Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Books and Other Things

This is a book family. Everywhere I look I see books, big ones, small ones, old ones, new ones. Some quite arcane ones too full of mystery and magic. I had a Celtic spell some years back and King Arthur and Merlin smile at me from my Arthurian shelf. But since I moved here to the West Midlands, I am surrounded by magic and beauty and the longing for distant realms which I had in London has been assuaged. So I don't look at those books anymore. All the same, I won't part with them. They are filled with such beautiful pictures. Images and books should go together in my opinion. That's why modern books are such a bore. They have no pictures.
The Victorians got it right. That was a period of some of the loveliest book illustration there ever was.
Back in the late forties, my Dad, who had an eye for books himself and collected them avidly, bought me an illustrated Arabian Nights. I loved this book so much. It was a large one and the pictures were uncoloured etchings. I coloured some in myself and gazed and copied and dreamed with this book so much that the covers fell off. We were always on the move in my youth and eventually during one move or another the book was lost. (Or Ma threw it away, which is more like it) Now I really regret that I misused this beautiful Victorian book so badly. It's worth a bomb now. I saw it in an Antiquarian bookshop and had a hell of a shock.
But I loved it so much. And in the end what are books for but to give joy and pleasure and use? Not to sit unread on shelves surely?

If you want to read about my own book The Long Shadow and The Crimson Bed see

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Favourite Quotes

  • My home is my retreat and resting place from the wars: I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner of my soul. Michelle de Montaigne
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony: Mahatma Gandhi
  • Friends are people you can be quiet with. Anon.