In a corner of Glasgow’s West End are some of my favourite places… Second hand bookshops.
Near Kelvinbridge subway there are three delightful and rather distinct bookshops all within about five minutes walk of each other.
The lovely Thistle Books which also incorporates Alba Music for fans of sheet music. This bookshop always has classical music playing and smells just as an old bookshop should.
Their books are always in great condition and it seems to abound with the sort of authors and publishers I love. I was trying to behave on Saturday so only bought one book, but I could have easily bought a dozen or more. Apart from anything they had a load of the British Library crime classics.
Just around the corner is the infamous Voltaire & Rosseau, which is not for the faint-hearted! Piles and piles of books, almost as tall as a person and three or four stacks deep with bookcase behind- this is not where you go if you are looking for something specific. If you are happy to have a rummage, you know as soon as you enter that you could find a possible treasure. However, it can become frustrating when you can’t find anything of interest but you just know that there must be something amazing buried that you will never find. Nonetheless, I found two books here. Since reading my first Muriel Spark recently, I was determined to get hold of some more of her books, so when I saw one peeking out from of these tottering piles I was never going to resist.
Finally, the easiest to find as it is on Great Western Road, Caledonia Books, is a delightful little store on two levels, with a lovely shop front, and a spiral staircase rising through the shop that just adds to the quaint look. A little pricier than the other two perhaps but filled with some gems if you take the time to look.
When I am stressed out, or needing a pick me up, or just generally looking to have a nice quiet morning, I will find myself in this little corner of the world which never disappoints. I love that these independent bookstores continue to exist, and I hope to continue visiting them for a long time.
Since it was the first of December when I visited, I made myself behave and I think I was remarkably restrained given that I visited three different bookshops and came away with only four books!
I haven’t read any Ngaio Marsh, although I love classic whodunnits. This fontana cover is completely mad, so it will be interesting to see if the contents of this novel at all match the outside. I am always nervous when starting a new author, particularly a prolific one, in case I inadvertently pick a weak book and am put off forever after.
There was never any chance I wasn’t going to pick up this Muriel Spark after I saw it- not after enjoying The Public Image recently and with it still fresh on my mind. I have a feeling Muriel Spark has lots still to offer to me.
The only hardback I picked up, and shockingly the first Rumer Godden to grace my shelves. Every time I think I have read a lot of books, I realise just how few I have really read. Rumer Godden, Muriel Spark and Ngaio Marsh are all extremely well known and respected authors, all of them fairly prolific, and I am only just considering reading them now when I am nearing thirty.
My final book purchase, is also by an author I have read far to little of. I have recently been reading Down and Out in Paris and London so when I saw this little George Orwell I had to pick it up. I read Animal Farm in my early teens and for some reason never read any other Orwell after.
Some absolutely delightful covers from this book haul- I just hope that the insides live up to them!
Has anyone else realised that despite reading frequently, sometimes they have missed some potentially very important reading?