Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Siren Call of the Secondhand Bookshop

The siren call of the secondhand bookshop. Am I the only one who hears it? Walking down the street, it flows through the closed door and fills my ears. "Emily!" it says. "Cheap books, Emily! Old books, Emily! New books, Emily! For you, for you, Emily, books, Emily, books, books, books!"
     "I am not buying any more books," I tell it sternly. "I already have far too many, I'm running out of space, and when on earth will I ever read them all?"
      "But Emily," it says, "who knows what's in there? What if it's that book that you've been wanting to read for ages that the library doesn't have? What if it's the most gorgeous edition ever of your favourite book that you don't already own? What if it's only two pounds??"
       "No," I say ..... but I am powerless to resist.

Basically, this is the story of how I bought yet more secondhand books in the month of August. Remember this post, where I talked about what I'd bought in July? Can anyone remember how many secondhand books I bought?

The answer is 16.

The truth is I have Compulsive Secondhand Book-buying Syndrome and I am draining both my purse and my bookshelf space, not to mention endangering my sanity as I find yet more and more and more books and OTPs to fangirl over, and endangering my status as someone with friends as I consider becoming a hermit so as to read the excessive number of books I own.

Now without further ado: do you want to see my book haul of August? 

These books were all bought in St. Andrews, on the day trip during summer camp. This one, I believe, was bought in the Salvation Army shop. I'd never heard of it before, but it was so pretty and hardback and only £1.50, and basically, as we've found out, I have no self control. So I bought it. Historical-fiction-with-magic: nom nom nom.

This absolutely stunning hardback was purchased in the Barnardo's bookshop for £4. I've never read any Kipling but I know that Kim is an internationally renowned classic so what could go wrong? And (ranking more highly in my estimation) it's so pretty and shiny. ^_^

This is yet another addition to the never-ending saga of Books I've Never Heard Of But Bought Because They're Pretty. I was immediately intrigued by this book's cover, and yet more by its blurb, so I snaffled it up in Oxfam.

Also bought in Oxfam for only £1. I'm a little ashamed to say that my inner book snob vehemently rears its head at this one, but you know what, I'm going to read Anna and the French Kiss and I'm not even sorry. In fact I'm very excited!
In St Andrews, there is this tiny secondhand bookshop crammed full with every kind of book: contemporary fiction occupies several shelves, but there is also a vast collection of old and collectible books. Needless to say, I would happily take a bed and a fridge into the shop and live there. It is difficult not to SPEND ALL THE MONEY, but somehow I managed to buy only two books. The first was this one: The Cuckoo's Calling by JK Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith). I don't normally read crime fiction (I mean, I never read crime fiction) but I think that JKR has proved herself to me in the small matter of Harry Potter (that is to say, Harry Potter is basically my life)  so of course I want to read her other books, crime fiction regardless).

The other book I bought in that shop was this adorable, tiny gorgeous copy of The Lady of the Camellias by Alexander Dumas. I've never read any Dumas (yet), but this is so lovely and it was only £2. 50. ^_^
Close-up of this gorgeous spine.
All in all, August was a good month for buying good books, but a bad month for conserving money and bookshelf space. Not as bad as July, but then what month is??

So tell me: do you have Compulsive Secondhand Book-buying Syndrome? What's been your best find of late? Link me up to your haul posts! 

Emily x


  1. Muahaha I love this post title and ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Yes I was like you, the book snob, who reared its head, LIKE A HORSE [I am not a horse, just to clarfiy], but IT WAS GOOD. I mean, not perfect and amazing and fantastic like my favourite books but when you want something nice and simple and sweet then TOTES STEPHANIE PERKINS.
    Did I reALLY just say 'totes'. *slaps self*

    1. Hawwa why the evil laughter I'm confused and (slightly) disturbed ...

      Haha thanks, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS I'M EXCITED!!! Don't worry. We all make text talk faux pais sometimes. I have been known to liberally use the word lol in conversation. Sad but true.

  2. I love secondhand bookshops! They are the best thing known to this planet. :) I've never read any of the books you listed but the first one, the children's story one, and Dumas looks very interested (I've always wanted to read Dumas' books but haven't had the chance yet, you will have to tell us how about it).

    Unfortunately our town is fresh out of secondhand bookshops. . . or any bookshops. :( But my friend and I were killing time one day and we walked into a thrift story. Guess what we found piled up in a corner and stuffed in trash bags? Books in amazing condition (Lots of them had a girl's name on the inside covers and judging from the titles, we liked to speculate that she was a homeschooler ;) ). I bought the first and second LOTR books, along with a hardcover Inkheart, a dollar each. And these books look like they've never been read. I was ecstatic.

    1. They're just the best! I'm excited to read all my new books (though considering the length of my TBR list I'll be lucky to do so before I'm fifty!). I'm excited for the Dumas. I have a very gorgeous shiny copy of The Count of Montecristo that's waiting to be read ^_^

      Unfortunately I don't live in a town so I can't get anywhere without a car - !! But when I'm in town I loooove to wander the charity shops (thrift stores) and secondhand shops to find the books. I love your story -- that's one of the best things about buying books secondhand, which you can't get going to a firsthand shop: you wonder about the book's previous owner and the story behind the book. In the amazing shop in St Andrews that I mentioned in this post there are some really old books - my friend got one, can you believe it, with a dedication written inside from 1898!!!!! She also found one with a plate inside that had been presented as a school prize - and, here's the cool bit, it was to someone in her own school - in 1916.

  3. I totally understand this "problem"! I have it too, and my shelves are not thanking me for it.

    I'm SO impressed (and jealous...mostly jealous) that you found The Cuckoo's Calling second hand! I would have snapped that up so fast, haha.

    1. Yikes I am seriously running out of space .... however I'm eyeing up a bookshelf of my brother's that he really does not need (he is 32 and lives in Singapore, I mean he's never even lived in the house we live in because he'd left home before we moved, so *frankly* I think I get bookshelf priorities!!!).

      Haha I'm so excited to read it!!! I was very chuffed when I spied it ;)

  4. I, too, "suffer" from this addiction. Looks like you picked up some great titles! I'm torn on reading Anna and the French Kiss, but I probably will get it from the library one day.

    By the way, I've tagged you for the Book Life Tag! :)
    Here are the details:

    1. It's a serious problem, Lauren! I was initially v. sceptical about Anna but the book blogging world is so obsessed ... and it was only £1!!! It's only short and light so even if I don't like it, it won't take me too long.

      Thanks for the tag! Gah I've still not done the last thing you've tagged me for .... but I *will* get round to it! :L

  5. I know exactly what you mean. I can just stand in a secondhand shop for hours just roaming around and when I finally think I've seen seen everything another cool thing pops up in front of me which starts the whole cycle over again.
    I buy primarily most of my books and things from secondhand shops there is just this kind of magic in them that other places don't have.

    Carly @ Books and Etc.

    1. Absolutely. Books just jump out at you. And they definitely have a magic about them -- wondering who their previous owner was, feeling extremely smug about your finds!


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