Astley Book Farm sexy book haul

Back in March, I visited the ‘largest secondhand book shop in the Midlands‘ – a converted farm somewhere in the middle of the Warwickshire countryside – and came back with a bumper crop of books. Today Pete and I went for a top-up trip. I spent £2 on four books from the Ten Bob Barn section:

1. Dirty Havana Trilogy by Pedro Juan Gutierrez
‘One of the most celebrated novels to come out of Latin America in decades.’ And ‘an insane journey into the condemned soul of a sexual deviant’. I was obviously looking for saucy reads because I also bought a copy of…

2. The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl: What Belle Did Next
I haven’t read the first Belle de Jour book, or her blog, but I’m imagining the content is much the same.

3. Bliss In Bali by J Chegaray
Any books on Bali are ‘a goer’ in my world. This one is a travelogue from 1955, when access was not easily granted, and where the writer discovers an island of taboos.

4. Odd Jobs: Portraits of Unusual Occupations by Nancy Rica Shiff
A photo-essay book featuring the kind of jobs careers advisors don’t tell you about, including – to continue the saucy theme – condom tester, breast measurer, artificial inseminator, foot model, semen collector, cross-dressing headmistress and colonics therapist.

That’s my reading sorted for summer then.

Oh and book number five was a gift from Pete: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – “a transatlantic epic”. Apparently I’ll enjoy it. Hmm.

Astley Book Farm and my crop of books

Astley Book Barn -5

Today we had a sibling outing to Astley Book Farm, just past tongue-twisting village of Fillongley in North Warwickshire, for a feast of secondhand book shopping. All three of us are bookworms and like to mooch (that’s my bro above), plus there was the lure of a trip out into the country, which makes a nice change from sitting at the laptop and logging on to Amazon.

Anyway here’s what I bought:

1. W Somerset Maugham – The Travel Books
During our two-hour mooch, I picked this up for it’s lovely hardback cover. Inside I read a beautifully worded account of his visit to an opium den in China, which convinced me to buy this one, a hardback at £5.95.

2. Last Breath (Cautionary tales from the limits of human endurance)
Death and travel – two of my favourite subjects lived vicariously through this £2.75 secondhand book. Inside are narrative tales, backed up with precise physiological breakdowns of what the body goes through, when hypothermic, drowning, in an avalanche, suffering cerebral malaria, the bends and many more.

3. Kraftwerk (From Dusseldorf to the Future with love)
Little is known about this group but here are 200 pages explaining the what’s what of the band behind The Model and Tour de France (my ony KW vinyl). My most expensive buy at £7.50.

4. John Lydon: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs
You gots to love the punk JR. I suspect I won’t get round to reading this one so if it’s really good, let me know.

And from the Ten Bob Barn… all books 50p:

5. English History 1914-1945 by AJP Taylor
My favourite period and O’level history textbook.

6. The Joy of Clichés by Nigel Rees
As a sub-editor I’ve been deleting these all my life professionally while using them with abandon socially.

7. Accustomed As I Am by Basil Boothroyd
Tales of a public speaker and other oratorial virtuosi.

8. Beloved Infidel: The education of a woman by Sheilah Graham & Gerold Frank
East End orphan becomes journalist and ends up in 1930s Hollywood, spending the final years of F Scott Fitzgerald’s life as his ‘intimate companion’.

9. Mystery book…
I know I bought another book but I think I left it on the counter and can’t for the life of me remember what it was, dammit.