I love books. Real, physical books. Big books, small books, old books and new books.
And I love visiting unusual bookshops and finding out of print or second-hand books.
On New Year’s Eve I found myself in Leakey’s secondhand bookshop in Inverness; a cavernous old church filled to the gunwales with a smuck of interesting books, maps, prints and the biggest wood-burning stove I’ve ever seen (because it’s cold up North!)
My two ‘finds’ were the debut novel of Violette Leduc, In the Prison of her Skin (or L’ Asphyxie in French), and Doris Lessing’s The Good Terrorist. I was delighted with these two hardbacks and that I found them in the old church bookshop.
I only heard about Violette Leduc after watching the film Violette last year, about her life and the influence of Simone de Beauvoir on her writing (and vice-versa). It was a fascinating tale with glorious attention to detail in terms of the fashions (hats, gloves, dresses, shoes…*swoon*) as well as the interiors of both Violette’s and Simone’s respective rooms/apartments, and of course the iconic backdrop of Paris.
I can’t wait to read all of Violette Leduc’s books.
With Doris Lessing, I’ve got the first two volumes of her autobiography, and am fascinated by the details of her childhood growing up in Africa. I think I’ll come back to these once I’ve read some of her fiction.
And I’ll definitely visit Leakey’s second-hand bookshop again the next time I’m in Inverness; for the books, but also to try out the little cafe that was closed on the day I visited. A little Highland gem!