adventures, books & creative lifestyle.

Book Haul feat. James Baldwin

vivatramp lifestyle blogs uk book blog secondhand book haul


A few weeks ago, one of my best friends came over for a festive weekend of gift swapping, snacking and Making A Murderer-watching. After a pretty hefty Saturday morning lie in, we decided to head out into the arse end of nowhere and do a bit of secondhand book shopping at one of my favourite places to buy secondhand books. It's the sort of place that you need to allocate at least a couple of hours for and it definitely requires a bit of limbering up prior to browsing in order to undertake that weird tilted-head-shimmy that comes with browsing multiple bookcases. After about half a decade, we both left with a pile of books each - mine balanced awkwardly in my arms, hers handed to her in a Hollister bag. What a day. 

uk book blogs vivatramp secondhand book haul go tell it on the mountain james baldwin

go tell it on the mountain by james baldwin 
Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves. 

I tend to make a point of browsing the 'B' section of every secondhand bookshop that I frequent for all of the James Baldwin that I can find because his work comes highly recommended by just about everybody. I own Another Country in a similar edition but I have yet to sample any of his work as of yet - I'm making 2016 the year that I do so. 

raymond carver cathedral secondhand book haul

cathedral by raymond carver 
Raymond Carver's third collection of stories, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, including the canonical titular story about blindness and learning to enter the very different world of another. 

I seem to be averaging a Carver collection per year so this is my installment for 2016. Can we just take a moment to appreciate just how me this cover is aesthetically?! The pinks, the blues, the greys. I don't know anything about any of the stories in this collection but that's how I like it. 

james baldwin uk book blogs vivatramp

going to meet the man by james baldwin

"There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it". The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin,  detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their head above water.

I let out an audible gasp when I pulled this book from the shelves. What a cover! I didn't actually realise that Baldwin also wrote short stories, so this is quite the welcome revelation. I know this probably isn't the place to start with his writing, simply because everyone raves about his novels, but I think I may ease myself in with this collection. 

uk book blogs vivatramp
the new york trilogy by paul auster 
Paul Auster's signature work, The New York Trilogy, consists of three interlocking novels: City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room; haunting and mysterious tales that move at a breathless pace of a thriller. 

I've heard Zoe and Matthew from WeLiveForBooks discuss Paul Auster on a number of occasions so I threw this into my basket without too much of a second thought. I haven't  read much within the thriller genre for a while now so I'm really looking forward to picking this up. 

secondhand book haul uk book blogs

dream story by arthur schnitzler
A novella that tells how through a simple sexual admission a husband and wife are drive apart into rival worlds of erotic revenge. 

I'm not entirely sure where I heard about this novella, maybe in a theory class at university, but it's a pretty pivotal piece of fiction within the erotic genre and I thought it'd make for an interesting read - if only to see what was classed as pretty scandalous at the time of writing. I have since read it and enjoyed it -- my full review will follow later this month. 

the member of the wedding carson mc cullers book haul

the member of the wedding by carson mccullers 
With delicacy of perception and memory, humour and pathos, Carson McCullers spreads before us the three phases of a weekend crisis in the life of a motherless twelve-year-old girl. Within the span of a few hours, the irresistible, hoydenish Frankie passionately plays out her fantasies at her elder brother's wedding. Through a perilous skylight we look into the mind of a child torn between her yearning to belong and the urge to run away. 

Another pale blue modern classic to add to my ever growing collection! I have yet to read anything by Carson McCullers but I've heard people discuss her writing at length so I thought I'd hop on the bandwagon. This isn't exactly her most popular work, sure, but it's as good a place to start as any. 

secondhand book haul vivatramp

heartease by lorna goodison

Goodison's third poetry collection. 

The poetry section is always a breeding ground for basket-fodder and this trip was fruitful. I had never heard of Goodison prior to pulling this off the shelf but on reading a couple of the poems and reading up on her bio, I decided to make it mine. Goodison is a leading West Indian poet and scholar and I'm happy to have discovered her in the dingy poetry aisle. I have also read this already - review, as ever, to follow.

browning the penguin poets vivatramp uk book blog secondhand book haul

selected poems by browning 
I don't know whether I have ever actually read Browning's poetry. I probably have - when you study a creative degree you tend to read a lot of different poets and they tend to all melt into one - but I can't recall any specific titles. If I'm honest, I just really like collecting these old Penguin editions because I am a sucker for a good print.

william blake poetry uk book blog vivatramp

selected poems by william blake 
A minute's silence for this cover, please. Hnngh! Again, I just absolutely adore these editions. I have, however, definitely read Blake's poetry but I haven't actually read anything outside of the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience so it should be interesting to read his work outside of that. 

jean rhys

good morning, midnight by jean rhys 
In 1930s Paris, where one cheap hotel room is very like another, a young woman is teaching herself indifference. She has escaped personal tragedy and has come to France to find courage and seek independence. She tells herself to expect nothing, especially not kindness, least of all from men. Tomorrow, she resolves, she will dye her hair blonde. 

As you probably know, I read Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea earlier this year and wasn't exactly enamoured. However, I know lots of people that adore her writing and so I have decided to pick up some of her works that stand alone away from other bits of literature that I may have read in the past. 

If you'd like to scroll through all of my book blog posts then you can. Or, alternatively, you could just flick through my book hauls instead.



  1. What a curious and exciting collection! Enjoy : )


    Faded Windmills

  2. I don't think I've actually read any of these books. That's one of the things I love about secondhand bookstores - you're sure to find treasures that you might not have picked up otherwise.

  3. I looooove secondhand books! The Blake cover is beauuuutiful. Happy reading!!

    Jess xo

  4. Second hand book shops are one of my favourite places to go, you find some real treasures! Looks like you found some really interesting books x

  5. I am in love with the cover of the Browning collection, so gorgeous! I wish I read more poetry and have always struggled with it but your posts makes me think I might be missing out!
    Also, I love second-hand bookshops but I haven't found one where I live now. Need to go on the hunt for one!

  6. The Browning and Blake collections have such gorgeous colours! Some really interesting sounding novels here :)

  7. Haven't read any of these so thanks for adding to my ever growing wish list!
    Lucy xoxo

  8. thanks for this, I just have one question. How do you stay consistent with reading? I get easily distracted lately, and I can't seem to stay awake when I read books, even when they're interesting. I love books, and I love reading but I just can't get myself to focus.

  9. I buy a lot of second hand clothes, but I'd never actually thought of buying second hand books before. I may have a browse next time I'm in a charity shop!

    The Velvet Black | UK Style & Beauty Blog

  10. I love buying second hand books!
    Love your pics too, very good!

  11. OMG. JAMES BALDWIN IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE WRITER OF ALL TIME AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ HIS BEAUTIFUL MAGICAL WORDS AND HOPEFULLY YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH HIS WORK. I was lucky enough to study an entire module dedicated to Baldwin last semester so I'm very much obsessed! He was a true wizard with words.


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