I was reminded of this week when I picked up my old copy of Antonia Fraser’s Marie Antoinettebiography. My copy of this is worn; tired, quietly greying, and brim full of those blunt edges where the corners have just rounded off over time. But I love it. Every time I pick it up, I’m reminded of the place I got it from: Vaux le Vicomte.
– watched the sun set and drink my drink and have my choccy bar and contemplate becoming a Hobbit for ever.
Another book of mine that has an indelible image slam-printed onto it is my copy of Tom Tackles The Chalet School**. I was studying film production on a short course in Auckland and, on a day off, my friend and I decided to hit Devonport in Auckland. She hit the beach and I nerded out in the bookshops. I had been collecting the Chalet School books for aaaages and they’re not the easiest books to pick up when you’re broke and a thousand other people like you are doing the exact same thing.
I went into a bookshop (which I can’t find on Google now which makes me sad), and it was there.
In. The. First. Bookshop.
A pristine paperback copy of Tom.
In my budget.
Reader, I almost cried.
So yeah, I find books gorgeous. I find them magical and mystical and tear-inducing. My mum has a Dairy Cookbook that was the first cookbook she ever bought and I flick through it and see the recipes I remember from childhood, and the stains and burn marks that pattern my mum learning to cook.
‘Cause with some books, depending on where and how you get them, you don’t just get the one story. You don’t just get the story inside the book.
You get the story of yourself as well***.
* This might be also the perfect point to mention – New Zealand? Love to move back there. Would do so in a heartbeat. So if you’ve got a children’s literature collection, or a library that needs looking after, or a shed that needs squatting in, you let me know yeah?
** Tom Tackles The Chalet School. Oh dudes, this book = amazing. Pash o’clock!
*** Proust. Madeleines. Looky here.