Today we went to Barter Books in Alnwick. It was completely unplanned: we were supposed to be "just nipping to the Post Office", but both of us forgot that it's a Scottish Bank Holiday today, so we decided on Alnwick as it isn't terribly far away, and both of us wanted to do something nice and escape mess, dust, paint, and fumes for a day.
For me, Alnwick is Barter Books and little else, and I spent a good hour and a half in there while Big C looked in the antique shop next to it. Always, I walk into Barter Books in a hurry, racing through it to check for certain books (today was about Zola, mostly, and looking for Anthony Trollope). Then, gradually, I settle, and retrace my path, wandering through the shelves over and over again, seeing titles I missed, looking for anything that pops into my head. The final leg of the shop is about deciding, "Do I need this? Can I afford to get this? Should I put this one back?" I heard a woman say, "I ought to cut down" and I think about how puritanical this society can be. Restraint, even pain, is a virtue. Eat less always, no matter what, buy less books, cut down on alcohol, run 5k: do something, one thing, every day that makes you suffer somehow. The small pleasures in life should be limited. Why is that? Who knows.
But, that's not the point of the post. The point is to show you my new stash! I'd take a picture of the new little pile, but as I say, the house is a mess and there's no corner that is even vaguely presentable, so I shall just put up a little list:
- Zola - L'Assommoir: The seventh in the Rougon-Macquart cycle. I'm so excited to start reading these, and I now own eight of the twenty.
- Flaubert's Madame Bovary: I've read this and loved it, but I let someone (who, I can't remember) borrow it and never got it back.
- The Book of Margary Kempe: the earliest known autobiography. She was born in 1373 and died in 1440.
- Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote. Apparently well-loved by Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Richardson, and Jane Austen.
- George Gissing's The Nether World. Described as Zola-esque, so I had to have it!
- Samuel Johnson's Major Works: I'm thinking about getting into Samuel Johnson, and last time I was at Barter Books I bought James Boswell's Life of Johnson.
So there is my stash! And tonight, I'm going to be pretty anti-social. Going to have my tea and watch Coronation Street with Big C, then head to bed with Trotwood to read Proust. I want to get up fairly early tomorrow and try to finish the kitchen (probably looking at Wednesday evening for that, though). Once that's done, we were going to start the living room, but I think I'd rather do this room (the study), as it isn't such a big job. Nor is the living room, really. The bedroom is going to be the worst, and really, I could do the bathroom in an hour.
Have a lovely evening, everyone!