We’ve just had a lovely week in Cornwall – Matthew visited the Isles of Scilly for a few days of fantastic birdwatching in the middle of the holiday while I saw friends and had reading and relaxing time, and I managed to get to Penzance, Newlyn, St. Ives, St. Just and up to Chapel Carn Brea, which is the last hill in the West, with the sea on three sides.
Of course I visited a few independent and second-hand bookshops and of course I picked up a few books – so here is some information about the lovely bookshops and interesting books I picked up. I’ve included links to the bookshops which you are free to pursue if you wish, to say thank you to them for being there and being fab (of course, no one asked me to do this).
The Edge of the World Bookshop on Market Jew Street in Penzance was my first port of call. This is an independent bookshop with a lovely range of titles which are packed into its small space, but it never seems crowded. They have everything you’d expect from a general bookshop: fiction, new releases, local interest, mind-body-spirit, history and travel, with some lovely cards, too. I picked up “The Man Who Made Things out of Trees” here, a book about a man who sets out to use all of the wood in a tree to make stuff, with help and a bit of history, of course.
Next is a bookshop I didn’t actually by anything in – but I will next time – Barton Books. This small and new bookshop (it only opened in March 2016) on Causewayhead at the other end of Penzance from Edge of the World has the most beautiful selection of art and design books plus really lovely quality children’s books and a huge selection of cards. They also have a box of Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers on the counter – what’s not to love? Art and high-quality children’s books are a bit large to cram into a protesting suitcase unfortunately, but I promised to spread the news of this lovely shop. Note the shadow of PALM TREES in the photo. I always get excited when I see palm trees.
Next, I went with my friend Liz to the wonderful Cook Book Bookshop in St. Just. We got there via this amazing place:
This is Chapel Carn Brea, with the sea on three sides, and that’s Liz, clinging to the map in the high winds. Incidentally, Liz has just started a wonderful new blog at The Lane of Evening Lingerings on Nature, Gardening and Life. I suggest you visit!
The Cook Book Bookshop is that lovely thing, a cafe and bookshop. There are lots and lots of enticing second-hand books upstairs and a great cafe downstairs. I bought four books here, two were for presents (Matthew loved his 1969 Birds of Britain and Europe) and I picked up Diana Mosley’s “A Life of Contrasts” and Jools Holland’s “Barefaced Lies and Boogie-Woogie Boasts” for myself. A good cup of tea and a cake / tea-cake each and we were suitably reinforced to go back up and over to Penzance!
The last bookshop I visited was Newlyn Books on Chapel Street in Penzance. You can’t see them here, but I was lured in by the sight of lots and lots of orange Penguin spines peeking through the door. I was amazed to find a SIGNED Francis Brett Young here – “Whiteladies”, in the lovely Shropshire Pear edition and had to snap it up even though it’s a substantial volume and not the best to transport home in a suitcase. Who wouldn’t, though?! Newlyn Books have loads of Penguins and Pelicans as well as a general stock of good, old-fashioned second-hand stuff, including a Cornish section and an art area. Apparently, Matthew had spotted it a few times as we walked up that street and ushered me past each time!
And finally, I can’t forget the many charity shops of Penzance. I live on a High Street with lots of charity shops myself, but it’s always worth looking at other people’s! This was the first day I was on my own, when I was relatively restrained. Market Jew Street is one of the main streets in Penzance (I ran down here on Wednesday morning after moving inland from the sea front and wheeeeee!) and has a good mix of high street shops, independents and cafes.
This is my “relatively restrained” selection from these charity shops. Who could resist a slightly torn-covered (it’s “The Riddle of Cliff House”) 1950s girls’ school story from the 1950s, one of those oh-so-pretty Bloomsbury reissues, a book from your wishlist or another book on running? Not me!
So, that’s a quick run-down of the bookshops of Penzance and St. Just that I visited, and a somewhat large book confession. Fortunately, I read three books while I was there, giving two to the aforementioned Liz and leaving one plus another I discarded (I didn’t really take to that Hazel Holt cosy mystery), leaving me with PLENTY of room in my suitcase.
Have you read any of these? What have you been up to while I’ve been away? Any confessions of your own?