This seemed like the best place to post this.....I just spend another fun half-hour browsing this site. My "frugality" has prevented me from buying anything yet, but I'm sure I'll give in soon to something. It's obviously not all horror, but I think has enough to interest many Vaulters. The prices seem reasonable, although I don't know anything about the postage rates.
Sadly there was no scenic excursion to the seaside this week for me to report upon. Instead the neverending footfalls of my book foraging exploits took me to Brixton; specifically to Bookmongers on Coldharbour Lane. Now this is an excellent second-hand bookshop of the old school; heck, it even boasts an umbrella stand beside the door. Don't be fooled by its higgledy-piggledy appearance which actually belies a shrewd stock management philosophy. Although books are grouped by subject they aren't arranged alphabetically so there really is no alternative other than to have a good old rummage to unearth anything you might want. Personally there is nothing I like better.
The stock is well balanced between factual and fictional, old and new. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and obliging. The SF/Fantasy section is extensive, its kindred horror allotment less so. This is a shop one could happily spend an entire afternoon in without parting with a penny and still not begrudge the time as anything other than well spent. I would encourage anyone in a position to do so to go and check it out. Chances are they'll find it more than worth their while.
This is slightly off-topic,but I'll post it anyway...
Not specifically horror, SF, fantasy or in fact pulp at all, but here's a favourite of mine and somewhere that is genuinely worth seeing. Here in Inverness we have Scotland's largest second hand book shop - Leakey's. They have well in excess of 100,000 books, but the most stunning thing is the shop itself. It's in an 18th century church, and the only conversion work that's been done is replacing pews with shelves, installing a gigantic cast iron spiral staircase to allow access to the gallery and a monstrous wood burning stove to combat the Highland winters (complete with a mound of logs). The stained glass windows and the pulpit are still in place (complete with huge centuries-old bible) and the staff work in the choir stalls.
Have a browse at some of the images of it on this webpage to get an idea...
Leakey's is now on my list of essential places to visit before I snuff it. And on my list of ideal locations to haunt if I don't.
Leakey's and Bookmongers on my shops to infest list, the latter looking far more do-able as things stand though probably not this side of the Oct. Pulp & Paperback Fair. Please keep us up to date with your adventures, Crom.
Not in the same league as the above but one of my all-time favourite haunts. This is Slater Street, Bethnal Green, London E2, just around the corner from Shoreditch Station, and behind the benches is where friend Richard sets up his stall every Sunday. Sometimes - usualy when it's raining - he'll flog DVD's. Other times it will be exclusively rock posters. But mostly it's books and if your luck is with you, its tray upon tray of pre-battered paperbacks. Accursed "regeneration" (shorthand for gentrification) has done for much of Slater Street in recent years and the market is almost certainly living on borrowed time, but if you're passing on a Sunday morning/ early afternoon, you might like to give the car-park a whirl.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
Going even further off topic, my weirdest second hand bookshop experience was some years ago in Amsterdam. On first entering, it looked like any other antiquarian book seller anywhere. Nothing like the market stall pulp seller full of Richard Allen or Pan Horror, there seemed to be some real historical artefacts here, centuries old. But the shop was piled high with books. Not just the shelving, but the floor, the stairs, every available horizontal(-ish) surface had a stack of books on it. When you moved a book you'd find another, previously invisible, book behind it. It was obvious that the proprietors had lost control and the books had taken over. There was no longer any filing or indexing system that could be discerned...
The proprietors were a small group of terminally freaked hippies who had gravitated to Amsterdam and then remained locked in a fairly high geostationary orbit. The shop had a faint odour of hash and on the day I visited there were three of them at the front desk rather like the last surviving crew of a long-lost space station. As I watched from a distance, a woman approached them as she wanted to buy three books she'd found. Although used to the weirdness of Amsterdam, I was surprised to see what looked like a set of scales being used before any money changed hands.
After she left I approached them to enquire if they really were weighing books. The man in the patchouli haze informed me that once they realised that the shop had "outgrown us" (his words) they'd decided to alter their approach. By that stage they had so many books in such a jumble that even sorting them out was an impossibility, let alone pricing them realistically, so another approach was needed. They reasoned that hardbacks are always more expensive than paperbacks, and decided that this must be because hardbacks are always heavier. After all, what other difference was there between a hardback and a paperback? Moreover, the really big tomes (like the antiquarian bibles and 17th century books full of incredible illustrations of flowers or classical ruins) were huge great things and always weighed a ton. Hence the logical approach was to weigh all books and sell them by the kilo.
Post by cromagnonman on Sept 10, 2017 12:33:58 GMT
Well, they do always say that it pays to weigh your words carefully.
Great anecdote. Its been my experience also that book hunting offers a sure and certain route into the surreal.
Been meaning to ask whether you have any particular views or thoughts on Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway which - insofar as I understand it - is fashioning itself as a sort of Hay-on-Wye north of the border. I've had one or two purchases from those big recycling sites come with a Wigtown address attached to it. Am musing whether it might be worth mounting an expedition there at some point.
Post by Shrink Proof on Sept 10, 2017 18:53:20 GMT
I haven't visited Wigtown since it became Scotland's book town, so can't claim any personal knowledge of that side of it; I've been to South West Scotland a number of times in the past though, and it's very much a hidden gem. Not as overwhelmingly staggering as the Highlands can be, but well worth a trip.
Wigtown is an attractive enough little place itself, but with the merging of Wigtownshire into the Dumfries & Galloway region (thus losing its county town status), as well as the closure of a couple of crucial local industries, it became very depressed and the Book Town idea was a Scottish government scheme to help regeneration. IIRC, several towns in Scotland vied for the job and Wigtown won. There's an annual book festival (due soon - it's usually late Sept/early Oct) that attracts some literary heavyweights and certainly looks promising.
It's on my list of destinations for another trip, reasoning being as follows. Anywhere with that many second hand bookshops is definitely going to keep me entertained for a few days. In addition it's got plenty of other places worth a visit. The coastline and scenery are truly excellent, atmospheric and free of tourist hordes - South West Scotland tends to get overlooked as folk from England who head north seem to either stop at the Lake District or carry on to the Scottish Highlands. Scroll through the photos on this web site to get an idea. So that covers a few more days. There are also some truly fab, massively atmospheric (i.e., spooky) medieval and prehistoric sites in the area too, all of which would entertain me for yet more days, as I have delusions of being a photographer.
But I'm at the other end of Scotland so it's not just down the road...