Yesterday we went Barter Books in Alnwick, my favourite bookshop. This is a secondhand bookshop where you can ‘swap’ books for credit that you can then use to get more books from the Barter Books shelves. It’s back to ‘normal’ now, so there was no queue to get in, although they are still limiting the number of books you can take in.
These are the books I brought home – from top to bottom they are:
Hemingway’s Chair by Michael Palin, a comic novel about Martin, an assistant postmaster who is obsessed with Ernest Hemingway. But when Nick arrives and is appointed postmaster instead of Martin, Martin’s life is turned upside down and he plans the ultimate Hemingwayesque act of revenge.
The Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives edited by Mike Ashley, published in 1995 this anthology includes stories from the earliest locked-room mystery (35,000 BC), through ancient Rome and China to medieval England, the Wild West, the Indian Raj and Victoriam London. It’s arranged chronologically and includes stories by R L Stevenson, Ellis Peters, Peter Tremayne, Steven Saylor and others new to me.
Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud. I remember seeing this on book blogs a while ago and thought it looked interesting. Set in 1914 on the Suffolk coast just as war with Germany is declared, this is a story of an unlikely friendship between a mysterious artist the locals call Mr Mac (Charles Rennie Macintosh)n and Thomas the crippled son of the village publican.
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick de Witt, another book I’ve spotted on some book blogs. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011. It’s described on the inside cover as ‘an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable list of characters – losers, cheaters, and ne’er-do-wells’ … ‘it captures the humour, melancholy and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence and love.‘
All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison – I enjoyed her book, Rain: Rour Walks in English Weather, so I’m keen to read this one, the winner of the EU Prize for Literature and the ‘Book of the Year’ New Statesman, Observer, Irish Times, BBC History Magazine. Set on a farm in Suffolk just before the Second World War, it introduces a girl on the cusp of adulthood. Glamorous outsider Constance FitzAllen arrives from London, determined to make a record of fading rural traditions and beliefs, and to persuade Edie’s family to return to the old ways rather than embrace modernity. She brings with her new political and social ideas – some far more dangerous than others. (Goodreads)
What do you think? Have you read any of these? Do they tempt you too?