Wednesday, 2 August 2006

This will be my last post for a couple of weeks, as the Wenlock family is about to head off on the Grand Tour, visiting Rome, Florence and Siena, by means of tunnels under the sea, and great horseless carriages running on metal rails.

It was in preparation for this adventure that I dropped in on Mostly Books, in Abingdon, to pick up some holiday reading. I have mentioned Mostly Books here previously, but this was the first chance I have had of visiting, and seeing how Mark and Nicki were doing after exactly a month in business. That's Mark in the picture, and so far he seems to be surviving.

The shop is very pleasant. In addition to the main shelving area (as seen in the photo at the bottom), there is a separate room for children's books, in which children can amuse themselves while their parents browse among the main shelves, and then there is a courtyard at the back, where coffee is served at weekends. The courtyard seems incredibly quiet and peaceful, despite it being right in the heart of a busy town, and near a rather bust street.

Mostly Books is a fairly small bookshop, and cannot carry everything, but I was pleasantly surprised how many of the books on the shelves were ones that I had read and enjoyed. It gave me confidence that I would probably enjoy many of the rest too. In the end I came away with a copy of Umberto Eco's latest, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, which Mark is currently reading himself, and the latest by Judy Astley, Blowing It, not because it has anything to do with Italy, but because she's a friend of mine and I liked the last one of hers that I read. Those two, combined with Sarah Dunant's The Birth of Venus, already on my to-be-read pile, and Mary Hoffman's City of Flowers, which Mostly Books had on stock order but which had not shown up, should keep me going until, well, until the train reaches Rome...

If you are in or around Abingdon, then do go and visit Mostly Books (and tell them that I sent you). Abingdon is a bit of a traffic nightmare, but there are car parks available and, something that I only discovered after parking illegibly on the pavement, there is free motorcycle parking tucked away just behind the bookshop.

I'll be back in just over two weeks, armed with pictures, now that I have a camera that works.


Jan Jones said...

Have a nice holiday, Stephen!

Mark said...

Thanks Stephen - I already posted something on the blog, but have a great holiday.

We do serve coffee during the week too - but poor manners meant I didn't offer you one when you visited!

Gabriele C. said...

Have fun.

If you can find an English translation, you should get your hands on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Italian Journey (sort of a travel diary) and Roman Elegies (erotic poetry). And for the fun of it, Radcliffe's The Italian. :)