AUTHOR ALLSORTS

A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

My Father’s Library or “The Book Collector”

I have always loved libraries.

I loved first library my mother took me to where we rummaged through racks of picture books to find new bedtime reading.

I loved the library at my University – a vast basement packed with row upon row of old books and journals on all subjects you could imagine. You could lose yourself among those shelves.

I love my local library – it’s clean and new, all windows and glass and of course – books everywhere.

I have been in many libraries and are all just as wonderful, just as exciting. But there is one library that tops all of these. And this is my father’s library.

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You see, some people collect stamps, or coins, or porcelain. But my father collected books.

He was in love with second hand bookshops – we never walked past one without popping in. My childhood resonates with the smell of old leather and paper; the shelves stacked high with old volumes. These shops were a treasure trove, and my father never left empty handed. He put up shelves around the walls in his study and it was soon lined, floor to ceiling, with books. I loved it there as much as I loved exploring these old shops.

In those days it was quite easy to find first editions, and books bound in leather with gold embossed covers. They cost pennies and I watched as his collection grew. He had studied classics and beautiful leather bound copies of Plato and Catullus (among others – many in Latin or Greek) are rowed along one of the walls. Then it was the Victorian novelists – beautifully embossed covers and children’s books with gorgeous illustrated plates. I remember he went through a phase of collecting novels by Hall Caine and these take pride of place alongside his desk.

There are the quirky books – the oddities. A Victorian nature guide written by a gentleman who was clearly fond of shooting, a bible in Hungarian and another in ancient Greek, And then there are the books that he bought quite simply because they looked interesting or were something he wanted to read;  thrillers, adventures, stories of heroes and other worlds – his reading tastes were surprisingly varied!

I’ve found some treasures in this library – authors I would never have otherwise discovered, books I would never have read.

Whenever I visit my mother I go into the library. My Father’s desk sits by the window, rolling hills and fields beyond, and the books sit waiting – waiting for someone to dust then down and leaf through their pages. Waiting to be read. I can think of no better way to spend a couple of peaceful hours doing just that. I read his books and think of him. His books are his legacy.

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By day Kate Kelly works as a marine scientist but by night she writes SF thrillers for kids. Her debut novel Red Rock, a Cli-Fi thriller for teens, inspired in part by her fascination with the sea, is published by Curious Fox and a collection of her short stories, The Scribbling Sea Serpent, is now available. Kate lives in Dorset with her husband, two daughters and assorted pets.

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This entry was posted on June 24, 2015 by .

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