Do you ever go to your bookshelf to pick up a particular book and realise with sudden shock that you don’t own it?
Well perhaps it has never happened to anyone else but it happened to me today. I wanted to skim through Pride and Prejudice to check something. Note: I wasn’t even going to read it because I’ve read it so many times, I just wanted to check a detail. I was sure I owned it. If anyone had asked me this morning which Austen books I own, I would have listed it. But then, as I tried to recall the physical book I realised that I’d read several different copies of it: one a large print from the library, one a small print from the library, one on my kindle* and one on wikisource. How had this happened? More importantly, how was this not the first time this had happened? A few months ago I looked for Ender’s Game and realised I didn’t own a copy of that either.
So I’m going to make a list of books that I should own – books that everyone should own – and that I think I own but actually I don’t.
Pride and Prejudice
Anyone got any other suggestions?
*Yes, I’m aware that owning a book on kindle is one form of owning a book but I like to own books in physical format too.
I never go in to a library and pick up what I expected to when I walked in.
On my most recent trip I grabbed some Diana Wynne Jones, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman and (the one planned novel) a Teen Power Inc book by Emily Rodda.
The strangest pick of the bunch was the Neil Gaiman book, (well, “graphic novel”): one of the Sandman series. I knew these were what had made Gaiman famous but I’d never really thought of reading them. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Asterix and Tin Tin while growing up (ok, I still do), but that’s been about the limit of my comic book/ graphic novel intake.
Well, anyway, it was fantastic. It was fun and funny and exciting and mysterious and now I want them ALL. That’s the problem with picking up one book in a series… You get hooked and then have to search the world for each and every episode. But the characters were fascinating, I enjoyed having pictures while I was reading and it was a nice change from my normal reading habits.
The other three novels I had already devoured when I was somewhere in the vicinity of late primary school and it is interesting to go back and read them just to note how much I have changed.
They are three very different books and even back then I knew that parents, teachers and librarians had a ranking system in their minds regarding which were “better”. I have it now, too, but I didn’t back then. Back then, I loved the words of Lemony Snicket, I loved his cleverness and his characters. I loved the worlds of Diana Wynne Jones and her imagination. I loved the high-stakes adventures of Emily Rodda’s gang and the way she told me that no two people are the same.
I only saw the things that held my attention. If a book was good enough in one aspect it didn’t matter if it was lacking in others.