Saturday, 27 March 2010

Why I Love Charity Shops

One of the most pleasant ways I've found to fill an hour or so on a Saturday is to browse my way through a handful of charity shops. I would make a conservative estimate and say around 40% of the books I own come from charity shops. I have no issues with pre-owned books (although I know some people prefer brand new books - do you? Can you not bear the bent spines and dog-eared pages of a well-loved book?) I like the warm fuzzies I get from knowing that every book I take home also puts a little cash in the charity coffers. Today I made an admirable haul.

First up, the two R's - Remic and Reynolds. Still not read anything by either of these authors, but somehow managing to collect my way to virtually their whole back catalogue! Any ardent sci fi fans care to comment on these books? Any good? Should I read other books before these i.e. are they part of a sequence?

Next is a neat little triumvirate of titles: The Truth by Terry Pratchett (which fits neatly into a gap I had of his Discworld work); The Warrior Prophet by R Scott Bakker (second volume in the Prince of Nothing trilogy, of which I have the first book) and Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper (book one of the Vampirates series, which just seems like too much fun to miss!)

Here are the other three (all six from the same shop! Good pickings!): The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan (I have read this series before, but have decided to collect again and then review them this time around); 2666 by Robert Bolano (this book is *huge* - I couldn't resist the sheer heft!); and Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgewick (a YA/children's author who is receiving a great deal of buzz at the moment).

And because eight books just isn't enough for this gal, when I wandered into Waterstone's I found myself picking up four more. Hmm, do I really need to sleep? If I don't sleep, maybe I would finish reading the number of books I now own.....?

First up, The Ninth Circle by Alex Bell (read Lex Trent, which I loved, and I'm now curious about her adult work) and Raven Blood Eye by Giles Kristian (I really enjoy historical fiction, and I'm a sucker for the cover on this one and the second in the series)

Lastly, I picked up Blood of the Mantis (the third in the series by Adrian Tchaikovsky - I have the first, second and fourth; I am preparing a read of this series since the guy persists in releasing books ultra quickly! *grin*) and Shogun by James Clavell (recommended frequently and often by Sam Sykes to me as the one piece of non-genre fiction that I really MUST read - so I have now picked it up. It'd better be good!)

Any of the above you particularly interested in? Are there any that you would like to see me review? Comments always very welcome!


  1. I don't know that much about most of those books. I applaud your ability to adopt pre-owned books. I can't bear to do it unless the book is in mint condition or out of print and if I do damage my book while I'm reading it, I have been known to buy a new undamaged copy. It's a disease.

  2. Nice to find another charity shop devotee. I love them, something I inherited from my mother. Before I met my wife (i.e. the young-free-and-single days) I would spend hours on a Saturday driving around all the charity shops in the area. In those days I was generally looking for stuff to flog on ebay (before ebay became crap) to help pay off my hefty post-uni overdraft. These days it is purely for pleasure and most of the items I buy are books, with the occasional DVD or CD for good measure. This morning was a quiet one as I only came home with two books - Mieville's Perdido Street Station (I lent my copy to someone years ago and never got it back) and Matheson's I Am Legend. If the weather is ok think I may take in boot fair tomorrow - always a good place to pick up more books. How my wife despairs!

  3. I too love charity shops and very rarely buy brand new books - my TBR is now almost 900 - yes I know, that is ridiculous - but who cares?
    The majority of these are pre-owned. I adore well loved books, with creasing and crumples. I often wonder who has read and loved the book before me.

  4. I used to love doing the charity shop rounds, but as my tastes have gotten more focused, I've found the charity shops in my neck of the woods only occasionally have anything I'd genuinely like to read. Saying that, as luck would have it, a few days after I got a surprise package in the mail with the second volume of Peter F. Hamilton's Void trilogy, I stumbled across book one in a Shelter - so all hope is not yet lost! :)

    As for your haul, Amanda, I'd love to hear more about this Shogun. To be perfectly honest, I don't even know what it is.

  5. There are always hidden gems to be found in charity shops :-) I regularly check out my local British Heart Foundation one... they put SFF books in the window display!

    I would love to see how you get on with 'Shogun' - an Englishman in 16th century Japan - the culture is so alien, it might just as well be a fantasy novel!

  6. Thanks for all the lovely comments - appreciate you stopping by :-)

    @Patrick - wow, that is hard core! Buying new books to ensure they're all in perfect condition - man, if I did that I'd be constantly re-buying books. Now that you have your Kindle perhaps you won't have the same problem - you'll have to let me know how it works out for you.

    @BookZone - I totally love hitting all the charity shops in one town, especially a new town. I have headed home with 30 books at a time on some memorable occasions and they're so Goddamn cheap!

    @Anne - totally with you on the TBR pile. Mine is stupidly huge and, as you can see from yesterday, just keeps growing :-). I once tried to implement a one in, one out policy but that just upset me!

    @Niall - I'm lucky in that I love a lot of different genres, which means that real gems can be found in most charity shops for me. I intend to bump Shogun up the ranks a fair bit, in terms of when I'll read it. Got a few books to clear first though!

    @Cara - well, you and Sam have been pushing this book onto my radar. For two such different people to both totally love it means that my interest is definitely piqued.

  7. Love 'em too. Nothing better than getting a good find or two or dozen. I'm so addicted I don't think I've ever not found something.

  8. Great haul!!! Wish I had a charity shop like that near me - all I get are books by Catherine Cookson, Patricia Cornwell, with the occasional Stephen King but all old and ones I already have (apart from Ms Cookson, as don't read those).

    I love new books and old books - most of my classics are old hardbacks that I've found in charity shops or boot sales. But I love buying new books too.

  9. I love charity shops too! I'd say 40% of my books come from charity shops and 40% from car boot sales (which are normally cheaper than charity shops!)

    You have a great selection of books there. I read 2666 last year - it is hard going, so I recommend you split it into the five sections, reading one a month. I think it is worth it in the end, but make sure you look up some discussions on the internet as you go along - it really helps to bring it to life.

    I found a copy of Shogun in a charity shop recently too - I'm really looking forward to reading it.