I don’t know how it’s never occurred to me to do a blog on Bookends before, because it is truly one of my favourite shops in Northern Ireland; but I have been struggling to start (and more importantly finish) blogs these days, so I’ve been digging in the very hidden recesses of my brain for inspiration.
Also, I was there today, so I am feeling super inspired and babbley. Shut up, it’s a word.
Anyway, Bookends is a very hidden treasure, tucked away down the side of Bangor train station. That’s Bangor, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland…in case any of you are from Outer Mongolia and there happens to be a Bangor there, too. Or Wales. There’s a Bangor in Wales.
You’re welcome for the valuable trivia.
Back on topic; it’s a second hand book shop. The greatest second hand book shop I have ever been in, and trust me, I have been in many. I venture here about twice a year, but today was hands down the most successful visit I’ve ever been on. I GOT SO MUCH STUFF.
And then I made my wonderful other half carry my very heavy bag of books back to the car. I am a lady, I don’t do no carrying.
I can’t really tell you about their stock, because there are many, many, many books, in all imaginable genres, and I only ever really make a bee-line for the Fantasy section…also, it changes A LOT. I can tell you that the shop itself is like something off TV; Black Books really does come to mind, but the staff are much nicer and less likely to scream at you in a drunken rage. Much less likely, I’m sure. Both the owner and his bearded colleague were happy enough to help us dig through PILES of books and comics to find something that suited us, and oh, did I find stuff.
We stumbled in on a good day, too – 50% off loads of different genres (including Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and comics for 50p! 50-freakin’-pence!
Bearing that in mind…here’s what I came away with on this particular visit.
I am a huge David Eddings fan (go read The Belgariad!) and this giant, GIANT book was only £5…minus the 50% from the sale. Wow, right? The teeny picture below is to give you some idea of just how big it actually is. Glorious, but maybe not one for reading on the train. Shoulder ache.
As much as I love David Eddings, my heart will always truly belong to Raymond E. Feist. I quite own a lot of his books, but being the literary hoarder that I am, I figured I might as well start aiming for a full collection of magical and wonderful works.
The eagle eyed among you may have glanced your eyes over the last picture there and noticed ‘Gosh, you have books one, two and four, how silly of you!’, but they didn’t have book three and I can’t turn down a bargain (£1.50 each, including discount, I think). If you happen to come across ‘Rage Of A Demon King’, make a girl’s day and send it this way?
Oh, that rhymed. Neato.
Similar situation here, book two of two, and I don’t own book one…but see that little sticker on the front there?
OH YEAH! Now, I know it’s not actually worth any money, given it’s not a first edition and isn’t in marvellous condition, but it’s a sentimental thing, really. I’ll enjoy owning it and showing it off to people who appreciate my Feist collection.
Like, erm, my Dad.
Finally, I got myself Hannibal Rising, but I reckon the boyf. will get in there before I do. I’m addicted to the Hannibal television series, although I was never a Thomas Harris fan before! Just finished Red Dragon, I couldn’t put it down. I did call in to find Silence Of The Lambs, but it wasn’t there. That’s my excuse for the giant book haul.
As well as books, I had a good rifle through the stacks of comic books that Bookends had to offer. The lovely gentleman working there had me pre-warned that these stacks have been rifled through a lot – but I wasn’t really looking for anything of real worth, just little things that would appeal to my odd collection.
If you are a Marvel fan, get yourself down there- they had boxes upon boxes of Avengers and Mighty Thor…but alas, I would not know where to start with any of these titles, and I’m trying (and failing) to devote myself and my budget to my love of Batgirl.
Oh, also Uncanny X-Men. So many mutants.
These are the comics that I did get. IS THE PICTURE BIG ENOUGH? HUH? Two from the mid-Eighties and one from 2001. Again, nothing I really collect, but these were all the Detective Comics that they had, and for 50p each, I didn’t want to leave them there to gather dust and never know the love of a real home.
Side note: check out the chick on the top issue there…Nocturna. Apparently, her only real reason for becoming a villain was that her skin was slightly paler than that of your average human being. She’s still got nothing on me.
Before this starts to get too long and babbley (still a word), I’ll wrap this up. If you are looking for a nice little day trip, Bangor is well worth it. Some parts of the town look like they exist somewhere out of time and space (could do with a dab of modernization, is all I’m saying), but there’s this incredible little book cave, a brand new shiny CeX and the freakin’ Pickie Park.
