My books! My lovely lovely books! Behold the heart of my Temple of Solitude! The left hand side is all Brent-Dyer, and a few Lorna Hills on the bottom. When you’re a book collector, you remember where so many of them came from. It’s almost as important as the book itself.
My Chalet School collection is worldwide. I picked up Tom Tackles the Chalet School in Auckland (hyperventilating that I’d crossed the world to find a book I’d been after for ages), and I picked up my Armada paperback double of Jo Returns and New in Heathrow of all places. Running for a flight, I saw it on the bookshelves and I screeched to a halt. Caroline the Second came from Reading University archives (which I do reccomend if you’re a school story nut, they have some fabulous things there).
An obsession grips you when you’re book collecting. You stare out the child in the shop and will them to PUT THE BOOK DOWN (in my defence I was only twelve). You want to complete the series. You need to do it. And then, once you’ve done it, you move on to the next. You move on to the EJOs, the Angela Brazils and even, in a fit of confused longing, you hit a May Wynne and an Ethel Talbot or two.
(The one on the far right is a very bashed up Abbey Girls compilation which my Grandad once decided to duct tape together. My reaction to this suggestion is not appropriate to be shared).
And, just because I love her, here’s some Angela Brazil. The spines! The way they feature girls with lustrous locks! “Oh jimminy,” expostulated Elizabeth, “These books are just perfection!”