For this months discussion post I wanted to ask if there were any cool stories you had behind obtaining any books you own?
I mean we all know some of the ways that we obtain books – from a book shop or a library sale or a car boot sale but sometimes we get given a book or a book finds us in a way that’s really unexpected and I was wondering if you have any stories like that.
Personally I have four books in my collection which I acquired for free which had quite cool stories behind them.
NB: I will add the covers to this post at some point, only most of them are in the loft so if I go up there to retrieve them I’ll add some photos.
The Remains Of The Day (2012) and Red Dust Road (2013)
Both of these books I actually acquired for free as an English Literature student doing my A Levels for World Book Night. For those who haven’t heard of it as I don’t think it is as widely known. World Book Night is on the 23rd April each year and is run by the Reading Agency each year to encourage people to read more for all ages. Each year there is a list of books specially published and given to librarians, schools etc to share with the idea being once the book is read it is left somewhere for someone else to pick it up.
As an English Literature student I was given one of these books for each book night whilst I was at college – The Remains Of The Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay which I did keep more as a souvenir of my time at sixth form. The Remains Of The Day is one book I didn’t get to but I did read Red Dust Road and loved it.
Red Dust Road is Jackie Kay’s memoir is about her growing up in 1960’s Scotland where she was adopted, mixed-race and a lesbian as well as her efforts to find her birth mother in Scotland and her father in Lagos in Nigeria. It is a very emotive and powerful book which I would recommend reading.
In a similar story from sixth form, I also acquired a 1962 edition of George Orwell’s 1984. During my time at Dudley College which was my sixth form, the college was having a dedicated sixth form campus being built down the road during my first AS year which was 2011-2012. We then moved into the new building during my second and final year.
Anyway as the sixth form was being moved out of the main college they were having a clear out and asked us as English Literature students if we wanted any books. I had actually already read 1984 earlier that year for my coursework and loved the dark, dystopian atmosphere of the book so I grabbed a copy of that. Probably of all the books I did on my English Literature course it was my favourite one so having a personal copy is another little memento.
James Bond novels (1953-1964)
Now I am a massive fan of the James Bond movies and have been since I was a child and I always wanted to read the original novels the films were based on but they were quite difficult to come by when I was growing up. I know when Skyfall was released they were published as ebooks but before then it was a nightmare. Anyway I do have about half of the books but I do want to share this story and then another one behind my other books.
Casino Royale was obviously made into a movie when Daniel Craig was cast in the role and it was probably the first time I was made aware of the books existing. I did go to a couple of libraries which didn’t have any copies but I went into WHS Smith in Walsall at the time to ask if they had a copy and they had at the time been doing a promotion where if you bought the DVD of the film you would get a copy of the book. I already had the movie but as they had a spare book the lady kindly said I was welcome to have it so I got the first one for free.
Various other James bond novels
After this one I did some further looking around and came across a market stall in Walsall which had a few of the original print ones and I bought about 4 more of them (I’m trying to remember which ones they were but the only one I can remember for sure was From Russia With Love – they definitely have that old book smell though).
At the time this was going on I was also in high school and as we didn’t have the internet at home I was regularly in the school library after school doing homework and I remember getting on really well with the school librarian and I mentioned that I was trying to get the James Bond books and I bought a couple from the stall in Walsall and she asked me which ones I had found.
The next time I went in she had actually gone there and purchased a couple more for me (this is the only way I know From Russia With Love was definitely one I bought as I ended up having two copies of it as she had bought one as well) and though I offered the money she let me have them. I still have all of these books and I would say any advice to a schoolkid is to speak to your school librarian as they can be an amazing help when you are preparing for exams and homework.
Anyway I would love to know what stories you have for acquiring any books that you have in your collection? Let me know in the comments down below.