The Perils of Shopping

I went to Nottingham again last Thursday and as my local city I think it does a good job. I like the mix of colours and cultures and all that diversity malarkey but why oh why do the people and by expansion the city, want me to get involved.

Perhaps (definitely), it is my cantankerous nature starting up again but as a fellow who likes his own company whilst shopping, I really don’t want to play with the Nottingham people, so after a few hours of fruitless wandering I ran away to a second hand bookshop and spent around two hours going through single every book.

By that I mean reading the title on every spine in the place, apart from the cookery, angling, hunting and foreign language books, four departments of which I understand nothing and am happy to stand firm in my ignorance.  The nature of book shopping means crawling around on all fours across the length of each wall looking for that elusive hidden gem and then realising that there are books behind the books to the depth of the shelves, so another trip around the entire room was in order.

Add into that the ladder I had to get in order to reach the roof (the books are stacked to the rafters) and by doing so completely blocked the entrance, then I deprived a woman of her seat by placing books on it and then topping it all off by accidentally claiming to be an alcoholic

It was a tough challenge but I finally managed to satiate my appetite for all things book, with this huge haul. The day got better though, by meeting Tom and Lorraine playing a hefty dose of newly rebooted XCOM and an amusing time watching decent comedy Spaced.

So anyway onto the books and a brief overview on each;

  • Fatu-Hiva – Thor Heyerdahl:  The legendary traveller lives on a Polynesian island, gets fascinated and conceives ideas for his later famous expeditions.
  • Old Goriot – Honoré de Balzac: French tragedy, that combines greed, class and all that sort of stuff, apparently really good.
  • Selected Short Stories – Guy de ‘Maupassant: Stories of murder, adultery, war, the simples pleasures in life and other such themes.
  • The Letters of Abelard and Heloise – Abelard and Heloise:  Love letters from controversial philosopher to his beau in the 12th century.  Lots of insights into the time to be had especially into how science and theology combined and clashed..
  • The Song of Roland – Anon: Epic and intense French poem based on the massacre of Charlemagne’s rearguard in 778, which has been transformed into ‘a legendary defeat in the clash between Christianity and paganism’.
  • In the Shadow of Tlaloc – Gregory G. Reck:  When the modern world reaches the remote village of Jonatla in the mid 1960’s, the author decides to chronicle the changes that take place through the eyes of one villager Celistino de la Cruz.
  • Discourses on Method and Meditation – René Descartes: Classic philosophy, Descartes’ ideas rang from the disparities of our perceptions and realities, the certainty of the existence of God and enquiries into scientific technique.
  • Madam Crowl’s Ghost – J. S. Le Fanu:  Classic short ghost stories, M. R. James was a big fan.
  • The Voyage of the Beagle – Charles Darwin:  The trip and the speculations that changed the world.

  • The Tongues of Men & Speech – J. R. Firth:  Study of linguistics and analysis on language patterns.
  • Exploration Fawcett – Colonel P. H. Fawcett: Diary, notes and various ephemera from one of the last great explorers of the unknown world who went missing in the Amazon in the year 1925 never to be found.
  • The Icelanders and Their Island – Mary McCririck:  A general history of Iceland covering such delights as wild life, fishing, geography, literature, art etc.
  • Solzhenitsyn – Michael Scammell:  Huge biography on one of the most important chroniclers and all round Russians of the modern era
  • South America Called Them – Victor W. Von Hagen:  chronicling the travels of the great naturalists who explored South America, Darwin Von Humboldt et al

