I guess sometimes he can be a little narrow, but that's part of the charm to me.

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