I have always very much enjoyed books, and so it is no surprise that I have come to collect them. There's just something not right about a house / room / corner without a bookshelf in it - you can learn so much about someone from their bookshelf, and I am always so pleased to know someone and then know they have a bookshelf nearby; it just feels like you can store part of your inexpressible self in a place for all to see.
Here are a selection of six special books. They are all signed in some form or another, and I am fortunate to have been able to add them to my collection. I will mainly let the books speak for themselves and so have included extracts.
[Some pictures can be enlarged by clicking.]
I very much enjoyed this collection. I picked it up because of how much I like Philip Pullman. It is a signed First Edition, number 699 of just 1000. His notes really add to the stories and his role as storyteller - here I include the notes from "The Girl With No Hands" because I found his opinions particularly true and amusing.
Growing up, I very much enjoyed Artemis Fowl - he is extremely intelligent, technical and intriguing, while at the same time physically and emotionally incompetent. Particularly, I remember "The Eternity Code" being a favourite because it had all sorts of adventurous spy-like moments throughout which I found really summed up the characters. The Last Guardian, was therefore a bit of a disappointment because it did not really do anything or go anywhere special. Also they recently revamped the art style from the covers I was collecting (which showed Artemis in silhouette) and now he looks a bit ugly.
Anthony was one of my Creative Writing teachers - he used to tell us stories in class (calling himself an Ecobard). I very much enjoyed his stories and I like Folk Tales, so I went ahead and bought his book. Sadly, it is quite strangely written - I think because he is a "Teller" he has constructed the prose from word of mouth; this makes a lot of the text seem rather rambling, weird and pointless.
Here is an extract from the first story "Mabon Son of Modron".
The characters seem to wander around forever asking creature after creature if they have seen "Mabon, son of Modron, who was taken from his mother when he was three nights old and hasn't been seen since" - the story had us in hysterics, not of its own devising, but by the ridiculousness in its repetitions. I do not feel it was supposed to be that outlandish - and if it was, then it was lacking in clarity or knowing.
It went on for pages! And they've all got stupid names. Sorry, but they have.
I used to sit by Phil and write down lots of the funny things he would say during lessons where we probably were not doing any work at all. I would also occasionally write stories (because the actual work was boring and easy) and I would show them to my lovely teacher Ms. Tarrant.
I first saw Nathan doing his stand-up poetry, where he was indeed very amusing and clever. When I found out he was teaching the following year, I moved classes. Yes, I moved classes. Hopefully he'd be pleased with that and not think I'm weird.
As a mental health nurse himself, Nathan's novel is about a young man who suffers with Schizophrenia - a strange and complicated illness that Nathan has aimed to open up a little for his audience.
There are some interesting moments in the book where, although my illness is greatly different to the main character's, I really felt engaged because of the things he has to do; like in this extract, where he explores some "fun stuff" - that's extremely similar to how I seem to "have fun".
This book is rather special to me, not just because it is old and uncommon, but because it belonged to my Grandpa. I am proud of his book, because I was always so proud of him. I often like to think I take after him in many ways, and Magic is an interest we have both indulged in.
Upon writing in this book, he would have been pretty much the age I am now - indeed, it is true to say that we both received the same book at the same age. I find that rather special.
The book itself is certainly an interesting one. It includes many tricks - quite a few of which are still in circulation today (but under new, more gimmicky names), as well as other strange ones like giving "oneself a supernatural appearance", which I am not sure if I am entirely willing to try.
There are quite a few Plates in the book containing photographs of the explanations; at the back there is even a suggested programme of tricks to make up a performance, which I think is a lovely idea.
There's also something about this book that keeps magic in that more genteel position - modern day magic can sometimes be a bit in your face and daring to impress. Perhaps this book is a little archaic, but for me it opens out onto that more gentlemanly world of parlour entertainment that I so enjoy.