Daily Bookshot: The Weekend’s 2nd-Hand Haul

If you were anywhere near the Oxfam bookshop in St. Andrews (Scotland) on Saturday, and you heard girl-like screams coming from within, then that would have been me *blushes*. But I did have good reason because my latest 2nd-hand book haul is, for me, bordering on legendary.

It’s been just over a year since I’ve been to St. Andrews (the last time was for my graduation), and I’ve missed popping into one of my most favourite 2nd-hand bookshops in the country. Some may surprised that I rate a charity shop among one of my favourites destinations for books (e.g. @boswellian), but this is one of the few Oxfam branches in the UK that specialises solely in books. And situated in the affluent university/golf town of St. Andrews, you can be sure there are some real gems to be uncovered, as is hopefully illustrated by today’s Daily Bookshot.

Ok, so on to the book haul then, and this shot shows them at my bedside next to the two ‘literary A-Listers’ I wake up to every morning – Chekhov and Tolstoy. Here’s a rundown on what’s in the stack together with some commentary on why I’m so happy with snagging each of them:

Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald – I’ve still to read this and I’ve clung onto a library copy now for a couple of months, in the vain hope that I would be able to get to it. Nice then that I found a copy I could call my own, so I can look longingly at this one instead, and hand the library copy back in. :o)

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami – Always delighted to stumble across a Murakami novel, especially when it’s one that’s sporting an uber-delicious Vintage cover (as seen in a fairly recently ‘Cover Love’ feature). I think I’m up to eight Murakami novels now, and all but one have the Vintage covers.

Selected Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant – Not an outstanding or special collection by any stretch of the imagination, but when a tidy little hardback of 30 Maupassant stories like this presents itself to me for £1.99, then I’m not going to resist.

Steinbeck: A Life in Letters – edited by Elaine Steinbeck and Robert Wallsten – I was utterly thrilled to have discovered this older edition of the Penguin classic. I’ve coveted this for ages, but with it being quite expensive to buy new, I’ve always put off picking it up. Not any more, a copy for £2.00 and I couldn’t be happier. I love letter collections from any author (i.e. D.H. Lawrence as featured in a recent Daily Bookshot), but to have this one from Steinbeck, well I feel like weeping for joy, I really do.

The Samurai by Shusaku Endo – Definitely saving the best until last, I’d said to my daughter only moments earlier, that if I found any Endo titles I’ll be squealing like a girl. Second’s later, and my eyes met This New Directions edition of The Samurai. Did I squeal like a girl? You bet I did! Several heads turned but I didn’t care. I was in a midst of a bout of Endo-phoria. Fantastic!

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I should probably check Endo out if it made you squeal like a girl! 😀

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      @Claire – Really, you must! He’s a sensational writer. Super skilled at taking his characters out of their ‘comfort zone’ and making them squirm 🙂
      @Nick – I had no idea you were such a big Steinbeck fan. Way to go you. As for Yoshikawa, I’ve always fancied picking up Taiko, but it’s so darn expensive (well at least on my tight budget)
      @Biblibio – *Hides his Steinbeck under the pillow* Hey!! Get your eyes off 🙂

  2. Me too…

    I’m pretty sure my reaction would have been quite similar on the Steinbeck discovery!

    BTW, have you ever read any Yoshikawa Eiji? (Musashi series and else)

  3. Sorry, I’m going to turn my greedy eyes to Steinbeck…

  4. Mm, second hand book shops. I love the element of surprise, although I find myself lamentably lacking when it comes to “squealing like a girl.” I envy you the W.G. Sebald, which keeps unaccountably vanishing from my mental TBR list. Now firmly re-etched. Thanks!

  5. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    My pleasure, and I agree – the element of surprise, or as I a typical man would put it – the thrill of the hunt.