This week was our first session discussing White’s novel, which for the sake of brevity, I think I’ll refer to as TOAFK, from here on. Amongst the various thoughts we had about the reading, an interesting observation was that it was tricky to get hold of a second-hand copy from the usual local suppliers.
One shop said that the book rarely came their way, which led us to speculate about whether most people developed sentimental attachments to theirs. I still have my first copy, held together with an elastic band, in the drawer with Wuthering Heights which also got read-to-bits.
Why do I keep them? It’s not just sentiment, they’re riddled with notes. One of these days, when I’ve some spare time, I’ll sit down and see if there’s still any value in those old thoughts.
I don’t write in all of my books, usually only ones I’m studying. I’m a bit precious about books, not even holding with folding over the corners of the pages – yes, you know who you are…we’ve talked about this.
However, quite a few of my books have been annotated, because I often buy second hand, and I’m nosy. I like to see what someone else thought, so given an option, I’ll choose the copy laced with resentment and exclamation marks. Mostly this happens with old text books, but sometimes I’ll stumble over a note some reader was driven to make in the text of a novel.
Getting back to TOAFK, what I find interesting is that it’s still in publication. You can buy a paperback or hardback copy, which suggests that it’s still selling well.
I like to think that copies of it are holding their places on a lot of family bookshelves. Perhaps they are waiting to be re-read, perhaps to be handed on to the next generation.