Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Enjoying an old library book

As a child I used to hate the idea that a book I was reading from the library had been handled by other people. A sort of Kenneth Williams obsession with cleanliness, particularly when reading in bed, made it difficult to enjoy flicking through a dogeared and stained copy of a book.

But as I get older and value the ability to go to the library and get books for free the idea of owning an ex library book becomes more attractive.

The dates stamped in the front cover hint at a story. My copy of The Cossacks by Tolstoy is from the Kensington and Chelsea library and the last date stamp is a faded 1968. it is easy to imagine someone reading that book as the world erupted in protest.

A bookmark that also doubled up as a library stamp shows that people were getting books out during the second world war. As the bombs dropped and the battlefields of France robbed lived someone was still clinging onto routine by going to the library.

Buying ex library stock, particularly from the past, has now become something to be desired rather than shied away from and those books have the ability to tell a story that is only limited by your imagination.

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