Buying a book by its cover.

There are a few opening lines of books that really stick with me. The ones that spring immediately to mind:
“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”
“The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed him.”
And now…
“There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.”It’s been a slog of a week, so on my way home I stopped off to buy Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. The Dave McKean version, since he’s one of my favourite artists (beaten only by Maurice Sendak). I started reading it on the train and nearly missed my stop.

The thing is, bookshops are dangerous places for terminally broke, book-addicted folks such as myself. A quick trip is never quick. Dropping by involves going round all the shelves picking up likely books and then using a lot of will power to put them back down. I avoid Waterloo Bridge at the weekend, because all the secondhand marvels would bankrupt me. Back when the Coffee Monster and I were rocking the long-distance thing, he came to visit and we spent a week visiting all the reputable secondhand bookshops in London. And some of the firsthand. We ended up with so many books that he had difficulty getting his home, and I ended up living on porridge for a month. Additionally, we’re both collection freaks. Him more so than me. I’m not completely concerned about getting matching editions, but I do like to have everything in a set. We have everything ever written by John Wyndham in our flat. Twice.

So, this evening, while I was pottering around clutching what was definitely the only book I had planned on buying, I was sunk by the sight of all three Cornelia Funke ‘Ink’ books – the paperback gift editions – in a row on a shelf. All books in a trilogy, side by side, happens less often in bookshops than it ought to; though in retrospect, that’s probably a good thing, because the net result was that I’d picked them up before I really thought about it and bought the lot.

Not a good picture. No decent camera – but, ooooh, the lovely!

Ladies and gentleman, I am a low-paid media minion. I can’t afford such whimsical extravagence, especially not in a dreaded five-week month. I take comfort in the fact that when I’m hungry, I’ve got something to take my mind off it.

One thought on “Buying a book by its cover.

  1. I really must read Capture the Castle now! What a great first line. The Gunslinger line is also one that never fails to captivate and compel. When I read it just now, even though I already know the story, I wanted to read it again. I loved your book collections and rather enjoyed sitting around looking at them and browsing through them in the evenings when I was visiting. I can't wait to get my books out of storage, though we might need to get or make a new bookcase for them! There's something very comforting about a full bookcase, even if it means eating porridge for a month. =)


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