Monday, May 17, 2010

The Travels of Forever Amber

I should have added this image to my post about English Books and Tea, but I forget. This is my cheap copy of Forever Amber (along with my interrail pass and my ever-present water bottle) on the Thalys high-speed train from Cologne to Paris.
I probably should have bookcrossed that book properly, really. I think I just left it in my hotel room in Paris. I bet a French chamber maid idly picked it up, flicked through it and threw it away. Or put it in the staffroom in case anyone wanted it. I'd like to think that maybe it was picked up by someone who was trying to improve their English and they now know what a Cavalier was. But I'll never know.
This is why I like second-hand books - I like the idea of books with a story behind them. I try to buy new books whenever I can, to support writers, but when I'm just too skint, or when I'm interested in a writer who gets very mixed reviews, I will often seek out second-hand books. They're also fantastic when you forgot to bring a book to work and you happen to work near four different charity shops.
I would love to know more about who owned second-hand books before me, and who will own them after me, which is why I think bookcrossing is a great idea. Shame I can never be bothered to actually do it. . . But I found a bookcrossed book in a pub in Dublin recently (I was there with some friends and was terribly antisocial for a few minutes while I read all the spines), and I took it home to read, so it is only fair that I should set it free when I'm finished with it!


  1. Ellen, it's funny that you mention new books vs. used. I always think about it when I buy used ones. I buy from both as well. My problem is that new books are just getting too expensive.
    If it's a work that I really want, I have no problem paying a premium, but it's still a lot of money. I'm afraid that most bookstores will soon become passe, and go the way of music stores. That will be a sad day...

  2. What is bookcrossing? I'm either unfamiliar with the practice, or the term...

  3. Nevermind! I saw the original post on Reader without the link...just read about it...neat idea!

  4. It is a pretty cool idea :) the only downside is that you can't pick what you find.

  5. I've never heard of Bookcrossing before, but it's fascinating. I buy new and used as well. I try to buy new, but like you said, it gets expensive, and there's no reason to let books go to rot in a thrift store.

  6. Forever Amber is sort of the perfect Bookcrossing book, isn't it? I'd never seek it out but if I saw it somewhere it I'd be on it in a second.

  7. Hey There!

    Just dropping in to say hi and thank you for the link! I'm checking this info on Ireland out! xoxox
    You're such a sweetheart to think of this and me!

    Because I'm a writer I buy only new...I know how little the writer makes off a book and over here if she doesn't sell her contract out...the pub's won't buy her next matter how good it is. Which is a pity because she could be an awesome author.
    It's sad because then the readers miss out and the author doesn't get picked up.
    I agree...books are expensive...this is a business where it seems the authors nor the readers make out...only the middle man makes the money.

    The best thing I can see about bookcrossing or buying used...well, of course #1 saving money and #2 if the person who gets the used book ends up really liking the author they may go buy her next book at full price.

    There's always something good to come out of everything we do as long as we keep reading!


  8. Definitely, if I buy a book second-hand and love the author, I will usually replace my second hand copy with a new copy. If it's a book I'm going to re-read, I want it to be *nice*.

    Laura, you're right, it definitely is! I only sought it out because India Knight recommended it in one of her books - she had also recommended I Capture The Castle which I *adored*. Otherwise, I would have had to stumble on it.


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