Weekend away and some books brought

Amanda and I have just had a weekend away. We do this every year with Amanda’s parents, sister and Aunt and Uncle. This year we chose a country hotel between Ashbourne and Leek on the edge of the peak district. We arrived Friday and wandered around Ashbourne, but as it was late, things were closing, but we had something to eat and planned to visit in the morning. We headed out in the morning, had coffee in Ashbourne, and then headed to the Oxfam bookshop. I had been a few years ago and often find Oxfam bookshops about the best charity shops to look around for books, and this was the case again.I found three books in there. We had a look around the antique shops. I am searching for a Victorian writing slope for my library come office to finish it off but to no avail. Anyway, here are the books.

The three books are Beckett’s essay on Proust and three dialogues. I don’t know a lot about this, but I Have enjoyed the Beckett I have read over the years. Then from Joesph Roth’s The String of Pearls, another book a Writer i have read but hadn’t heard the title of before, I have reviewed two other books from him over the years of the blog. The last is a former Prix Goncourt winner, Fields of Glory; I have in my head either a run-through former Goncourt winner or Nobel winner as a long-term project or both not quite decided yet. It is something I have been thinking over for a couple of years to do.

We then headed to Leek, a town I had often driven through as it is on the way back from my childhood home of Congleton to Chesterfield, but on all those trips through, I had rarely stopped, and we were surprised it was bigger than I remember it had a flea come antique market. I was nearly tempted as there were two writing slopes, but one had no lock, although I could replace it with the other lock, and the other was a tad too large, and neither had a secret compartment a must in my eyes the search will carry on. We visited the Oxfam in Leek, just a shop, and I found two books.

Murakami’s Birthday Stories a collection of short stories he chose a number of years ago with one of his own stories. I looked at this over the years and felt I should get it. Then Shakespeare by Anthony Burgess. I am a huge Burgess fan, and having all bar one of his novels, I am now on to the non-fiction titles, and this cover matches in part the copy of Dead Man in Deptford by Burgess I have. Then as is the case, I felt the need for a coffee and some cake. We stopped at a cafe called Kiek just off the marketplace, and it was the best Dairy free Brownie I have ever eaten. So tasty. Then we headed to the bookshop in Leek on two levels, which reminded me of Scriveners in Buxton. I brought some more books there

First of all, is Nature writing by Little Toller called Snow, One of my favourite books of all time is Encyclopedia of Snow by Sarah Emily Miano (A book worthy of being on the Backlisted podcast, a real lost gem, a book that is more Sebald than Sebald!) anyway this is another book around snow. Then there is Jean Cocteau’s debut novel, a short book from Zola, a nice weekend, and some unusual books that are less well-known by great writers. Have you had a good weekend?


Those Holiday books and a few gifts

I promised you a tour of the books and I will also show you a couple of gifts I got or Amanda gifted me.

First is the three books I brought at the accidental bookshop the new well think it has been there a year or so in Alnwick. Firstly was a book I was on the hunt for which I had seemed mentioned on Twitter a couple of times over the few days before we went away. It follows the time the art historian Felix Hartlaub his notebooks of when he was assigned to war time Paris. I have read this and am going to reread it next week for a review.

Then I choose this I have only read the first part of Tove Dilevsen Copenhagen trilogy that is enough to know I would love anything by her another of these writers in the last few years we have rediscovered or have just reached us in English this is a collection of her short stories.

The last book I brought was this I always like to buy just three books per book shop do you have a quota per shop? I saw a few titles that I Like on their shelves but I finally went for this book by Alejandro Zambra another writer I have read before and have reviewed three books by him this had been on my list of books to read a poet wanders around a city of poets and then meets up with his childhood sweetheart who now has a child !!!. I may save this for next year’s Spanish lit month.

Then in North Berwick, I had a look around Oxfam (Am I the only one that always thinks in the Charity shop world Oxfam always seems to have the best books in them ?) it was a small shop busy but I managed to find three books again the first is this Turkish writer Yashar Kemal he was best known for Memed, My Hawk which I have somewhere and yet to get to but I have a number of Turkish books on my shelves which I am yet to get too so I have a project in mind around those books which include the new Orhan Pamuk.

Then another old Harvil this book is described as a fast-paced gripping greek tragedy set in a small French village by an Italian writer that is one that seems to tick all the boxes I like as a reader and it feels like a Christopher Maclehose book (from his time at Harvil )


Then a third book to read from last years Nobel winner I have yet to read Gurney but when he won everyone seemed to be reading him so I ll wait to get to this next year. It was also a reminder that this years Nobel is just around the corner and we will all see who wins this year.

