Secondhand Books …… Day 13 of 100



I have hundreds of books …. really far too many.  They are everywhere, on shelves and in stacks in every room.  But I can’t resist adding to my collection.

I buy them from all the usual places;  online; in book stores and in secondhand book shops.  But I also buy many that have been donated by kind people ….. the books found in Charity shops and those  ‘table-top’ sales that seem to be everywhere at the moment.  I have seen them in supermarkets; school halls and even in hospital and GP waiting rooms.

Some books come in assorted bundles ….like  Forrest Gump’s chocolates,  “ ……You never know what you are going to get” ……. (  Although, actually I have always thought that was a rather silly statement …. you just have to read the little menu that comes in every box of chocs and you know EXACTLY what you are going to get ! …..But I digress ) And other books are bought singly; in twos and threes or in great arms- full……. it just depends what’s available.

Some of the books ….. both the hard-backed and paperback editions ….. have been well- loved and obviously read and re-read many times. Some are even slightly tatty; their dog-eared pages turned over at the corners to  ‘mark the place’  of  the various times the reader has paused and placed the book aside.  Perhaps to go to bed; to work; prepare or eat a meal; feed a baby; meet a lover ?  I like to fantasize about the previous owners; wonder who they were; imagine their lives. Occasionally there are clues …..I discover little objects that have been used as bookmarks …… shopping lists; little notes; an old postcard; a used cinema ticket.  Maybe one day I will find a love letter; a £10 note or a winning lottery ticket ….hahaha !  But I love all that ….the little signs of use; the personal touches; the wear and tear of daily life ….

However, sometimes I find a book that hasn’t been read. It is as perfect and pristine as the day it was purchased. And that always puzzles me. Yesterday, in my GP’s waiting room, I found this among the books for sale ……. for a mere 50p.



It hadn’t even been opened, let alone read. I could tell …..I just knew, from the way the cover was so firmly and intimately close to the title page; colophon and  frontispiece. ….. the pages had never been turned. The spine was as rigid as the backbone of a Buckingham Palace guard …..

The whole book screamed of  unsullied new-ness   and I found it unutterably sad.

I mean ….why would you discard a book before you’d read it …..or, at least opened it and given it a try ?  Surely you would read the inner jacket and a few pages before thinking,

” This isn’t for me”  

Perhaps the donor didn’t buy it themselves, maybe it was a gift from someone who thought the recipient would love it.  Its such a shame that he or she didn’t, isn’t it ?

So ….is it just me or does anyone else think that an unread, secondhand book, is rather sad ?

Or, am I being silly….( yes, probably !) ……

After all, I have lots of unread books at home.  Ones that I’ve just not got round to reading yet. But, I wouldn’t dream of giving them away until I have.  ( And even then I find it hard to part with books, but that’s another matter)


Ach, on reflection,  maybe it IS just me ……. Maybe I’m just too ‘squirrely‘ ……..


P.S.  I have started to read this book ….and I love it ……. The donor missed a rare treat !




About rosiewrites2

Growing old, disgracefully and enjoying every minute.
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2 Responses to Secondhand Books …… Day 13 of 100

  1. paulgarrard says:

    I’m a big fan of poetry although not over familiar with the work of Andrew Motion

    Liked by 1 person

    • rosiewrites2 says:

      Yes I like poetry too.
      This novel is really good …a sequel to Treasure Island. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read any of his books before and probably only a little …very little …of his poetry.


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