Five Reasons to Visit Used Book shops Instead of Going Online

Used book shop

It’s quick and convenient to buy old books online, but it’s not always the best, or even the most enjoyable way. Here’s five good reasons to make a plan, look away from the screen, (that's right, the one you are looking at right now!) go out, and look for yourself.

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I Ride All Through The Night

Chester signs a bookChester at Ton-Up Day.

(Edited; two photos added)

Mike Sarne wrote in his forward to Johnny “Chester” Dowling’s book Just For Kicks:

“Surely we’re not to blame, me and my red Parlophone 45!..."  (and)  “...Not long after its original release, Chester (illegally I might add) was seen to be tearing around on an old BSA and ‘singing’ (or rather, shouting) my record”

Mike Sarne’s red Parlophone 45 was his 1962 record, Just For Kicks. Here’s the chorus:

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Little Perishers

The Perishers on holidayIn the first panel, L to R, are: Marlon, Maisie, Boot, Baby Grumpling, and Wellington.

I grew up with The Perishers, or rather, I grew up and they didn’t. Like many cartoon characters, they’ve remained the same age ever since the strip started in the Daily Mirror in 1958. I was born in 1959.

The Perishers are some kids and a dog who live in the imaginary South London borough of Croynge. The borough has Victorian streets and bomb sites with dumped prewar cars and other rubbish of interest to kids. One main character, Wellington, lives with the dog Boot in a disused branch line railway station.

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England is Beautiful

The English Lakes front coverThis is one of the earliest guide books in the Beautiful England series that Blackie and Son published from about 1910 until the 1950s.

As far as I can work out, this copy was published in 1911.

There’s a dozen plates of softly coloured watercolour paintings, and a square detail from one painting pasted to the front cover.

Chapters are named for parts of the district; Windermere and Coniston, and Rydal and Grasmere are just two chapters.

It’s not a thick book; there’s only about 60 pages of text. As usual with books this age, the plates are separate and not numbered, so they add another twelve leaves, in a smoother, denser paper and only printed on one side.

The English Lakes Windermere and ConistonWhat prose! Here is one line, concerning the people of Thirlmere and Helvellyn:

“Here were a people, ranging as individuals from peasant to yeoman, to put it roughly; four hundred square miles, say, of freehold farmers, who have never known a landlord since the Crown in the sixteenth century held them as tenants on Border service; a complete democracy among themselves, into whose lives the influence of an aristocracy, as exerted everywhere else without exception in Great Britain, never entered.”

The English Lakes Blackie and Son

I didn’t think you could stack semi colons like that, but the whole book is written like this.

Once I got my head round it, I was fine and enjoyed it.

I was given this book by a woman I did some work for; it was by her front door, ready to go to the charity shop. She must have spotted me as "A Reader".

Much of the information here will be long outdated, but the book is a lovely thing; I’ll be keeping it.

The English Lakes   Described by A.G. Bradley, pictured by Ernest Hazlehurst.