Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Book shopping in charity shops

Sarah Burnett of The Guardian produced a wonderful blog entry yesterday on buying books from charity shops. I found myself smiling and nodding in agreement as I read through it, and indeed, yesterday I have been to my own local Oxfam and bought two treasures - both of which I have devoured already!

The first one I found was a brand new copy of Marquez's Memories of My Melancholy Whores in immaculate condition, and for only 40% of the original price. How could I not? And then, an unexpected delight in the poetry section; I pulled out an old-fashioned little hardback book entitled Great Horses and Gallant Horsemen which, when I flicked through it, turned out to be a trove of horsey poetry complete with beautiful illustrations to accompany most of the poems. I had no idea such an anthology existed, and the copy I picked up was printed in 1988 and looks it, but is in beautiful condition. It is hard to explain, unless you have a passion for horses, but these poems together epitomise everything horse lovers feel about horses and feats of horsemanship - one of the poems made me cry, but another immediately after made me laugh; the poem The Knight's Leap is a great story told in seven short stanzas, and The Arab's Farewell To His Favourite Steed reminded me of the horses I have sold in the past and how I felt about it. I sat in a coffee shop yesterday and read the entire anthology right through, then went back and re-read some of them. Unfortunately, I know this book would be a perfect gift for a friend who runs a racing yard, as most of the poems deal with racing and hunting; only I don't think I can bring myself to part with it!

After I'd done with the poetry, I started on Memories of My Melancholy Whores, and finished it up this morning. It is quite different to the two books by Marquez that I've read before; shorter, more obviously humourous, less complex. I won't go into the details of the story - it is quite short for a novel - but here's an extract I found rather funny and wanted to share.

The only unusual relationship was the one I maintained for years with the faithful Damiana. I remember I was reading in the hamoock in the hallway, when I happened to see her bending over in the laundry room wearing a skirt so short it bared her succulent curves. Overcome by irresistible excitement, I pulled her skirt up in back, pulled her underwear down to her knees, and charged her from behind. Oh Senor, she said with a mournful lament, that wasn't made for coming in but for going out.

1 comment:

Claire said...

I'm going to keep an eye out for the Great Horses and Gallant sounds fabulous! I love browsing through the Oxfam bookstores and have found Book Barn a great source of books I can't find anywhere else!