York is a lovely city, although it took me a while to find my way around. It's full of history and narrow lanes, with so many little independent shops and cafes. Particular highlights were the Minster Gate bookshop, which had so many interconnected rooms of second-hand and discounted books. My best friend and I have a theory that these sorts of second-hand bookshops are connected by some sort of "L-Space," and if you take a wrong turning you might end up in another bookshop in a faraway town. It was that sort of bookshop. I also fell head-over-heels in love with the Little Apple Bookshop, which is only small, but packed full of interesting things, quirky books, funny and geeky gifts, postcards and badges and more. The staff were really friendly. Laura, there was a lot of Moomin merchandise there - in fact, there was a lot of Moomin stuff all over York!
My favourite cafe was called Lucky Days, which made the most delicious butterscotch toffee cake, and had an unusual loyalty scheme: you can have your own mug and personalised hook on the wall, and with your loyalty card, if you roll a six, your cake costs only £1. I was rather sad to admit I was only in town for a couple of days, so wouldn't be able to take them up on the offer, but what a lovely idea!
Of course I bought a few books in York, but I kept it down to three, so that I could go mad when I met up with Ellie and Hanna. From the Minster Gate bookshop, I bought Jo Walton's What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton, a very appropriate book after the rereadathon, as it is all about Walton's rereading of classic science fiction and fantasy books. From the Travelling Man comic book store I bought Through The Woods by Emily Carroll: a collection of sinister fairy tales in graphic novel format, and from the Little Apple bookshop, I came away with The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, which is what it says on the cover: one- or two-sentence stories, illustrated, that make you stop and think. A lot of them are poetry as much as story.
On the Saturday, I took the train over to Chesterfield to meet up with Ellie and Hanna and, of course, hit the bookshops and everywhere else that sold books. I'd met Ellie before, a couple of years ago, when she had her shop in Bakewell, but it was great to have her on the other side of the counter going quite mad with the book-buying. I am in awe! Hanna, too, is lovely and so much fun to go shopping with. I've met a few bloggers this year for the first time, and they're exactly the same in person as you'd expect after getting to know them through their blogs and other online places (in other words - awesome people!)
|Picture nicked from Hanna's Instagram as I left my camera behind|
and forgot to charge my phone the night before. Silly Katie.
We found a bookstall in the market, which, as well as selling the usual second-hand paperbacks, also had some books so new and in good condition that they couldn't possibly be used copies. Stephen King's Mr Mercedes was only £2.50. 2.50!!! I had been resisting this since its paperback release - only about a month ago - as I've already got three unread Stephen Kings, and had even ignored the various half-price offers I'd seen on it, but £2.50 was too ridiculous. So of course I bought it. Hanna also handed me The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne, which was my train read back to the Isle of Wight - a really cosy, feel-good novel, a romance but not overly mushy, with people and settings that feel real and homey.
We took various cake breaks in town, and I introduced Ellie to the CEX store, which she had never been into before. That is where I tend to get most of my box sets from nowadays: they sell second-hand DVDs as well as cameras and other technical stuff, and if I don't know if I'm going to like a film or series but want to check it out, CEX is the place to go! And I came out with three seasons of The IT Crowd as well as the new film Pride which Den of Geek has been raving about.
We ended up at the Waterstone's store, where I bought myself a new copy of Good Omens in the fancy new hardback edition. I also picked up Tigerman by Nick Harkaway, which I remembered someone fangirling about online when it was new. With my "read three, buy two" rule for 2015, that left one more book to choose, but there were so many possibilities I couldn't decide. Should I go for the next Geek Girl book, or a thriller, such as Disclaimer? Or maybe some non-fiction, or one of the book club choices? In the end I decided to go for The Peripheral by William Gibson, which Hanna drew my attention to with a comparison to Ready Player One, which I loved.
With my seven books, (or ten, if you include the ones from York) I was actually the most restrained person in the group. Apparently we got some strange looks in the cafe when we piled up our purchases on the table! Still, ten extra books were quite enough to try to pack into my suitcase for coming home to the Isle of Wight.