Customs and Duties

It is my custom to search second-hand bookstores when I visit a new location. 
I believe it is my duty to share my success.

There are a plethora of charity shops in the UK.  Initially this confused us; I truly wondered what one bought in a store called British Heart Association or Help The Aged.  We found the best deals at Oxfam Bookshops where books sold for £1 – £3.

The tankard on the right, in need of cleaning, was 50 pence!
We found it in Lutterworth, the final home of John Wycliffe.

After visiting the Edinburgh Castle, we hit our saturation point with castles and palaces.  We ditched plans for the Holyrood Palace and hit the bookstore district. We walked down five flights of stairs and several blocks where six independent second-hand bookshops huddled together under the castle’s shadow.  

Some shops were elegant, with a tweed-wearing, trim-bearded proprietor.  Their prices, alas, were also elegant. One shop was shabby, shelves sagging with the weight of books.  I have never seen such a vast collection of first edition Henty books in my life.  I say, there is nothing quite so seductive as a shelf full of good-condition, Victorian hardbound books for boys. 

More of our 50 pence ($1 to us) brass, found in a box in front of a store.
(Cleaning them up is on my list of stuff to do.)

The best finds were all from Curt’s patient, methodical search through the shelves.  Oh the glorious books he found! If I were a rustic oafish man, talking about my wife, I’d say something cheesy like, “I think I’ll keep her.”  Still, he is a keeper, and I’m so glad that wonderful book-finding man is my keeper. 

All edited by “Q”, Arthur Quiller-Couch.
If you are not drooling, you ought to be!

Curt found this early in our trip and read about half during the trip.
 John Ploughman is a generic name like John Doe.
My favorite quote from Spurgeon’s preface,
“There is no particular virtue in being seriously unreadable.”

This Scottish Psalter and Church Hymnary was given to me
on our final day in Scotland by a lovely Glaswegian family.
The split in the page allows you to mix and match tunes with the metrical psalms.

If you were writing this post, I  would want to see, in its entirety, a list of the books you got.  Following the Golden Rule, here’s the whole enchilada:

John Ploughmans’ Talk,  C.H. Spurgeon I believe this is the best find.  Quotes to come!
In Search of Scotland,  (1929) H. V. Morton, a travel writer
In Search of England,  (1927) H. V. Morton
In the Steps of The Master,  (1934) H. V. Morton, on Palestine
A Child’s Book of Prayer in Art, (1995) Sister Wendy Beckett
The Laughing Christ, (1933) Pearson Choate, an intriguing look at how Christ in portrayed in art; we couldn’t pass it up
The Herb of Grace, (1948) Elizabeth Goudge

 “It was wonderful what high-faluting theories about suffering one could formulate when one did not happen to be suffering oneself.”

Trains and Buttered Toast, (2006) John Betjeman, Radio talks for the BBC in 1932-1952
The Nature Notes of An Edwardian Lady, (1989) Edith Holden,  lush watercolors, a jewel of a book
Scotland, Food and Drink, (1982) John Fisher
Collected Poems of G.K. Chesteron (1941) wickedly clever, a mix of light and heavy verse
Cautionary Verses Omnibus Edition, (1993) Hilaire Belloc I think adults like these more than children!
Stories Essays and Poems, (1963) Hilaire Belloc
The Path to Rome, (1902) Hilaire Belloc ‘The only book I ever wrote for love.’ 
Places, (1942) Hilaire Belloc 

“And yet one can’t help wishing, at least I can’t help wishing, that people in this country knew more about other people.”

Wild Wales, (1905) George Borrow my friend highly recommended this author
Lavengro, (1851) George Borrow
That House That Is Our Own, (1940) O. Douglas
Eliza for Common, (1930) O. Douglas
The Day of Small Things (1933) O. Douglas

“O. Douglas never forgets that kindness knocks cleverness to the back of beyond.”

My World of Islands, (1983) Leslie Thomas a book I was looking for
A Hole Is To Dig, (1952) Ruth Krauss, if you have a child in your life, you must have this book
The Mortification of Sin, John Owen
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, (1939) T.S. Eliot priceless fun
Locations, (1992) Jan Morris – Zinsser recommended this author
The Kitchen Congregation, (2000) Nora Seton, I couldn’t resist the title
Bunyan Characters (1894) Alexander Whyte a lovely hardbound to hold in your hands
Fathers of the Kirk (1960) ed. Ronald Selby Wright short vignettes, including one on Chalmers
The Child That Books Built, (2002) Francis Spufford the cover drew me in
Country Bunch, (1963) Miss Read

“In it Miss Read shares her astonishing breadth of reading with us…”

The Warden, (1855) The Last Chronicle of Barset (1967), An Autobiography (1883) Anthony Trollope


12 thoughts on “Customs and Duties

  1. I’m intrigued by the Oxford Book of Verse/Prose–I bought one of these at my library sale and it looks quite alike to yours! Hmm…Also, did you receive the book on Trollope that I sent you? I also got it at the library sale–the price of the media mail postage far outweighed the $.10 I paid for it!!! And what an amazing hymnal! All good stuff 

  2. H.V. Morton is an interesting travel – writer. One can linger with him (as he travels slowly from one place to another … I’ve read In Search of South Africa and learned quite a lot from my own country!.
    I would love to know more about A Hole is to Dig. Sounds intriguing.
    Your sharing is almost as if I’ve been there
    have a lovely day.

  3. How in the world did you carry all these home??  πŸ™‚  That is always my traveling issue … getting the treasures home.
    Looking forward to leafing through the pile.

  4. We used our full luggage allowance (2 checked bags each, 2 carry-ons). We had brought 1 1/2 suitcases full of books to our friends, and we just couldn’t bring those suitcases back empty, could we? (grin)

  5. Hello Carol,  I saw that you got Herb of Grace by Goudge.  Did you know it is part of a trilogy?  Satisfying reading about real people with real problems but with those lovely Goudge themes running through.   I was so enthusiastic about these books that I loaned them to a friend.  Never saw them again. sigh.

  6. @jackug – Thank you for commenting three years later.  It was a good post for me to reread.  Ahem.  I *still* have not cleaned up the brass we picked up. And some of those titles *still* are unread.  But oh! such lovely, lovely memories.

Comments are cinnamon on my oatmeal!

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