  • The Starlight Barking – Dodie Smith:  When every living thing goes into a deep sleep it is upto Pongo and Missis (from 101 Dalmatians fame) to save the day.
  • August 1914 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: A story of Russian forces moving into East Prussia and being decimated and the ultimate responsibility in where the accountability lies.
  • Ur of the Chaldees – Sir Leonard Woolley:  The history of the Sumerian city state Ur, told through archaeology.
  • The Island at the Top of the World – Ian Cameron: An old skool adventure novel, has me in mind of a Jules Verne novel.
  • Holiday House – Enid Blyton:  Classic mystery of precocious kids, secret tunnels and good natured excitement.
  • The Adventurous Four Again – Enid Blyton: Never let it be said that Blyton didn’t keep to her nature loving roots. Here is more tunnels, caves, bad men and most probably a bit of nature chucked in.
  • In The Springtime of the Year – Susan Hill:  A story about loss acceptance, check out Claire’s blog Word By Word for a review that I most enjoyed.
  • A Window In Thrums – J. M. Barrie:  Okay the internet won’t help me in my quest to find a synopsis without spoiling the story, which makes life interesting, all I know is that it seems fairly autobiographical and is about change.

24 Replies to “The Perils of Shopping”

    1. I was meant to be Christmas shopping but it all went to pot, I like to mix it up with my subject matter also. Let me know which ones appeal and when I get aro8nd to reading them I shall give you the lowdown, or highup if you prefer.


    1. One of the joys of being a book obsessive is spotting all the stuff that others don’t. I like to keep the bestsellers to a minimum and go for some obscure yet awesome stuff. Also I like to treat you guys as well!


    1. I live my life in that fashion all the time, it is an odd shambling existence where things are constantly awkward as I never know what I will do or say next. This time I have an excuse I was proper happy with myself for some awesome buys, even if I do say so myself.


      1. There really is nothing like the excitement of stumbling upon a hard to find book!!

        And I know what you mean, I love used bookstores, but at the same time I don’t understand how they manage. “You mean someone gave this book AWAY??” Lucky for us at least 🙂


        1. I think it is great when people let a gem go, I like to think they got a new copy of a loved book but sometimes I worry that they didn’t like such wonderful prose. I often worry about things like that, not sure why I should, after all I am the grateful recipient of a wealth of great books. I also like the inscriptions people leave in their books, I often wonder who these people are and why they would give away a gift. Even battered books, give the sense of a worn path that I am travelling for the first time and am (hopefully) going to experience great things.


  1. Sigh, just like heaven isn’t it, an absolutely completely eclectic selection of books, Okay I’m a little jealous now. The whole exploration thing, hours huh! How so cool! The crawling, digging under, searching through, finding a gem and then another. And not giving a ****(darn works too) about anything or anyone just the books! Happiness is another word for ye’ ol’ bookstore. 🙂


    1. You know you are a huge book fan, when you are are using a mobile phone to light up the books in the corner of the shop, and people are treated to your backside stuck up in the air. ‘Dignity is for wimps’ is quite possibly my new motto these days. I always do these posts to make you jealous and possibly to show off my collection a bit. I am hankering for another shopping session now, you inspire me.


      1. Sigh, oh more jealously then, but I am happy for your happy! Go forth warrior and conquer the darkest most recesses to uncover untold wealth and riches (giggle). Yes according to some of my faithful followers (who by the way are amazing people) I am the “goddess of inspiration” lol. Have a really good week SteJ my very special friend! Penny


        1. You truly have a way with words. I shall do as you say, I should also finish the Dostoevsky book that I started a while back. I hope you have a good week also. I just Googled goddess of inspiration and it seems you are up there with Rhiannon, Celtic goddess of inspiration (and the moon).


          1. Dostoevsky, my Fyodor, which book? Oh and thanks for the compliment re: Rhiannon, I will endeavor to live up to same lol (and fall way short I would imagine!) Thanks SteJ


            1. Failure is acceptable when up against one of a pantheon of gods. I am currently reading Memoirs from the House of the Dead, having only ever read Crime and Punishment, yet owning several other of his works I felt it about time i indulged. It reminds me One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich but has more depth so carries more weight. After 140 pages I have found what i expected a thoroughly fascinating book.


    1. From an unbiased observer such as yourself to ask for such a thing I certainly will get around to more name dropping and general adventures with said people. We do have the best times I have to admit.


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