Second hand book shops are the soul of the cultural world and I have sought them out where ever I have been. When I think of my life, it is punctuated by all the wonderful second hand book shops I have visited. The quiet, musty corners where I have felt uniquely safe and utterly absorbed in poetry, history , crumbling maps and stacks and stacks of fiction in to which I could dive. I didn’t come from money. My love of literature comes from my mother who took me every week to the public library in Widnes and let me roam safely amongst the tightly packed enticing shelves of things I didn’t understand, but soon learned to love and to crave.
When I had some pocket money I soon realized I could buy four second hand books for the price of one new book and there could be no question of where I would spend my money. New books might be shiney and clean, but they had no one’s name written on the inside cover; no publishing date 50 years before I was born ; no angry scrawling in the margins; no pressed flowers to fall out between the pages and no love notes to crumble to poignant tatters as you turned the first leaf.
New books might contain stories, but old books were stories in themselves and I have loved them ever since.
As my garden is now officially dead I am turning to them again .