I can’t believe I still haven’t blogged about Bookbarn!!

To celebrate handing in our final coursework, Rob and I drove down to deepest, darkest Somerset (well…just south of Bristol) to visit “the UK’s largest used book warehouse”. It was all a little too exciting, frankly, and I was paralysed on entering the barn rather than tearing about the bookshelves as Rob had predicted. The website claims that they have over five million books. I didn’t count, to be honest, but I can confirm that they have a lot. And they are all catalogued and sorted into an impressive array of subjects, including two separate sections on “Magic – Conjuring” and “Magik – Occult”. So specific…

Rob spent some time in the Transport section (he can’t help it… *giggle*) and then, bravely, endured even longer in the Feminism/Gender Studies section where I got overexcited by a 1970s pamphlet on black lesbian literature – which would have been amazingly useful when I was in my final year at Cardiff – but didn’t buy it. I regret not buying something completely random – and there was a great deal to choose from – but I suppose I was being sensible for once.

My only reservation about the place is that the fiction section (I say section…) was only sorted by the first letter of the author’s surname so Douglas Coupland was next to Angela Carter was next to Albert Camus was next to J.M. Coetzee. Annoying.

Still, I bought the following books – all fiction:

Jane Campion, “The Piano” – Which has been on my “To Read” list for many years.

Shena Mackay, “The Orchard on Fire” – Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be my kind of thing but “Heligoland” – also by Mackay – is a stunning novel so I’m hoping for more of the same from this. She’s also written a book called “Dunedin” which, of course, is a place close to my heart, so I’m going to seek that out next…

Deborah Moggach, “These Foolish Things” – I saw her read from this novel at the Cheltenham Literature Festival a few years ago. I don’t remember a lot about it but I remember it sounding funny and I am trying to develop a collection of novels from the Indian Subcontinent (as evidenced here).

Julie Myerson, “Me and the Fat Man” – Julie Myerson is one of my favourite authors. I wish I’d known about her when I was doing my undergrad degree because she writes so much like a woman, it is striking. I could have said a lot about that at the time. I like the way she writes about sex, particularly… “like an angel brought up in a brothel” according to Ruth Padel. And the fact that her writing is so deceptively simple. I hope this book will be as good as “The Story of You”.

I’ll go back and do the other 24 letters of the alphabet another time…

And Rob and I ate lovely cake and drank tea/coffee and discussed how long I could survive in there should I get locked in. Highly recommended.


6 thoughts on “Bookbarn

  1. Well, you do have a point, Omar. But it just made looking for a particular author impossible. Don’t get me wrong, I like browsing but it was a very, very, very hot day and the fiction is on a mezzanine level in a barn, which made it even hotter…

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