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Green shoots at Gloucester Green
Is the recession over? I couldn't tell you, but the Gloucester Green market appeared very busy when I dropped in the other day for a pasty and a cup of Darjeeling.
There were plenty of second-hand bookstalls to browse and I noticed a collectable RL Stevenson book about Edinburgh.
Unfortunately my perusing was interrupted by summer showers which made the stall-holders decidedly edgy, so I didn't inquire about the price.
A quick look on eBay showed a similar edition in dustjacket retailing at £48 with a Newcastle book dealer, so the volume was well outside my price range.
Instead, I contented myself with a copy of Geniuses Together: American Writers in Paris in the 1920s, by Oxford author Humphrey Carpenter, who is sadly no longer with us.
The book, written in the 1980s, was republished in the Faber Finds series earlier this year, but I shall make do with the hardback I got from the Central Library.
Carpenter tells the story of Hemingway and other great American writers who gathered in Montparnasse in the 1920s, and after staying recently in the Hotel Concorde in the same area I wanted to have a read.
When I was at the library, I also spent 85p ordering We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light by John Baxter, which I have been meaning to read for a long time.
Baxter's A Pound of Paper, about the dangers of book collecting, is one of my bibles and I would love the meet the author one day, perhaps in the City of Light itself.
I'm thoroughly enjoying The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second instalment of Stieg Larrson's Millennium trilogy, and will no doubt be looking for a copy of the final part, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest.
A copy of Giles Foden's Turbulence has also landed on my desk - I hope I don't make heavy weather of it.
Finally, I have discovered a great website called Bookstore Guide, an amateur guide to book shopping throughout Europe.
Now I have got my new passport, I suspect the site could come in handy.
Even if I can't jet off to Brussels, Bonn or Barcelona immediately, I can plan my trips with military precision.
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