Personal Updates

Happiness in a Suitcase! Cardiff Book Haul

Remember when I went to the UK for a week and all I could tweet about was food and books? Well, there was a reason! The lovely Lucy – who you can already follow on Twitter for anything on children’s literature and crime fiction – took me second-hand book shopping in Cardiff the three days I was there. One day, we even went into Waterstones three times, much to my embarrassment, and much to Lucy’s delight. But, while I was there I thought: I can get the brand new books that I know about online in Spain, wouldn’t it be better if I used this precious time to browse second-hand book shops? So we did. Here are my purchases:


From top to bottom:

Darkly Dreaming by Jeff Lindsay.- This was actually one of Lucy’s copies of the first instalment in the Dexter series, but she kindly gave it to me when I said – to her surprise – that I had never read any Dexter.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (*) (£3.5).- This book has been hugely popular online for a while now because it contains one of the most unlikable female main characters in the history of modern literature. Can’t wait to see what I make of her.

The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell (£1 ).- When O’Farrell’s latest novel came out some weeks ago, most bloggers who know me pretty well and who have amazing taste in literature were surprised I had never read of her works. I thought of starting with the latest, This Must Be the Place, but Naomi suggested I gave The Hand that First Held Mine a try first. Couldn’t belive it when I found it for one pound.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (*) (£3.5).- Again, yet another well-known and respected author whose works I have never read. This one comes highly recommended to me for the crime fiction elements on the story.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie (£2).- This book came out this year, and I found my copy – slighlty damaged, but with the text intact – at the W&H clearance section. I first heard about McKenzie’s book on Twitter referenced as the new Bernadette.

Women, Health, and Medicine by Agnes Miles (£4).- I was not looking for this book, but I found it at the Oxfam shop and a few chapters seem to perfectly fit my thesis. It was published in 1990 and it covers women as doctors, as well as women as patients, and how gendered the medical practice actually is.

I really, really enjoyed all the book browsing and book shopping not only because it is quite difficult to find good books in English in Spain, but because we have a 21% tax imposed on them, and the only legal discount applied to books is 5%. Imagine my happiness at finding books so cheap!

The books marked with (*) were purchased at TroutmarkBooks, a second-hand book buying and selling shop in the Castle Arcade. They have a wonderful selection of anything from contemporary novels to farming books, all arranged alphabetically by the author’s name. Their general fiction and crime fiction selection is mostly priced between £2.5 £3.5, and they even have Palgrave academic books for £20, when their usual price is up to £150. If you are ever in Cardiff, I highly recommend you spend a few hours browsing TroutmarkBooks, and if you are travelling make sure you leave extra space on your suitcase for the books!

(C) Cardiff Arcades
TroutmarkBooks – (C) Cardiff Arcades

The stationery offer in the UK is quite impressive as well, and I found the perfect planner for the 2016 – 2017 academic year – starting 1st August, ending 31st July – at The Works. Of course, it is pink:


And last, but no least, I found a border collie cuddly toy at Hamley’s that stole my heart – and my brother’s and my mother’s – and helped me cope with my dog-less days. But, again, I had no space left, and it was quite expensive at £20. (But look at that face! It shall me mine!).


All I can say is that I had the best of times, and I owe Lucy and her partner a lot for making me feel at home all the time and spoiling me rotten for three days. She even taught me to cook scrambled eggs (UK version!). Cardiff is now my second home and I can’t wait to go back as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I have all these books to keep me entertained.



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