Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Part 1, Forest Hill

Since people very sensibly decline to lose all their money by opening a bookshop–secondhand or otherwise–in the vicinity of Brockley SE4, I’ve decided to undertake a desultory survey of what the local charity shops have to offer.  My first investigation took me to Forest Hill SE23.

The Red Cross shop at 6 London Road was the only one I could call readily to mind.  It turned out to have say 11 shelves of books, say 450 volumes in all.  I noticed about 6 titles that I would have bought if I hadn’t already read them.  I came nearest to buying The Child that Books Built by Frances Spufford, but at £1-50 it was rather expensive for the condition (heavily tanned pages).

Then completely by chance I came across the Aldlife shop at 81-83 Dartmouth Road.  I didn’t know there was a charity shop there and I didn’t know there was such a thing as adrenoleukodystrophy either.  Anyway, the shop had about 800 books, excluding the separate children’s section.  It also had a nice polished wooden floor to sit on while looking at the books.  There was one copy of Atonement (as against two in the Red Cross and a couple of interesting-looking books in German (surely you should have German books in Forest Hill).  The nearest I came to buying anything was The Richness of Life, a selected Stephen Jay Gould in one volume for £1–but it had too much bulk and too little content that was new to me.

Finally I visited the Sue Ryder shop at 30/32 London Road.  I knew the shop was there, but I’ve never been sure of the difference between Sue Ryder and Ann Summers.  This one had 10 shelves of books, say 400 volumes in all, and the shelves were equipped with speakers relaying music loud enough to stop me concentrating.  There were quite a few books in the might have bought category–it looked like someone from Try Books! must have been taking their discards there.  The nearest I came to came to buying anything was Self Help by Edward Docx at £ 3-95 for a bulky hardback (I think paperbacks were £ 1-45).  On further inspection, I found a shelf of travel guides hidden away beneathe the displаy of DVDs in another part of the shop.  No Ian McEwan this time, but plenty of Ngozi Adichie Chimamanda.  Like the Red Cross, this shop had a sign up saying they wanted more stock.

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