Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wild Swans


Nige tells of some extraordinary finds in an Oxfam bookshop, including a book about certified morons.

But here's one that's been bugging me for years. Have you ever been into a charity shop which didn't have on display at least one copy of Wild Swans by Jung Chang?

12 comments:

malty said...

Or the workshop manual for a 1962 Hillman Minx. The wife's theory is that the staff cherry pick and leave the duff stuff for the punters, arrived at by minute observation of what she gives them v what appears in the shop.

worm said...

haha so very true!! very well spotted - does that mean good or bad things for the author involved?

Brit said...

Good question, Worm. I suppose it means she sold a lot, but that people aren't bothered about keeping it. It's also a woman's book and looks like a quality read - perfect charity shop fodder. Not read it myself.

Willard said...

Apparently it's very long and reads even longer. I suspect the first ten pages are well thumbed and the rest immaculate. I will check the next time I'm in Oxfam.

ghostofelberry said...

That and Peter Hoeg's "Miss Smilla's Sense for Snow". i think people buy Hoeg's book thinking it was a thriller then give up when they realise it's licherary.

My ambition is to write a novel that people will buy en masse, thinking it's a rip-roaring yarn and page-turner, when in fact it's dull and torpid and hopeless. i can manage the dull and torpid and hopeless part, just not the fooling people part.

ghostofelberry said...

"thinking it is a thriller" i meant, i changed tense but forgot to edit thoroughly.

The word verification is "normo", enticingly suggestive of...well, it's a family blog so...

Susan said...

Brit - "a woman's book"?! Seem to recall having this book years ago, though can't remember if I read it. Not sure what I did with my copy ...

martpol said...

Nice observation, Brit. The other Oxfam-botherering authors, more broadly, seem to be Tony Parsons, Stephen King and Dick Francis. And it is virtually impossible to find any music one might actually want in a charity shop, with Busted dominant in that department.

(I was going to comment on your post about Straw Dogs, which I think is superb though admittedly flawed. But my brain is not operating on a high enough plane right now.)

Gaw said...

If I were to write an inter-generational saga, I would call it 'Wistful Pigeons'.

worm said...

Elberry - But 'miss smilla' starts off all kind of licherary and then decends into a rubbish, Dan Brown style mess about secret meteorites and head burrowing worms and things..

I would like to add that the oeuvre of Sophie Kinsella, Arabella Weir and Kathy Lette is always to be found on my local charity shop shelves, and in the hardback section, there's always a copy of 'Catch a Fire', the autobiography of Mel B

Stephen said...

Not only is Wild Swans found in second hand book shops but I saw an abandoned copy lying on a chair in a hospital waiting room two weeks or so ago. There seemed something tragic about the hard and hearfelt work of June Chang being tossed aside but I didn't pick it up and have a read.

The hospital was the Wansbeck Hospital in Ashington if anyone's after a copy, it's probably still there.

Outa_Spaceman said...

I can type with some insight here, having worked as a stock-collector for Help The Aged...

The book mentioned did turn up with alarming frequency but it's my no means one of the most donated items...
The top two are:

01) The Foot-Spa
02) The Full Monty (on VHS)

I still have a picture in my mind of some old dear enjoying an evening of guilty pleasure, her feet in the bubbling foot-spa and watching a bunch of ex-steelworkers jigging about in the buff...
The following morning all the evidence is bundled into a charity bag and no one's any wiser...

O.S.M.