Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Library loot

Despite the weather I managed to get out last week to attend the sale at the local library. I don’t entirely approve of selling off book stocks, but then modern libraries don’t carry the sort of stocks they used to (they have to make room for the computers) and I am not going to stand on my principles if books are being sold for 50p (unless standing on them means I can reach past the person in front of me!) The trouble with buying old library books is that they are all immense - I don’t really have anywhere to put them, and they will be expensive to post if I later want to list them on Bookmooch but, for now at any rate, I am rather pleased with my haul, which includes a Rebus omnibus. My husband isn’t a big Rankin fan, but I noticed he was quick to snap that one up! He also got two random thrillers, which I haven’t pictured here because I am not in the least interested in them, and Poirot’s Early Cases, which I shall nab later. I think he may like Sovereign, too – he hasn’t read any of this series by C.J. Samson about his 16th century investigator, Matthew Shardlake, but he used to enjoy Cadfael, and I think these are rather better written.

There are a couple I have reservations about: I can’t see much sign that the Henning Mankell novel, Depths, has been read, it’s in excellent condition – not one of the Wallander series, which may explain the lack of interest. I’m beginning to think I might have at least started The Malpas Legacy by Sam Llewellyn, because the blurb sounds familiar. DeKok and the Geese of Death (great title) is a second attempt at this series: normally I would greet a novel set in Amsterdam, a city I like very much, with huge enthusiasm, but the translation of the last made me squirm (oh how I miss Janwillem van der Wetering and his wonderful Amsterdam detectives De Gier and Grijpstra).

The Cat Who… books can quite safely be read out of order, I find, and are good for those occasions when you need something undemanding. The Nicholas Feast by Pat McIntosh is second in her series about Gil Cunningham, set in Glasgow in 1492 – historical detective novels are very variable in quality, ranging from a select few thate are excellent, as in the Shardlake series, to a majority which, if not downright awful, are at best mediocre. McIntosh has created an attractive cast of characters in an interesting setting, and her research and feel for period seem sound.

The last in my haul is an interesting oddity: 100 Days on Holy Island, A Writer’s Exile by Peter Mortimer tells how the author decided to spend a winter on Lindisfarne, starting in 2001. The blurb begins “It was the worst winter in a decade, the winter of foot-and-mouth, when island power cuts ran for up to 72 hours”. It wasn’t much fun over here on the mainland, either. More on this book anon, I suspect.


  1. As an ex-LIBRARIAN I was never in favour of selling off the stock and in my day it was rarely done. As an EX-librarian I love it and usually manage to pick up at least one title on my twice weekly visits to the library. The ceiling above me is emitting the occasional groan as boxes of them sit in the loft awaiting that one thing one cannot buy - time.

  2. I buy from library sales too. For a while in my local library I could get bargains for 10p, but now we're back to 50p or £1. I don't know The Cat Who ... books, but I could do with something light. 100 Days on Holy Island sounds like one to look out for. I hope you'll read and write about it soon.

  3. SS, I love the distinction you make! But I rather wish you hadn't mentioned groaning ceilings...

    BooksPlease, the Holy Island one looks as if it may be your kind of book. I think I'll take it with me when I go parent-visiting later in the month, I'm rather looking forward to it.

  4. Interesting selection. I can only take one IR about every six months.

    I suddenly noticed the Anne of Avonlea books at the side of your blog. I loved those, and, looking up at the top shelf here,I see I still have at least one of them. Now I know what to read next.

  5. Hi. Although Baantjer is very popular, Jan Willem van de Wetering was a much better author, so I doubt whether you'll like the DeKok series as much as you did Grijpstra & De Gier.

  6. Susie, I'm delighted to send someone back to the Anne books, they have become real favourites over the last year (before that I had only read Anne of Green Gables).

    Lethe, I fear you are right, but I'll give it a go. I only have one of the van der Wetering books (made the mistake of thinking I'd always be able to get them from the library) so I shall have to start collecting them. They were so good!