Continuing with my mini bookshop tour of Lincoln, as I came out of the Castle and ventured down Steep Hill I was intrigued by a rather old, medieval-looking building that caught my attention. As soon as I peered into the windows and saw piles upon piles of books stacked into every crevice, including the window sills, I made a quick beeline for the entrance.
I was immediately confronted with precariously tall stacks of books and narrow, winding passages. Although difficult to navigate at first, I soon found the fiction section and contented myself with browsing the titles at a leisurely pace. They had a wonderful selection of secondhand books, many of them vintage or virago classics, though they were priced a bit higher than you would usually find in charity shops. Books ranged from around £4 – £6.
However, I did find a few treasures that I simply could not do without! Firstly, I found a secondhand Persephone (and you should never pass up the opportunity to buy a secondhand Persephone, especially when it still has the bookmark attached!), The Fortnight In September by R. C. Sherriff. I have read his well-known play, Journey’s End, based on the First World War, and seen it performed before. But I have never explored any of his other works. The Fortnight In September, written two years after Journey’s End, returns us to the world ordinary men in the trenches only dreamed of. As R. C. Sherriff describes it himself:
‘The story was a simple one: a small suburban family on their annual fortnight’s holiday at Bognor: man and wife, a grown-up daughter working for a dressmaker, a son just started in a London office, and a younger boy still at school. It was a day-by-day account of their holiday from their last evening at home until the day they packed their bags for their return; how they came out of their shabby boarding house every morning and went down to the sea; how the father found hope for the future in his brief freedom from his humdrum work; how the children found romance and adventure; how the mother, scared of the sea, tried to make the others think she was enjoying it.’
The Fortnight In September, R. C. Sherriff, Pg.vi-vii
The second book I found was a beautiful cover of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, which is on my Classics Club List to read! It tells the story of three people whose lives are entangled and deeply affected by the ‘tyrannical and rigid requirements of high society’.
I then found a beautiful Virago Modern Classics copy of Vita Sackville-West’s All Passion Spent. I already own another novel of Vita Sackville-West’s, The Edwardians, and have been very keen to explore her work. All Passion Spent is set in 1860 and follows the life of an unmarried girl of seventeen who eventually marries and has children. However, she still nurtures the dreams she has had since she was young – that of being an artist – and retires to a small house in Hampstead to live out these dreams, at the behest of her family.
The final book I found, and which I am most excited about, is an old Virago Non-Fiction copy of Angela Carter’s Nothing Sacred, which is a collection of selected writings published in 1982. Essays range from topics on Family Romances, Oriental Romances – Japan, England, Femme Fatales, The Life of Katherine Mansfield and Colette. I can’t wait to read it!