Book buying in Scotland thus far

You may want to cover your ears if you don’t already know this: I sold off hundreds of my books before I came to Scotland, keeping only two or three dozen. Even for a temporary move, ownership of that sheer volume of books was problematic. I had nowhere to store them.

My daughter was moving, starting adult life in her first apartment, so I struck a bargain: get these to a bookstore, sell them, and that money’s yours. She took a few for herself, but within a few weeks everything else was gone. I’m glad she took all my vintage Penguins, that she appreciated them. I recommended a few classics I think everyone should read, and there were a few other odd volumes she found intriguing.

My personal library is decimated. I was numbed to that a while, but now that the anesthetic’s worn off it’s a little painful. I can’t say I’m rebuilding my library via purchases in Scotland, because I can only buy a very limited number if I’m going to carry or ship them back to the States. Rather, it’s a pacifier while I’m here – place holders on a small bookshelf so I can turn over in bed and see books sitting there. And when I’m gone, they’ll be mementos, my souvenirs from the time I spent here.

Boswell & Johnson, History of Scotland, and Muriel Spark – Scottish author

On the positive side, those Vintage Penguins I love so much are in good supply here in the UK. I’m picking up a few for half the price of buying them back home, then having them shipped to me in the States.

It’ll take a while, but I’d like to build up this part of my library. I’m starting here, picking and choosing which I’m willing to carry home and/or ship to myself just before I leave.

Mental note: buy these a editions a little more heavily. They’re not nearly as easy to find at home.

A few Vintage Penguins bought so far

I’ll probably over-buy, but if I do I can leave the excess with Chris. Good rule of thumb: only stay with friends who are book lovers.

Slight amendment: only be friends with book lovers.

Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing I sold my books. They’re a huge part of my life, but everything could use a good weeding now and then. I can’t focus on the volumes I’m not likely to find again – better off thinking about the ones I’ll buy from here on.

Once I’m home, I’d bet good money a lot of the books I sold will still be sitting on the shelves of the bookstore that bought them. Obscure as my taste is, I doubt many will move.

I’m sure you see where I’m going here. I’m a plane ticket and trip to Ikea away from having some of those books sitting prettily on shelves again, so when I turn over in bed in my new apartment in the States, there they’ll be.

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