Saturday Selection

A few ‘new’ books came into our house this week.

click to enlarge

Some came from Barter Books in Alnwick. For a while now I’ve been trying to make some space on the bookshelves. I find it very hard to let any books go, but as I have a large number of unread books I decided to be ruthless and think about the books I have read and whether I would I ever read them again. I managed to weed out 25 books and on Tuesday we took them to Barter Books, one of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain. It is housed in a huge old railway station, built in 1887 and closed to passengers in 1968. Now it’s a bookshop that works on a swap system – you take books in and if they accept them you receive a credit and can then use that to get more books. You can, of course, just go and buy books as well. They accepted 22 of our books and I came away with just 6, so I have achieved a small amount of shelf space.

The books I ‘bought’ were three Ian Rankin Inspector Rebus books to complete our set (I have read these already), and an early novel of his, Watchman, which I haven’t read. The other two books were gardening books:

  • Ground Force: Practical Garden Projects by Tommy Walsh. This was published to accompany the TV series – as long ago as 1997! I remember it well, as it was one of those programmes that actually demonstrated how to do things.
  • Collins Outdoor DIY Projects in a Weekend by Albert Jackson and David Day.

Both these books were my husband’s choice. They are full of practical things to do and make such as making a bird table, building a cascade, making a compost bin, laying paving stones and decking etc.

And he  found this book on Amazon, The Stream Garden by Archie Skinner and David Arscott, all about creating and planting your own natural-looking water feature. The reason behind his choice is that we want to improve the little stream that runs through our garden. I posted a video of its current condition on my other blog Margaret’s Miscellany last Sunday. I’d love our stream to look something like this:

Books to read next:

I finished a couple of books this week – The Rain Before It Falls by Jonathan Coe, which I wrote about earlier and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday, which I’ll write about soon. Reading Coe’s book reminded me of Mary Webb’s Gone To Earth, so I got that down off the shelf and I’m thinking of reading it this week. I read it several times as a young teenager and loved it. I’m curious to find out what I think of it now.

I had to move all my to-be-read books out of the living room this week because we’re having a wood-burning stove installed and I didn’t want the books to get covered in brick dust etc. This got me looking at what I have in waiting, as it were, and I think I’ll choose one of these books to read next:

4 thoughts on “Saturday Selection

  1. Hi Margaret,

    I seem to spend most of my life moving books around trying to make space. Getting rid of books is something I try not to think about, as all of the books in the house have never actually been read, as once I have read them, I am more than happy to part with them.
    I read something about Barter Books a while ago, and remember thinking then, what an amazing place it sounded.
    We have something similar about 5miles away from where we live, called ‘Bookbarns’, although the surroundings are not quite as nice. They went through a patch of very bad press last year, but the present owners’ seem keen to turn things around and they do carry an amazing range of stock.
    That’s a great selection of books you acquired on your current shopping trip.
    I read “Border Crossing” by Pat Barker, a while back and thoroughly enjoyed it, so you will have to let me know how you get along with “Ghost Road”


  2. Margaret – You’ve got a nice lot of books; I like the mix, too. I hope that you’ll like Watchman and I look forward to your review of it. I like Ian Rankin quite a lot, so I’m always interested to find out what others think of his work.


  3. I am slowly getting aware of that book problem: if you buy/acquire 100 books per year, you will have too many before or later!

    But when I want to get rid of them, I have exactly the same problem as when I get them: shipping. It is not too bad to have books sent *to* me from England, but awfully, horribly, indecently expensive to send them the other way. And though I *can* try to switch them for something else in a second-hand shop, they won´t pay much for my used books because they are English!

    So I know that when we grow out of our large vicarage, I´ll have to buy an ebook reader.


Comments are closed.