I love to walk down Charing Cross Road in London and
browse through the bookshops–and oh! those windows!
Walk along with me and I’ll show you the books I bought.
I found a first edition of Finnegans Wake, but I didn’t have
500 pounds in my purse, so I looked for other options! I
spotted a lurid 50s novel–what fun! and snapped that up.
Get out your pencil because you might want to be making
a list of stuff to read—this book is by Tom Phillips–published
in 1945 wartime edition–ah, a lurid 40s novel . . and is about
his four daughters and a son–and, believe it or not– a
stranger comes to town! Silly nonsense no doubt.
I continued down the street and went into Koenig Books and
had fun looking at all the art book selections. On a whim I asked
if they had anything about Gilbert and George. Remember them?
They had a big mural at the Tate Britain last year . . .all in sepia
tones . . .I just loved it:
They did have books about Gilbert and George! In fact, they
had four giant whopper coffee table books—which, I’m sorry
to say gave me a little more information than I wanted about
Gilbert and George . . .and also this nice little volume which
was published in 1971, and republished by Koenig Brothers in
2012. It’s a signed edition. This is a nice readable text about
their work and has illustrations, too.
For some reason, when I look at their work, I’m reminded of
a gardening blog I follow “View from Federal Twist”—–a
garden spilling out naturally. (You might like it, too.)
Here’s a photo from the book:
We had lunch at the Porcupine pub on the corner and
talked about heading to Edinburgh the next day.
When we arrived at The Balmoral in Edinburgh I was
pleased to find a little library right in our room with
local authors! Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott,
Edward Lear, John Buchan, J.M.Barrie and Eric
Linklater. Nice touch. I read all of them the first night.
The next day while riding the Hop On/Hop Off tour bus
–see Edinburgh!!– we hopped off at the Grassmarket area
and toured some book shops. Am always looking for
James Joyce, but found these:
I think this was Elizabeth Taylor’s final novel. You know I’m
a fan of hers through “Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont”. William
Trevor will be great reading. Two Lives is actually two novels–
“Reading Turgenev” (shortlisted for the 1991 Booker prize) and
“My House in Umbria”. The second Trevor, Ireland, is short stories.
We had a glass of wine outside at the White Hart Inn (est 1516!) in
Grassmarket to rest and people watch. Busy area. I bought a cute
royal stewart plaid leash and collar for Woody, too.
And I went book shopping in Glasgow, too. At Oxfam, near
George Square, I bought four books. Could have bought more!
Everything looked good, and great prices.
And Margery Sharp, who you might know best as an author
of children’s books. Inside jacket of this one reads, “Why
should it always be the woman who’s landed with a little
illegit?” And back blurb: “A gay novel. Miss Sharp gets
the summer feeling of Paris exactly.” We’ll see. The dust
jacket design is fun and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
The last two books are both titled “Our Spoons Came from
Woolworths” by Barbara Comyns. When I was browsing thru
the introduction by Maggie O’Farrell I read
“I first encountered
‘Our Spoons Came from Woolworths’ in a second-hand bookshop
in Lyme Regis. Spotting the familiar dark green spine in a row
of mildewed paperbacks . . .it would prove to be the best fifty
pence I ever spent.”
Well, I was reading this in the cute little edition on the left in
and loved the graphics on it—when I saw that lo and behold!
Oxfam also had the old “dark green spine” edition, too. What
to do, what to do? Oh, nurse! I bought them both.
You probably haven’t written down a single one of these books
to read, but I’ve tried my best.
Had initially planned before the trip to buy Sir Walter Scott and
Robert Burns. But the “best-laid schemes . . .”