It was my best book friends* birthday a couple of weeks ago, and she wanted to spend it enjoying a really good browse in an actual bookshop. We flirted with the idea of going to Hay-on-Wye but (neither of us ever have) but it's a bit to far from us for a day trip, and staying over was going to take to much book buying money.
In the end we went to Nottingham which is blessed with a good size branch of Waterstones, some excellent cafes, a few other things we like, and is only half an hour away in the train. It's a while since either of us have found ourselves in a big bookshop, turns out we'd missed it a lot.
There really is nothing like the opportunity for a proper browse somewhere that's likely to have a reasonable selection of anything you might be interested in. It certainly encourages me to buy. The one book I really wanted was Seán Lysaght's 'Eagle Country' (Little Toller) which I found (my local Waterstones doesn't have it). I also found The Golovlevs by M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin (Apollo) which sounds intriguing. It's a stark portrait of the Russian gentry sapped by generations of idleness and irrelevance- and will have to wait until I have holiday time to tackle it in.
Saša Stanišić's 'Before the Feast' (Pushkin) caught my eye next. Pushkin have never yet disappointed me so I'm looking forward to this 'multi-stranded tissue of gossip, myth and memory'. It's also the sort of book that might languish for years on a wish list, but is irresistible when it's in front of you.
I think the same is probably true of Daphne Du Maurier's 'Hungry Hill' (Virago). I'd never heard of this one, but there's a castle, a family feud, and it sounds like it's set in Ireland. It's also 500 pages long and to date I've only ever managed to finish one Du Maurier. Maybe this will be book number two. It'll probably also santba holiday to get through it.
James George Frazer's 'The Golden Bough' (Oxford World's Classics) made the bookseller laugh at me (he'd correctly divined that it wouldn't end with the 4 books I'd already bought. He was right) . I kind of thought I already had a copy, but browsing through it whilst R was paying for her books made me realise I didn't. The more I browsed the more I wanted it, I have no idea if I'll ever properly consult it, but I have excellent intentions.
*We met when she gave me a job in a bookshop, and have spent the last 20 years encouraging each other to buy more books, travelling reasonably far and wide to do so.