Saturday, 7 August 2010

Second-Hand Book Shops

There's something that seems so romantic about a second-hand book shop. All those books that have gone through so many pairs of hands so many times before. They are the exact kind of place, along with old libraries, that I would love to spend more time in. I love the idea of literature, and I'm a big fan of words, and of comfortable old books. There's something about an old book that makes it feel like a long lost friend.

I was in some book shops today in fact, the second-hand kind of course, looking for some of the old classics on the list of books I'm planning to read and to share my opinions on. I love how haphazard they are, and how it's all a treasure hunt really. And although I don't have much experience of them there were a few things I noticed.

It seems, for example, that no shop's collection is complete with out brand-new-looking copy of Dan Brown's novels. A remnant of all that hype, I imagine. Alexander McCall Smith also seems to get around. Perhaps these are modern classics - the ones everyone reads to say they've read them, and then they pass them on. As this idea occurred to me I realised that I'm not reading this list because someone said they are the books I should read - I'm reading because I want to find more books to fall in love with. I already know I love Jane Austen - if I could go back in time I would meet her before Einstein or George Washington or Queen Victoria. That kind of society is where all my day dreams end up - where rich women do "work" which is really just making pretty things for the home, and people go riding, and walking is exercise and everyone has a horse. Obviously this was only for the upper classes, but that's what I've fallen in love with. Don't look down on me too much!

Anyway, today's foray into second-hand world did not see me empty-handed. I picked up a copy of War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy; Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky; David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens; and for some lighter reading, The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (and yes, that is on the list!).

I started War and Peace on the bus on the way home, and it's the longest of the four, so it may be a week or so before my first review. I will be updating about other things as well though, so keep coming back for more!!

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