When we announced that we were moving “up North” some people got excitable about me being able to visit Barter Books at Alnwick Station. This advertises itself as “one of the biggest secondhand bookshops in Britain” and it’s the sort of place to visit on a wet Saturday afternoon – or indeed at any time, as their opening times are generous. For those of you not blessed by being northernreaders, you can see their website, and ask them about finding books for you, on http://www.barterbooks.co.uk/shop.php among other things.
It is a secondhand bookshop set in an old station. I have been here a few times, but not really got into the swing of it. This time I was deposited here while Daughter’s choir (including Husband and Son One) was singing at a wedding. I found enough to keep me amused for a couple of hours, which says something about the size of the place and my new technique in here: pick up a pile of possibles and sit down to have a read. If I have the time it means that I’m less likely to pick up duplicates or stuff that, if I’m honest, I’m not going to read in the foreseeable future. I was tempted by some Mills and Boon type Regency romances, but was firm and put them back. Easy to read, but impossible to accept as realistic. I have nothing against M&B; I grew up surrounded by them, but if you saw the size of my Have It, Unread shelves…
Anyway, I did emerge well fed (the cafe is really good) and clutching some interesting stuff, including three Molly Keane books. I also bought the entire Poldark series…on DVD (well, I’ve got all the books twice over in most cases).
More seriously, I bought the biography of Angus Wilson by Margaret Drabble. I knew Tony, Angus’ longtime partner, in a former place. It’s a big book, so I’m not sure when I’ll get around to actually reading it. Drabble is an immensely good writer, so there’s at least two good reasons to try.
Well, a great bookshop visit, and interesting to see what they had. And if you do find yourself in northernreader territory, well worth a look.