Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Trip to Barter Books

Barter Books is one of Britains largest second hand book shops and is located in Alnwick in Northumbria. The shop is situated in a converted railway station and is a book buyers paradise. There are books on so many subjects and the place is huge. There is more than enough room to easily manouevre between the shelves and there are places with comfy sofas to browse the books you are interested in.

Barter Books has an extensive collection of first editions and it was fascinating to look at them (you can see but not touch, unless you are a genuine buyer).

I started off with a coffee and a toasted sandwich at the restaurant and then hit the shelves. I managed to restrain myself and only spend £30 - and I got a 10% discount which made the purchase price £27, a worthwhile saving.

I purchased biographies on Augustus John and E M Forster, a book of poetry and a crime novel. Now I'm sitting down and savouring my purchases.

As well as the books, there is a restaurant and on the way out there is a self service coffee, tea and biscuits located in an alcove by a blazing fire. Given we had just had snow it was nice to sit in front of the fire with a coffee (30p) an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (50p) and a bag of books (£27).

I will be going back there at the first opportunity.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Fear of Reading

Have you ever read a book that has got under your skin and won't escape out of your mind? I have many books and characters locked away in my mind. I liked this quote from Erica Jong:

A book burrows into your life in a very profound way because the experience of reading is not passive

Erica Jong


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Monday, January 25, 2010

hotels planes & trains

I have spent a lot of my business life in and on trains, planes and hotels. It can be very tiring and annoying to be on the road but with the aid of a faithul clutch of books I survive and thrive. It is always great to visit places where fictional characters and their creators have lived.

I am writing this from my hotel room and my companions are Virginia Woolf, Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz and Marianne Keyes. An interesting bunch of travelling companions wouldn't you agree?

Who knows which authors will be on my next trip.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reading for the Eager or Tired

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read

G. K. Chesterton

Another great quote about reading. I tend to read serious books when I am eager such as the Collected Poems of Ted Hughes and The Renaissance in Europe and crime novels when I am tired. There is a book for every season and for every reason.


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Friday, January 22, 2010

Painting your Diary

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary

Pablo Picasso

Writing is not the only way of capturing the events of everyday life. Painting though slower also allows a painter to capture his/her life impressions over time.

In fact as a purchaser of art works the paintings I have obtained are also a diary of my experiences with art.



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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Eternal Reading Triangle

The eternal triangle of reading is the interaction between the Book, the Writer and the Reader.

Cousins puts it well when he says,

"The way a book is read - which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book - can have as much to do with it's worth as anything the author puts into it".

An apposite and enlightening quote.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Great Crime Novel

I have been enjoying the crime novels by Val McDermid recently. Her books have been made into a very successful TV series called The Blood in the Wire.

I have just finished her book called A Place of Execution. It is a great read with the proverbial twist in the tail.

It is about the first big case that a young Police Inspector handles. A young girl goes missing from a very small village and a man is convicted of the murder and is hung. No body is found so the case causes a lot of controversy. The story then moves to the late nineties when the officer is retired and new shocking evidence comes to light.

It is fast paced, full of interest and I highly recommend it.

Life Writing

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

Henry David Thoreau

In my experience the best books are those based upon a lived experience. Whether the writing is factual, novel or poetic the same rule applies. Write about what you know.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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Popular Education

Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom or justice can be permanently maintained.

John Garfield (1831-1881)

I am a great believer in the concept of public education. Every person is entitled to, and benefits from, a public education. Education helps to break the shackles of poverty and ignorance. It allows people to shine and to soar, to add something to the wealth of human endeavour.


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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Learning

It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts

John Wooden

John had it right. Every day through reading my ignorance is exposed. On the upside, every day that I read and take in new thoughts, ideas or facts is a day that reduces my pool of ignorance.

Have a great day

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