I am a keyring fan and I brought this small Concorde model the bigger models were either to much or just to basic so I picked this and hope one day there may be a nice large model I can fin or maybe a lego model at some point.

I was torn between this and a print for the Concorde this is for my new library when I move I got this just because not had such a connection to my childhood of seeing this plane, in fact, looking like this passing overhead as I was a small child.

The last gift was one Amanda brought me is a new mug which I loved I am a fan of funky mugs and this is one and as Amanda says I am always telling the tale of when I took someone away many years ago and we visited the Coldstream guard’s museum (which wasn’t that far from where we stayed) they had let the person we had taken away try on a bearskin they had so yet again a connection to memories. But isn’t that what life is as we move forward we also have glimpses and flickers of past times every day. A little haul from a long weekend away.



Northumberland trip book haul

We spent a few days last week in Northumberland anyone been around the blog for any time will know I lived there in my early twenties and since I ve been driving a few years ago have been visiting regularly for the last three years . We choose to spend time near Newbiggin a small town by the sea we had stayed near last year it has a nice long promenade to walk a couple small shops and a couple of coffee shops and the couple in the middle of the bay. This is a great base we had a day in Lindisfarne and Seahouse as last year when we went it a wet day and this time we saw the island in the sun.

We walked towards the castle and then around the harbour and abbey there is a small shop sell gin made on the Island and we finished at the Pilgrims coffee shop which is outside wonderful cakes and coffee they roast there own which I brought some beans home with me to grind(well I did and it was very nice). We sat and watched some sparrows help clean the tables by us. In Seahouse we finally got to look at the lifeboat which we want to see last time. The next day we went to Alnwick to Brater books of course , but wait there is also a wonderful new shop that is hundred. yards from where I lived on Narrowgate in Alnwick the accidental bookshop has a really high self of books and a great selection of books I will know so my haul from each shop.


First up was this by the South African writer Bryten Brytenbach I thought I had reviewed a book by him I had read one many years ago and think I have another on my shelf I was swayed by the cover plus I did like the book I read so I will have to review him soon as I know have three books to read from him.



Now we have a book that I know is published by NYRB Memoirs of Anti semite is a book I had hope to read at some point (I don’t know about you there is the list of books you just know you want to read this is one) This is an old picador copy.

Then a book from Javier Cercas I have read a number of books by him over the years so this was a great find as it is a crime series a move from the other books I have read by him that tend to use historical events.

This one appeals as I just love books about travel and I had just read Goethes Journey to Italy set. So a novel from the same time period. Also Mozart someone whom Goethe had seen the  young Mozart play and also Goethe had tried to write a sequel to to the Magic flute.


Another writer I have read in the past is Marguerite Duras so when I saw this one I just had to get it a woman watches a murder in a cafe and keeps returning to the scene of the crime.

Yet another writer that has been on the blog in fact Amos Oz has been reviewed four times. He is one of those writers I want to read all of his novels over time.

And lastly a master of the short story whom I have read but never reviewed on the blog that is the Polish writer Pawel Huelle . That is the last of the books from Barter books I didn’t find a nature writing book that jumped out at me. But as I was away and relaxed the passion for books in translation has come back I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was back to normal. So I put them in the car and we then head to the new bookshop which is so near my old flat it would be dangerous if I was still there me so close to a book shop.her is my books from the accidental bookshop.

Firstly two books from Latin America Space invaders I reviewed yesterday and Mona I will be reviewing this coming week at some point both had been on my radar I had read an earlier book by Polo Oloixarao.These struck me as perfect for this month’s Spanish lit month and also maybe for next month’s women in translation.

Then the other two are a piece of travel  writing about walking to the island Lindisfarne I love books that I will know the locations but also that are about pilgrimages I have alway been interesting in pilfgrims and pilgrimages what make people do them but also what it gives you doing them I have fancied doing something similar at some point.Then scattered all over the world by the German/japanese writer Yoko Tawana images the diaspora of Japanese descent when Japan it disappears and they are scattered all over the world what makes there identity ? I would highly recommend a visit to the accidental bookshop also a few doors up is a great deli with a cafe in its cellar that does great cakes.A nice few days we may be going back in a few months as we love it there and also are looking for the perfect place for when we retire up there which is what we plan to do. Have you been to Northumberland ?



June 2023


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