When you buy used books – if you buy used books – do you shop by imprint?
Earlier today, as I rifled through a ‘3 for £1′ table in a local charity shop, I was very aware that I did.
I brought home one or two books simply on the strength of the name and the logo on the spine.
Working from the bottom up:
The Assassin’s Cloak isn’t for me, it’s for the man of the house, who doesn’t read fiction, who loves volumes of letters and diaries. I once hesitated over a rather overpriced hardback copy in another charity shop, lost it and regretted it, so when I saw this copy I pounced.
I remember seeing titles by The Women’s Press alongside Virago Modern Classics in the Silver Moon Bookshop in the early eighties. If I’d known then what I know now, if I hadn’t been a poor student, I’d have bought stacks of them. I’d never heard of Early Spring, or of Tove Ditlevsen, but, as the cover told me that the book was the story of the childhood of one of Denmark’s best loved writers, as I had faith in the publisher, I picked the book up.
The Pandora Press has faded into obscurity, and when I saw the name I recognised it but I couldn’t place it. A little research told me that Pandora published the writings of Victorian women on the 1980s; so I’m pleased to add one of its books to my collections, and even more pleased that I have added four short stories by Elizabeth Gaskell:
The Three Eras of Libbie Marsh
The Well of Pen-Morfa
The Manchester Marriage
There’s what looks like a very good introduction too, but I want to save it for the right moment.
I haven’t read Graham Greene for years and I thought that No Man’s Land – published by The Hesperus Press and containing two shorter works, published in between The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair (which I love) – might be a good place to start again.
I have a copy of Cindie by Jean Devanny, but it was an Australian Virago Modern Classic and I’ve had a very good run of those, because I’ve had because it’s not one I see very often, I thought I should bring it home. I’m hoping to draw someone on this year’s Virago Secret Santa who doesn’t have a copy, but, if I draw someone who does, I know enough Virago lovers to be confident of finding this book a good new home.
I love Tauchnitz Editions! I love that a German publisher published a wonderful range of novels in English over the course of a century, and so I always pick up their books when I spot them.
Here are some of their authors:
Daphne Du Maurier
Margery Sharp …. my copy of ‘Four Gardens’ is a Tauchnitz Edition ….
I know nothing about Lord Belhaven, I now nothing about The Eagle and The Sun, except that it is set in ancient Rome, and I’m not sure it will be my kind of book, but I had to give it a chance.
I think my £2 was very well spent!