Sunday, 9 September 2012

A Traveller in Time


Looking away from a spreadsheet for a moment, no, I don't spend all my time reading possible new books. I also spend rather a lot of time looking at new ways to afford new projects based on sales figures of X, Y and Z. Possible scenarios now saved, I'll have another look at that stack of books that's almost too large to be called my 'to be read' pile. I'm also happy to admit that the shelves are looking better since I removed the not-quite-wanted thirds from 'three-for-two' offers that Waterstone's has thankfully withdrawn. Shall we say double-shelved instead of 'double-shelved with horizontal stacking wherever I could make room'?

I'd been saving this little find inside a secondhand book for a blog post, but today's discover of a perfectly-pressed small spider in the margins of a new-to-me book brought the subject to the forefront of my mind. I suppose it's lucky that I'm not scared of spiders and just brushed it out into the bin with a tissue. I'll add that there was no damage to the book or staining which will be a relief to the book collectors.

More interesting was this little inset from a book fair. The writing is very hard to read and I only really recognise that someone has written down A Traveller in Time. This was a childhood favourite that I read to pieces. My copy survived (in three sections) as I couldn't bear to part with it. Though I did just as soon as I could find a hardback and more sturdy replacement. Puffin paperbacks are wonderful, though the glue just wears out over time. I think it was the first historical novel that I read and it certainly inspired a life-long interest in history, especially Tudor and Stuart history as well as visiting country houses. It was also one of the first and best examples of timeslip stories that I'd come across. Penelope goes to stay with relatives who live on a farm once lived in by the Babington family and becomes involved in the plot to free Mary Queen of Scots. It's a perfect introduction to more grown-up novels with plenty of chapters, information about herbs, country fairs, sugar and cooking that have stayed with me. I don't know how else I would have learned about moulding marchpane or what to look for in a herb garden.

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