Meet one of my most treasured possessions. This is my 1983 New English Library edition of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.
‘Eh?’ you might say ‘Looks like it’s falling apart’
And yes, you would be right about that. Some of the front pages are loose, the cover is hanging on precariously and it looks not only dog-eared, but practically dog-chewed. The pages are yellow and in danger of falling out if the book is not treated with due care and attention. It even smells a bit.
It’s worth nothing, yet it’s incredibly valuable to me. I keep it up high on my bookcase, as curious little hands now like to investigate the lower realms of the bookcase, taking out each book and examining the cover, before putting it back, usually with the spine facing inwards. I only keep the books made of sterner stuff within reach of those little hands.
This book stays up there, comfortably nestled and protected between newer hardbacks and fresh-looking paperbacks.
I bought it where I used to buy most of my books when I was first building my book collection: from one of the 2nd hand book stalls in the Queensway Hall market, in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Incidentally, the Queensway Hall no longer exists. It was consumed some time ago by some monstrous Asda that reels me in with false tales of good deals on my grocery shopping, then it chews me up, takes every last bit of cash from my purse and spits me back out onto the street; dazed and confused by what the Hell just happened.
The 2nd hand book stalls of the Queensway Hall never treated me in such a way. I always left clutching an already well-read 2nd hand purchase; smiling and looking forward to falling in love with the words within those pages. And this book was certainly no exception.
So, you see, it might be old. It might look like it’s seen better days. It’s pages might not look as fresh as they once did. But I’ll never replace it with a younger model.
Age rules. Remember that.