One of the second bookshops I visited in Glasgow was Caledonia Books, just round the corner from Voltaire and Rousseau. Unlike the chaos that ensued as soon as you entered Voltaire and Rousseau, Caledonia Books was very neat and orderly. However, it had a wonderfully quaint and cosy atmosphere to it. With bookshelves that varied from towering to middling heights, books arranged in categories and ordered alphabetically, and old-fashioned carpets on the floor, Caledonia Books was a well-needed respite from the freezing-cold winds of Glasgow. It was almost like stepping into someone’s living room.
Although a bit more expensive than Voltaire and Rousseau as a second-hand bookshop, Caledonia Books had an equally excellent selection to choose from and it was impossible to miss a thing due to the orderliness of the shop. One book I couldn’t leave without (though I tried so hard) was a second-hand Persephone book. It’s always a pleasant surprise when you come across one of these for less than half the price they usually are! The one I found was The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski, which is about a young woman who lies down on a chaise-longue and wakes up imprisoned in the body of her alter-ego ninety years before.
The second book I came across was a winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2008, The Road Home by Rose Tremain. I remember listening to the Woman’s Hour podcast when the judge from that year was discussing the novel as part of the Best of the Best celebrations. It is about a recently widowed, eastern European man who immigrates to London, England, in order to support his family back home. I am hoping to read this before I leave for my next teaching job in Slovakia in the new year, so that I can really make a start on my own personal Women’s Prize for Fiction project.