More Books from Barter Books

We went to Barter Books in Alnwick last week. It’s back to normal now – busy, but not too crowded. I didn’t go with any specific books in mind and just browsed the shelves. These are the books I brought home with me – I’m still in credit so these were ‘free’, as it were.

From top to bottom they are:

A Sea of Troubles by Donna Leon, a Commissarion Brunetti murder mystery. It’s been ages since I read one of her books. This one is set on the island of Pellestrina, south of the Lido on the Venetian Lagoon, where two clam fishermen have been murdered.

Harm Done by Ruth Rendell, an Inspector Wexford Mystery. I’ve read a few of her Wexford Mysteries. Two young girls have disappeared and then two far more serious crimes are committed, which affect the lives and attitudes of both the police and the public.

Innocence by Penelope Fitzgerald, set in the 1950s when Italy was picking up the pieces after the war. It’s historical fiction about an Italian marriage between an aristocratic girl and a low-born neurologist from rural southern Italy. I haven’t read any of her books, although I have The Gate of Angels on my TBR shelves.

Metroland by Julian Barnes – is a novel about Christopher Lloyd and his experiences growing up in the suburbs of London (so-called Metro-land), his brief life in Paris as a graduate student and the early years of his subsequent marriage. I’ve read and enjoyed two of his other books. This one was his first book.

Head of State by Andrew Marr – political fiction, described as a darkly comic tale of deception and skullduggery at Downing Street and Whitehall. Set in 2017, with the country on the edge of a political precipice, this was Marr’s first novel. I’ve read some of Marr’s history books and used to watch the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday mornings. I know that Head of State has had some critical reviews, but I thought I’d see for myself what it’s like.

If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to know what you think of them.

13 thoughts on “More Books from Barter Books

  1. I think Metroland is brilliant, his first and a coming of age novel. I used it to begin a course I taught on him. It also led me to read Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet


    1. I’m glad to hear that Peter! Years ago I read Justine, but never read any of the other books in the Alexandria Quartet. I’d forgotten all about them, so thanks for mentioning them.


      1. He notices a copy of Mountolive on a chair in the gallery, and sure enough the girl who returns to the table becomes a date!


  2. This is a nice lot of book, Margaret. I like both Leon’s and Rendell’s work, so I hope you’ll enjoy those. It’s so nice, isn’t it, that bookshops are open again. It’s always a treat to see what you’ll find in them!

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  3. I’ve only read the first Donna Leon, but found it surprisingly good and hopefully I’ll continue with the series, if / when I can find more of them on (audiobook) sale. Is Barter a secondhand bookstore?

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    1. Yes, Barter Books is a secondhand bookshop, one of the largest in the UK. It’s lovely, with lots of different areas, located in part of an old Victorian railway station. It works on a credit system – you take books in and they make an offer for them, which is then credited to your account and you use that to ‘buy’ books – or you can just buy them as in an ordinary bookshop. If you click on the link in my post it takes you to their website with lots more information and photographs.

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  4. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of the Andrew Marr. Generally speaking I find good journalists and/or good historians don’t often make good fiction writers…

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