Return to Bookbarn

Sounds like a summer blockbuster, doesn’t it? There was certainly plenty of tension on our drive from the Reading area to Somerset this past Friday, as traffic on the M4 built up and our time for book shopping ticked down from a planned hour and a half to just 35 minutes before store closing. It had been almost exactly one year since my last trip to Bookbarn International, and after weeks of wheedling I’d finally persuaded my husband to make the detour on our way to visit friends in Bristol.

Despite the tight deadline, I enjoyed my browsing and scored some good finds. As usual, it seemed like a terrific bargain: £14.50 for 15 books. One’s a gift for our nephew in America, four are nature books my husband chose, and the rest are mine! Bonus: a few days later it occurred to me to ask after the collectible books I left behind last year for Bookbarn to sell for me and it turns out I have nearly £21 coming to me – so in effect our shopping was free!


In case you can’t read the titles in the photo, here’s my haul:

Travel books:

The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin

Into the Heart of Borneo, Redmond O’Hanlon

[I featured both of the world-class travel writers in a recent article for Bookmarks, so it’s only proper that I actually read something by them.]


Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, Mary McCarthy [I’m a sucker for religious memoirs.]


Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood [It’s been a while since I tried one from her back catalogue.]

What a Carve Up!, Jonathan Coe [I enjoyed the recent ‘sequel’, Number 11.]

White Oleander, Janet Fitch [An Oprah favorite I’ve long meant to read.]

The Water-Method Man, John Irving [Let’s hope for better things from his second novel.]

The Girls, Lori Lansens [I can’t resist a conjoined twins story.]

The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman [Already read some years back, but worth owning.]

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Anne Tyler [To continue my run of Tyler classics.]

Had any secondhand book coups lately?

12 responses

  1. Carolyn Anthony | Reply

    I enjoyed this, especially since you enjoyed the experience.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely photo, and a good book haul! I got a good set of three books in Bridlington the other weekend; it had surprisingly good books in the charity shops. Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible” was the main attraction there, very pleasing.


    1. Alas, we ran out of time to go charity shopping in Bristol, otherwise I daresay I would have added to that pile!

      I love all of Barbara Kingsolver’s books that I’ve read but somehow only own Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and High Tide in Tucson.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your t-shirt!

    I’ve had a few successful book hauls in the last couple of months. Hopefully, I’ll get around to posting about them in the Fall! I’ve been saving up the pictures of them for when I find the time… None have been free, but one day I got about 6 books for $4. Not bad. 🙂


    1. Thanks! My brother-in-law got that for my birthday one year. It’s a very appropriate slogan 🙂

      That sounds like a good bargain to me! I’ll look forward to hearing about your summer shopping.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Och, glorious. I really enjoyed White Oleander – it’s one of those that I read sufficiently long ago to have forgotten bits of it, but that I’d definitely read again.


    1. Glad to hear it. It moved higher on my list when the author liked one of my reviews on Goodreads (!).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve heard great things about The Imperfectionists! And after reading some Robert Macfarlane, Chatwin is now on my radar (he mentions him a few times). I’d be really curious how Songlines is.


    1. Tom Rachman is excellent — both of his novels are well worth reading. The Chatwin book sounds like a peculiar blend of travelogue and fiction. I hope I’ll enjoy it!


      1. Chatwin is a maz ing. Love all of his.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. […] area to make a pilgrimage to Bookbarn International. This was a delightful surprise since I’d been in late July and never thought I’d get to go again this […]


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