Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Virtual browsing, or, The torture of distance

A couple of months ago, the wonderful picture below was emailed to me by Tina Brookerwho has, by the way, already been responsible for adding dozens of wonderfully obscure authors to my Overwhelming List as a result of her perusals of E-bay listings, book advertisements, tables of contents, and more.  (And let me say right off, trust me, you owe it to yourself to view the photo at full size.  Don't waste time arguing, just do it!)

The Old Station Pottery and Bookshop, courtesy of David Brooker

Tina's husband David took the pic at the Old Station Pottery and Bookshop in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk.  It's wonderfully high-resolution and I found several new (to me) authors to add to my list merely by indulging in some delightful browsing in this enticing shop.  Indeed, it's the next best thing to visiting Wells-next-the-Sea myself (though who knows, perhaps I'll do that too somedayhave a look at some of the lovely photos here.)  But admittedly it is rather tantalizing, for what I wouldn't give to be able to take down some of the books and page through them, get a "feel" for them, literally and figuratively.

Of course, I thanked Tina enthusiastically (and got her and her husband's gracious permission to post the picture here), Then, only a few weeks later, they made their way to Peters Bookshop in Sheringham (which seems to have had a website at one time, but the site is redirecting me to a t-shirt shop now, which doesn't really help us much for the purpose at hand, does it?).  In lieu of an official pic of the shop, here's a Google Streetview shot of it:

Peters Bookshop exterior (courtesy of Google)

David again brought his camera along and snapped these two luscious pics of some of the shelves. First, the top two shelves:

from Peters Bookshop, courtesy of David Brooker

Oh, what a lovely array of obscure writers.  And the whole array could have been selected for its relevance to this blog.  There's Florence Barclay, Ethel M. Dell, Mabel Barnes-Grundy, Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler, Marie Corelli, Maud Diver, and more.  And then there are those I wasn't familiar with.  Isabel Cameron?  I've discovered that she was a Scottish author early in my time period, but details will have to await further research.

And then the lower shelves, which, it turned out, offered a veritable wealth of hitherto-unknown authors:

from Peters Bookshop, courtesy of David Brooker

Here's Flora Klickmann, L. T Meade, Doris Pocock, and many other recognizable names.  But also, Hilda T. Skae?  Amy Le Feuvre?  Mary Catharine Rowsell?  Jennie Chappell?  Grace Pettman?  Ah, what a wealth of material for future research, and an extensive future update to my Overwhelming List.  And then there's Amy Whipple.  Any connection to Dorothy?  Probably not, but I shall certainly have to look more closely.

Well, I confess these pics distracted me for at least a couple of hours from work I really should have been doing, and they very nearly made me throw caution (and all notion of fiscal or other responsibility) to the wind and jet off to England for a good few weeks of book shopping (rapidly followed, no doubt, by more or less utter financial ruin). How many such bookshops might there be in the entire U.K.? And how long might it take to visit them all?  Well, I'm game, regardless.

So thank you again to Tina and David for allowing me to vicariously share their book browsing.

Clearly David has set the standard with these pics.  But if anyone else feels up to the challenge of enabling some similarly tantalizing virtual browsing in one of their favorite second-hand shops, by all means forward your pics along!

12 comments:

  1. How lovely! Those shelves look strangely like mine ...

    I spotted Flora Klickmann there. I love her Flower Patch books. Unlike some of your listed books, those aren't hard to find.

    I do enjoy the way you share your discoveries.

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    1. Oh, then I am certainly envious of your bookshelves as well. Have you posted pics of your shelves on your blog?

      I think I have at least the first Flora Klickmann in e-book because it was free from Google Books. On your recommendation, I'll have to bump it up the "to read" list.

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    2. Took me ages but I've found some pictures I took before I moved house (a massive downsizing).
      http://callmemadam.livejournal.com/118400.html
      http://callmemadam.livejournal.com/163293.html

      I have some more recent pics, taken for an essay on 'My Collecting Life' but they're not on the blog. I could email them to you? Almost exclusively girls' books because of the particular readership.

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    3. These are lovely pics. I do covet your bookshelves! And yes, I'd love to see the shelves of girls' books. Feel free to email them to me--the email is at the bottom of the page. They will make me more jealous and add to my TBR list, but I am a glutton for punishment!

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  2. You know what this is, don't you Scott?

    Book Porn.

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    1. That's true, Susan. I never thought I would end up a purveyor of porn. Perhaps in the future I should pay more attention to having seductive lighting in my book pics!

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  3. My shelves too.......

    And what a coincidence - in today's Guardian is a veritable gallimaufry of bookshop photos and tales: http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/jun/18/bookshop-memories-your-pictures-and-stories

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    1. Oh, I'd like to see your shelves too, Cestina. And I did happen to notice that article this afternoon. Great minds think alike!

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  4. Oh, Lord! A bookstore recommended by Scott - AND piles of pretty dishes! Take me now, Jesus, because that is Heaven!
    Now, Scott, when we are visiting? Sooner, rather than alter, I hope!
    Tom (of Stevenson AND Thirkell fame!)

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    1. I'm ready Tom. Let's leave tonight. There's just the little matter of expenses. Do you happen to know someone with a private jet they're not using?

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  5. Well if you're going to all the trouble of coming over, you must also make time for Carlisle's Bookcase (www.bookcasecarlisle.co.uk), Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland (www.barterbooks.co.uk) and Richard Booth's in Hay-on-Wye (www.boothbooks.co.uk). No explicit photos, I'm afraid, so I've included the websites. Think piles of covetable books and comfy chairs from which to browse and, in two cases, tea and cakes available too.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, even more torture! I think maybe I had heard of Barter Books from somewhere, but I'm going to have to compile a list for our next trip to England. And a list of pubs near each bookstore will also be necessary, to keep Andy occupied while I'm shopping!

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