Monday, 30 April 2012


My copy of Aldous Huxley's Do What You Will, from which I've quoted and will quote again, is a little tatty as you can see. It has the fattest worm holes I've ever seen in a book - see above.

I bought it recently for £1.50 from a charity shop. I had another copy, but where that went to I don't know. Ironically I may even have dropped it in a charity bag by mistake. 

In spite of its battered appearance and the worm holes, the book is in readable condition. It's a first edition in fact, printed in 1929, a period when even mass-produced books tended to be of good quality and remarkably durable. With cloth covers and stitched pages, it should outlast many millions of paperbacks from later decades. These will fall apart eventually, their brown pages turning brittle, covers coming apart, pages dropping out as the glue hardens and cracks.


Sam Vega said...

Blimey - are you sure that is not shrapnel from the war, rather than worm?

I only have 2 Huxley 1st editions. On the Margin (1923) and Brief Candles (1930). Both are doing very well for their age, and both smell lovely; like old churches, or the memory of fishing tackle shops. I suppose it is the linen bindings.

I wonder what they will say about Kindles at the end of the century?

A K Haart said...

Sam - I hadn't linked the smell of old books with old churches, but I've just samples a few and that's just what they smell like.

My Kindle doesn't smell of anything.