You may remember a few months ago I had a little jaunt to Melrose to visit family and ended up going to see Ros at Main Street Trading in St Boswell’s (even though the shop was closed!) My post detailing my first visit is here.
This time around I obviously planned my visit for when the shop was actually open, because I’m clever like that.
It was nice this time to be able to unleash Mini-Bookish into the children’s fiction section as she wasn’t with me last time. The sheer excitement on her little face was magical. I turned around after being in the shop for under 60 seconds and she already had some books clutched in her little sweaty mitts.
I was in the market for book buying (obvs!) but I had restricted myself to maybe 2 books for me and 2 books for Mini Bookish……
I love it when a plan comes together!
We both had a lovely browse around the gorgeous shop whilst the not so book-loving boys sat and had a drink in the lovely coffee shop area.
It was nice to see Ros again and chat books and I came away with some great recommendations.
When we’d done our perusing I narrowed my choices down to 4 books (I think that’s pretty reserved given the vast array of choice!), then we headed off to the cafe area to meet the boys.
I had a rather lovely cappuccino and we had some delicious nibbles. Mini Bookish had a huge piece of Biscoff cake which I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of before she inhaled it!
So……..I’m sure you’re all desperate to know which books I chose, right?…..I know you lot so well!
First up we have The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch in one of the newly re-published Vintage Classics editions.
How bloody stunning is that!
I’ve never read any Iris Murdoch but I’ve dallied over this one at the library a few times.
I’m sure a lot of you have read it already but for those who haven’t here is the synopsis:
When Charles Arrowby retires from his glittering career in the London theatre, he buys a remote house on the rocks by the sea. He hopes to escape from his tumultuous love affairs but unexpectedly bumps into his childhood sweetheart and sets his heart on destroying her marriage. His equilibrium is further disturbed when his friends all decide to come and keep him company and Charles finds his seaside idyll severely threatened by his obsessions.
To be honest ‘remote house on the rocks’ was all I needed!
Next we have a short story collection that I’ve had my beady eye on for a good while. If I’m honest this was the one book I knew I would definitely buy.
Salt Slow by Julia Armfield published by Picador is another bloody beaut!
In her brilliantly inventive and haunting debut collection of stories, Julia Armfield explores bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of her characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession, love and revenge.
Teenagers develop ungodly appetites, a city becomes insomniac overnight, and bodies are diligently picked apart to make up better ones. The mundane worlds of schools and sleepy sea-side towns are invaded and transformed, creating a landscape which is constantly shifting to hold on to its inhabitants. Blurring the mythic and the gothic with the everyday, Salt Slow considers characters in motion – turning away, turning back or simply turning into something new entirely.
I’ve heard so many great things about this collection and we all know I love me a short story……
Talking of short stories…..
Book choice number 3 is:
Why Don’t You Stop Talking by Jackie Kay published by Picador.
If I’m entirely honest I was drawn to this one by the cover and that’s pretty much the long and short of it. Although when I took it to the till Ros was telling me that Jackie Kay had recently been on the radio and Ros had enjoyed listening to her talk about her writing.
In Jackie Kay’s first collection of stories, ordinary lives are transformed by secrets. Her world might seem familiar – sex, death and family cast long shadows – but the roles of mothers, daughters and lovers are imagined and revealed in the most surprising of ways.
Sometimes it is the things that we choose to hide within ourselves which can transform us – and that has never been more true than in Jackie Kay’s warm, exuberant storytelling. She sees the extraordinary in everyday life, and lights it up with humour and generosity in a way that is uniquely her own.
I’m excited for this one!
Last up we have a very bold and intimidating choice which was borne out of a Twitter chat the evening before surrounding bloggers and poetry.
The Girl Aquarium by Jen Campbell published by Bloodaxe is not a book I would have envisaged myself buying because poetry intimidates me massively! I’ve never read a poetry collection (not since school anyway!) and certainly have never thought of reviewing poetry on my blog. But there’s a first time for everything and I’m willing to open my mind!
Jen Campbell’s first collection The Girl Aquarium explores the realm of rotten fairy tales, the possession of body and the definition of beauty. Weaving between whispered science and circus, she turns a cracked mirror on society and asks who gets to control the twisted tales hiding in the wings.
So there we have my purchases!
If you ever get the chance to visit St Boswell’s you MUST visit Main Street Trading Bookshop, I urge you! The vast array of books is breathtaking (and the food is pretty delicious too!).
I cannot recommend this shop enough!
See you all soon.
Amanda – Bookish Chat xx