Today I had a niggling feeling that I should dig out my wheely bag and go to a particular charity shop which has a whole backroom dedicated to books. So I did just that and I'm so glad I did as I got a bumper haul of lovely books - 21 in fact!
I love old children's books, especially Ladybird Books and I always enjoy finding them a new home. The Kings & Queens of England book dates from 1968-1970 and is a bit battered on the outside but the pages are fine. Bob Bushtail's Adventure is pretty trashed but I'm going to rescue the illustrations and do something with them - frame them perhaps? Robin Hood dates from the 80s I think but this series seems to be quite collectable, so I thought I'd take it home as well.
|The Rubadub Mystery, The Put-em-Rights and The Rockingdown Mystery|
Three Enid Blyton books - I read a lot of Enid Blyton when I was younger, so I've a bit of a soft spot for them and hate to see them languish in shops. I'd read the two mystery ones (I've always loved a good mystery story) but hadn't heard of the Put-Em-Rights before. This isn't an unusual phenomena as Enid Blyton is estimated to have written in over 600 books in her roughly 40 years of writing - that's around 15 books per year! Some sources put the total at nearer 800 books, but either way that's pretty prolific :)
|The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy (purple) and The Golden Eagle and Other Tales|
The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy by Penelope Lively (1971) and The Golden Eagle and Other Tales by Francoise De Piro D'Amico - I mainly picked these two up for their covers and I liked the illustrations in The Golden Eagle.
|"Who are you, beautiful maiden?" Illustration from The Golden Eagle|
A bit of internet research tells me the Golden Eagle was published in 1947. It includes the story "The Discontented Cabbage" which involves quite a lot of magical sex-changing and more use of the word "buxom" than you'd think was proper in 1947.
|"What does your Land Majesty desire of me?" - Colour plate from the Golden Eagle|
I've only glanced at the title story, but it includes the fabulous line:
"It's a paradox!" exclaimed the bat...
Which for some reason has rather tickled me.
|Weird illustration from The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy|
Aren't some illustrations quite creepy when taken out of context - is that a vicar wearing a deer mask? Yes, yes it is.
|Using Our Language Book 3 and An Alphabet of Ancient Greece Book One: Early Days|
Using Our Language Book 3 was first published in 1967 and this is the seventh impression from 1973. I bought it because for some reason I can't resist old text and educational books. Maybe it's for the nostalgia of my own learning/school days or for the insight into school life way back when... or maybe it's just the 3-colour illustrations. I'm accumulating a bit of a stash on my stock shelves and to be honest I'm not even sure if anyone even buys them. If I love them someone else must, right? An Alphabet of Ancient Greece also dates from 1967 and was bought for the same reason. Also the illustrations are quite strange.
|An example of the three-colour illustrations in Using Our Language - each page has a different highlight colour|
The illustrations in this book are mostly after examples of Ancient Greek artwork and vases etc. and use only red, blue, green and yellow as colours.
Is it just me or was all food prior to the 1980s luridly coloured? Reminds me of that Dylan Moran sketch:
"You know it's a sad day when your child looks at you and asks 'Daddy, are these organic?'"
"Organic? I grew up on Angel Delight. We didn't have anything in the house if it wasn't neon!"
Northanger Abbey I got because I quite liked the cover. I only gave it a quick glance really and I must admit I had it down as older than it is - I thought 1950s as I've seen similar style books from then but it's actually dated 1984. It's also very pretty under the Dust Jacket too. The Mill on the Floss was just too adorable to leave behind. It's from 1963 I think, but there's a School Library Stamp to the inside front cover dated 1967, so maybe it's from then. It has the kind of thin, tissue-paper-y pages that I associate with bibles and the copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare my Nan gave me when I was 8 or 9 and our class performed Hamlet (much abridged of course).
Next are My Giant Book of Bedtime Stories from 1984, bought because I liked the illustrations and Rainbow Brite's Treasury from 1986, bought because I'm an eighties kid and Rainbow Brite is cool :) My sister loves Rainbow Brite actually, so I might be nice and give it to her... we'll see.
|Rainbow Brite's Treasury and My Giant Book of Bedtime Stories|
|All Creatures Great and Small Annual 1982 and My Guy Annual 1979|
Last up are these two annuals - All Creatures Great and Small was bought only because someone mentioned the show recently - and the My Guy Annual because it was so weird and kitschy and has those photo-stories in. Having read a few pages it's even more god-awful than I expected and is just really, really weird. I can't judge what age it's aimed at either. The problem pages ask about getting pregnant from kissing, a lot of it seems to be about boobs, there's lots of dodgy-sounding stuff about Holiday Romances, quizzes about your relationships or types and the choice of poster boys is really odd too. Also they call Noel Edmonds dishy! I think I'll post some of the pages at a later date so you can see what I mean. There's a bit of a coincidence going on because when I got home I remembered I'd been singing 'My Guy' all morning - even before I went out and I remember thinking it was odd because I'd not heard that song anywhere recently. Odd huh?
I got 4 books for myself too: Angela Carter's Black Venus - I love Angela Carter and I haven't read this - and a couple of new-age books to satisfy my hippyish leanings.
On my way out this morning I noticed that a new bakery had opened up on the main road just by our flat, so I treated myself to a cupcake before heading home, feeling very smug and then having a nice sit down and a cup of tea.