It was a fine day for strolling, and a finer day for finding.
Tucked down Kings Road in St Leonard’s on Sea, minutes from Warrior Square, the planted green gardens, fronting the English Channel with a statue of Queen Victoria, whose name became the late 19th century adjective to many houses of this area (‘Victorian’) lies the second-hand bookshop: The Bookkeeper.
With one look, I was hooked and reeled in. The book, sitting attractively in the window, ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell; a classic read and this particular book holding as much of a tale on the surface as the story inside.
ANIMAL FARM, cheap edition, GEORGE ORWELL. 3s. 6d (3shillings and 6pence)
‘The publishers will be glad to send you from time to time descriptive lists of the new books which they publish. If you would care to receive these lists please send… your name and address on a postcard…’ (yes, do you remember postcards?)
This edition (see below) was published in 1950 by Secker & Warburg of Bloomsbury, London WC1.
‘Animal Farm’ was first published in August 1945. By January 1950, George Orwell aka Eric Blair would be dead at the age of 47.
Cheap Edition was a term used during the War era of publishing, and sometime after, when book-paper was used sparingly and economically, although it must be said, between the fingers the quality is of a good standard.
‘Animal Farm’ is referred to as ‘A Fairy Story’ and as ‘a good-natured satire upon dictatorship.’
Being the sixth edition of the story, means the publishers invite you to ‘see back of jacket for Press opinions.’
Graham Greene, in 1945 aged 41, is literary correspondent to The Evening Standard, and takes second billing of 7 Press reviews. He states: “If Mr Walt Disney is looking for a real subject, here it is: it has all the necessary humour, and it has, too, the subdued lyrical quality he can sometimes express so well. But it is perhaps a little too real for him? There is no appeasement here.”
And finally, ‘To Mother from Michael, June 1951.’
This, too, is why we have books. To place names and dates and sometimes a message on a page that secretly says, I found, I bought, I give, I care, I love, I read and I get lost in another world. Old books, their ways and what they say.
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Kate Barnwell, Lyrical Writer for The Hastings Independent Press: http://www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk