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bits and pieces on Brighton and thee beyond…..

Books and books and books and….

Posted by Sara on August 6, 2009

I’ve not been writing too much this past week but that’s because I have been reading loads – as the Gods of all Gifts Secondhand have been smiling down on me with some remarkable finds in my local charity shops.

spiralFirst up was Spiral off Western road, one of my favourite places for a Saturday morning browse. Spread out over three adjoining rooms trailing down Bedford Place and a veritable Santa’s Grotto for knick knacks and furniture, Spiral has an eclectic range of books and magazines – including a vast collection of National Geographics I am slowly making my way through – all stacked in big bookcases along the walls, one of them hiding a beautiful scenic mosaic behind it which is worth a visit to the shop alone.

sjacksonDuring my last Saturday Spiral excursion I stumbled apon The Masterpieces of Shirley Jackson, published by Raven Books. With an introduction by Donna Tartt, this edition contains The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Shirley Jackson and Donna Tartt are two of my favourite authors so the introduction alone was worth the £1 the book cost me. There are some writers you just never ever find in charity shops and Shirley Jackson is one of them. I have just finished We have Always Lived in The Castle and it has affected me deeply – what an amazing story, so funny and sad, bizarre and so true all at the same time.

Then on to Oxfam, Western Road for not one, not two but three Ray Bradbury paperbacks, all at a bargain 99p each.

RayBradburyRay Bradbury writes beautifully and I love his prose. Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of my favourite books that I can read and reread time and time again. I’ve not read any of the stuff above but have just started on the short stories  compiled in Golden Apples of the Sun – two that stand out for me so far are The Great Wide World Over There and The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl.

If that wasn’t enough bargain busting for one day I wander down to the Lanes where I spy this hardback in the window of Sandpiper books:

lordofavisibleworldOk so this isn’t secondhand but at £6.99 is a bargain none the less. Sandpiper specialise in remainder and bargain books with loads of those big coffee table type tomes, so fun to flick through on rainy afternoons, choc full of photos of anything and everything from arty sailors to modern architecture and antique charm bracelets to Andalusian equines. They also stock a wide range of books in specialist subjects and are always worth a browse. I’ve not seen this one much cheaper than £20 secondhand so to find it new for £6.99 is a treat indeed. They still have copies in stock last time I looked so get there quick if you want one.

Though HP Lovecraft is another one of my favourite authors and was a prolific letter writer, I’ve avoided reading much of his personal correspondence as the less you know about your heroes the better I think. But since being given his biography for Christmas my curiousity has been piqued; a lot of people who know much better than I do rate his life as having been a pretty tragic one whereas it didn’t sound too bad at all to me. Seems he enjoyed a sheltered, secluded life living off the missus and a small family inheritence, fuelled by strong cheese and coffee, free from the vicissitudes of regular employment – an introverts dream no less! Maybe learning more about his life in his own words will add insight so I am looking forward to tackling this selection of his letters and essays, some of which have never been published before.

Just a couple of doors away from Sandpiper is another Oxfam, this one selling nothing but books and records and guaranteed Werewolfofparisto have something worth buying, though their prices can be a little steep – but what the hey, it’s all for charidee. I spotted this – The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore and, though I didn’t know anything about this book or the writer, I have a thing for pictures of teeth so I had to buy it just for the cover – even though it was kind of pricey at £1.99.

One thing I love about secondhand books is the pieces of paper you find in them and there is a library type slip glued into the inside cover of this one from a place called Reads + Beads, Sant Bartomeu, Sitges. It appears to be some kind of book rental  co-operative and coincidently the last date stamped for this book to be due back is my birthday!

grimscribe

Well if that wasn’t enough for a fun filled afternoon shopping what did I spy when made my way to pay at the counter? Holy Guacamole Batman can this be true? For £1.50?!

I guess this makes up for the time I spotted Teattro Grottesco in the very same shop tucked away in the foreign language section but decided not to buy it as I had a copy borrowed from the library and hadn’t made up my mind whether I wanted one to keep all to myself or not. So I left it there, foolishly thinking it would be safe for a week or two but alas by the time I realised how fine the stories were it had gone….

Ho Hum – too many books, too little time – I feel a poem coming on.

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7 Responses to “Books and books and books and….”

  1. cool site. Keep on

  2. theenook said

    thanks for the comment – you write some nice words yourself, I like your poetry, sara

  3. sherby57 said

    Buying books from charity shops is a total addiction for me. There’s one near where I work and I find myself going in there every dinner time as though being pulled by an invisible piece of elastic. It’s just one of my weird reading habits: http://poursomegravyonme.co.uk/2009/08/26/reading-habits-an-introduction/

  4. theenook said

    I know exactly what you mean, I’m surrounded by piles of stuff I can’t wait to read and I wonder if there will ever be enough time to read through everything I want to! I look forward to your book reviews, good luck and happy bargain hunting!

  5. sherby57 said

    I used to wonder if I’d ever get through all the books I own – I’ve just come to accept that I’ll always have 3 years worth of advanced reading at any point in time!

  6. Great 120th Birthday Presents to/from H. P. Lovecraft!

    Happy 120th. Birthday H.P.L.!

    Freebies released in celebration of H. P. Lovecraft’s 120th. birthday on 20-August-2010, and to stir up excitement for the possible making of the Universal Studios 3D version of “At the Mountains of Madness” by Guillermo del Toro and James Cameron; and as a celebration by Will Hart of the 20th. anniversary of his being at Lovecraft’s grave-side on his 100th. birthday.

    Released during the last few hours in MP3 Format on:
    http://cthulhuwho1.com
    (The audio companion to the CthulhuWho1 Flickr collections.)

    “Fungi from Yuggoth”
    H. P. Lovecraft’s complete 36 sonnet set; in an all-new recording by William (Will) Hart; in single file, and multiple file versions. A dark poetry reading if there ever was one…

    “What If H. P. Lovecraft Had Lived Into The 1960’s?”
    A 163 minute panel recording in six parts, of Professor Dirk W. Mosig, Professor Donald R. Burleson, J. Vernon Shea, Fritz Leiber, Jr., and S.T. Joshi at the 36th World Science Fiction Convention in Phoenix in 1978. A must-have for Lovecraftians!

    Plus, behind the scenes recordings including a live reading by Don Burleson of his darkly funny, “The Last Supper.”

    And more audio goodies too!

    And there are now over 1200 Lovecraft, Cthulhu, and Providence related images for the taking at the CthulhuWho1 Flickr page at:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cthulhuwho1/collections/
    (The image companion site to the http://cthulhuwho1.com audio site.)

    All of the above items (and more to come) were created in honor of H. P. Lovecraft; but since he’s not here with us, it’s up to you, and everyone you can share them with to enjoy them!

    Will Hart
    aka CthulhuWho1
    aka California Cthulhu
    willhart-at-roadrunner-dot-com

  7. Sara said

    thanks for the comment Will, I’ve added a link to your fabulous page above and will be checking out your flickr page soon! all the best, sara

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