They’ve done the Pickie Park up loads since I was a kid. I had a go on a pedalo swan, but I think it’s maybe more for little children. That’s not to say it’s not a whole bunch of fun.
Off to settle down now to read one of my lovely new books…they have that great second-hand, pre-loved smell. Get to Bangor before the weather turns and freezes the marina into a giant iceberg of misery. It’s well worth your time.
I have a huge amount of home town pride, so I was particularly happy to wander around Lisburn today (with very little currency to my name), and discover that there are literally truckloads of geeky bargains to be had.
I am completely broke and bought nothing, but hey, plenty of ideas for my birthday.
November 14th. Just saying.
Without further ado, I give you, Lisburn, City For Geeks.
First up – The Works (it used to be Bargain Books…it’s nicer now).
The DC Comics Year By Year Chronicle! (They have Marvel and Star Wars, too).
Batman: The World Of The Dark Knight. I don’t have this, yet. I stress, ‘yet’, because it looks amazing. Everything with Batman on the front cover looks amazing.
Not particularly geeky, but with Halloween just around the corner, I thought these could be a nice starting point for an easy costume. Don’t say I never try to help you.
Santa used to bring me an annual every year when I was little, do you think if I ask real nice, he’ll bring me this one this year?
Moving on from the works, next up is TK Maxx, the happiest shop on earth. Okay, so you have to dig for anything you want, but good lord, it is satisfying walking out of there with a bargain. The store in Boucher Crescent is by far the best, but Lisburn is a close second, in my experience.
I have gotten so many amazing collectibles in these stores, for at least half the price of Forbidden Planet or online. It is one of my real joys in life.
Click on that picture…you’ll thank me, promise. Under £4 as well, score.
Ok, again, not 100% geeky, but how awesome!? Halloween spaghetti! I’m going to have to go back and buy this, I can’t stop thinking about it.
I am a nightmare for buying mugs I don’t need, and TK Maxx is far too much temptation in this department. This Thunderbird mug would make a great Christmas present for most Dads, and it’s only £3, which is great, if you don’t love your parents as much as you love your money.
So, begrudgingly leaving TK Maxx and dragging myself out into the cold, to the wonderful calm and quiet of Waterstones. Not budget friendly, I know, but look how cute this book is! Their array of graphic novels and other oddities is quite good, too, and the staff are lovely.
That last point matters a lot to me – I have worked in retail a long time, I know that most people are idiots, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to attempt to smile at them.
Next up, back into the mall for the mecca of all budget shoppers in Lisburn – Primark. I know, I know, everyone ends up with the same cheap things, but you know what? Shut up, I love Primark. Licensed Superman/Batman gear for a tenner? Of course I’m going to defend that.
Unfortunately, the men’s department is much, much cooler than the majority of the women’s ranges, so I usually shop there. Does this make me a cross-dresser? I do not care.
Urm, I do draw the line at men’s pants, though. I don’t wear those.
I feel like I’m dragging this out a bit, but I’m just so happy with how many things I found in my own tiny little city. Plus, I didn’t buy anything, so really, I’m showing you things you want, and telling you where they are. I’m like, a charity worker.
Anyway, Primark is definitely worth a look in at the moment, even just for the entertaining onesies. They have the Hulk, and skeletons. Cheap Halloween options, and if you get so drunk you can’t move, fine, because you’re all ready for bed!
And finally, to the actual women clothes. I’ll try not to rant too much, but I was not happy. I found a really cool Batman tshirt (which wasn’t made of that cheap plastic print stuff, and wasn’t more than £10), and they only had size 6. Unamused. Considered squeezing into it – but if I wanted to look like the Hulk, I would’ve just bought the onesie.
They had geeky comfy wear, too, in the form of some nice Supergirl lounge pants. I liked them, but I resent and sulk over the fact that Supergirl is all pink and diamonte, and favoured by the gum-chewing mouth-breathers of Lisburn. Oh, damn.
Anyway, I feel like I’ve gone on for far too long – but go forth, and shop, and be merry.
If you ever, ever see anything in Lisburn that you are thrilled and surprised to see, take a picture and share it! I am always looking to add to my house full of stuff and nonsense, and I am rarely in the mood to look very hard.
I think I might go back into town in the morning, though…I’m still after that stripey pasta.