A Sunday Looking at Dusty Books

Last weekend Frances of Nonsuch Book and I went for a good rummage around one of the less organized used bookstores in the area. Although frankly it is starting to get too organized for my tastes. We spent almost three hours hunting and chatting. It was great to catch up with Frances. At no point did we fight over any of the books.

Published in  1976, the Iris Murdoch is the newest book in the stack. Turns out I already owned the Thirkell (and in that edition) so it’s going to Frances.

I think it was Jenny of Reading Envy who reminded Instagram the recently that any used bookstore worth its salt has to have at least one Anita Brookner on its shelves. This one passes the test.

Now look at this beautifully bound volume. What treasure could be lurking inside?

This? Even funnier was another similarly bound edition of a very suspect wok cookbook from the 1980s. Either someone had a lot of money or had a hobby.

I bought this one because it was about London from 1958. I had no idea what it was about. It was even written by Anonymous. Turns out Anonymous was Michael Nelson and it was anonymous because it was a gay novel. Although, having it read it, it is really a bitchy gay novel. An odd thing. Meant to be satire. 

8 thoughts on “A Sunday Looking at Dusty Books

  1. Tom Perkins February 10, 2020 / 9:51 am

    A Room in Chelsea sounds interesting, will check it our


  2. Ruthiella February 11, 2020 / 3:06 am

    Have you ever had a fight with someone over a book in a store? I have not, though I do recall at least one occasion when I was envious of my shopping companion’s find.


  3. Jeane February 12, 2020 / 9:31 am

    I have felt like Ruthiella- once at a library sale I was eyeing the books in front of the person next to me and she picked up the exact one I wanted to look at- I was really hoping she’d put it back down but she bought it, very disappointing! How funny that someone reworked an old cookbook into such a nice binding- I wonder if it was a joke or did they really treasure those recipes so much.


  4. Susan in TX February 12, 2020 / 9:53 am

    One of my most treasured possessions is a copy of Pride and Prejudice that my mother bound in one of her library science classes back in the 50’s, so I love seeing books that people have bound themselves. The picture of the Thirkell reminds me that I need to get back to reading her books on my shelf! I always enjoy them, but for some reason don’t tend to pick them up. I need to start sprinkling one a month into my reading until I catch up. The problem there is that if I feel like I “have” to, I won’t. All in good time, I suppose.
    So glad you have decided to keep at it – with or without the Hoggies! :)


  5. Bonnie Renzi February 12, 2020 / 6:32 pm

    A few years back you had a podcast with Simon (Maybe you still do but I kind of lost track of it)and I thought you’d never stop praising Anita Brookner. At any rate, last year I ran across Brookner’s Hotel du Lac at a local library sale and brought it home. Long story short, I read it this past December and loved it so much I knew I’d found a new favorite author. So I decided I would read the entire oeuvre in order of publication. She wrote 24 novels from what I can see and in January I read A Start in Life and was just as happy with it. I knew I had made the right decision. This month I’ll read Providence. So thank you Thomas for bringing Brookner to my attention.


    • Thomas March 8, 2020 / 8:50 am

      Bonnie, This my absolute favorite kind of comment to get. I’m so glad you like Anita Brookner. I’m making my way through her novels a second time and am reading them in chronological order. I think I have about 7 left to go, maybe fewer. My reading habits have changed over the past year so I’m not getting through them as quickly as I had in the past. If you want to poke around blogger reviews of her books and a few other odds and ends like my guide to all the London place names in her book you should check out this blog: http://brooknerday.blogspot.com/ These days I only update when I finish another re-read, but you might still find interesting. Before or after reading Providence, you might want to read Benjamin Constant’s novella Adolphe. You absolutely don’t need to, the novella is the subject of the main character’s research. When I re-read Providence many years after my first time, I had just finished Adolphe and was so surprised to see it come up in Brookner’s novel.


  6. Constance February 13, 2020 / 7:45 am

    I have occasionally been with a friend at a library book sale when we both snatched at the same book and had to politely decide who saw it first.


  7. Lori February 18, 2020 / 9:10 pm

    A Sunday looking at dusty books sounds just perfect to me!


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