Monday, May 09, 2016

Buying books ...

... is a good way to start the day!  Of course I don't need any more books, and it is questionable whether I have time to read any more books, but nonetheless it is a delightful occupation.
This morning we started the day's tour in Wigtown, the book town.  Almost every fingerpost in the town has the word Bookshops on it, but the first bookshop we entered had its own story to tell even before we got to looking at the books.
The Open Book store provides a residency for aspiring booksellers.  With a rental of the self-catering apartment above, comes the opportunity to run the bookshop.  According to the guy who had just started today the residency is booked for at least two years hence.  He, a Scot, was sharing duties with a woman on a travelling holiday from Oklahoma.
Browsing the shelves of second-hand books I found three titles.  The first surprised me with the intrigue it aroused because I am not at all inclined to fish.  However, I was entranced by A.F. Magri MacMahon's Fishlore (how could one not be entranced by his name alone!), the Pelican edition from 1946.  It seems that the volume was reissued in 2012, as being suitable for young boys or girls keen to learn to fish.  I always enjoyed Pelicans because they treated specialised subjects in a way suitable for the curious intelligent reader, whether youngster or not.
Then a Penguin called to me: Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (known as Q - and another name to conjure with) Selected Short Stories published in 1957.  I am a great lover of short stories, but it was not just that which drew my eye.  One of my earliest secretarial tasks when I worked for Oxford University Press in 1972 was dealing with Q's fascinating correspondence file dating back to the publication of his Oxford Book of English Verse.
The third book is more recent -2006, and was in the sale at the bookstore: Edinburgh University Press's The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women which I am delighted to say is thicker than I could have imagined - ignorance of which I'm also ashamed to admit.
After all that excitement of course we had to have a coffee opposite in the Café Rendezvous, where the walls are hung with lovely photographs of children reading  Each photograph in black and white was taken from behind the child who looks totally absorbed in the book. 
In our short wander round the town after that, I can't remember having been greeted by so many friendly folks anywhere before. 


  1. I have been vicariously enjoying your posts on your latest trip, and this too.. what fun indeed!

  2. I was thinking of you Marja-Leena, as we came across a delightful little stone circle just after visiting Wigtown. See the post after this one.