The Lost Library

I was tagged by Chrisinda at A Little Wicked in a Book Meme which has prompted me to respond and write a little bit about the books in my life.

  • I tend to have more than one book on the boil at anyone time.
  • I believe that if you lend a book then you have to be content that you may not/will not ever see it again.
  • I would rather lend a good book to someone who may also like it than keep it gathering dust on my shelf.
  • That is apart from a few books that are mine, mine, mine, mine I say…, which just don’t get lent to anyone because I am not content to never see them again.

I have read many books that have been extremely enjoyable and influential that you have all either read, heard about/or seen the movie version of, you know the ones I mean:

The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkein (a childhood favourite and I still like it, although I really fell in love with the BBC Radio 4 play version)

The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov (teenage favourite, although I now find his simplification of races a little disturbing)

The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (a real favourite, a trilogy in five parts (now six); they have been lent, purchased, lent, purchased, lost, given as a gift, received as a gift, destroyed, borrowed, purchased and recently added to by Eoin Colfer who has written the sixth book in the trilogy ‘And another thing…‘, which I am reading now)

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend (bought for me on my thirteenth birthday by my eldest sister, written by a local author, the TV series was filmed on my housing estate – this book was so much a part of my teenage years and it is hilarious)

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (awesome book worthy of a summer read any year, in any century)

The Watchmen (Graphic Novel) by Alan Moore (this is my favourite comic and it changed the way I thought about life/books)

The Life of Pi by Yann Martell (an ‘Oh dear’ book, a ‘WTF?’ book, a ‘Really? Really? No, really?’ book, a ‘But if that’s the case then that means that…OMG!’ book – a truly excellent adventure in written form)

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (aimed at young teens, set somewhere between gangster crime, sci-fi, fantasy and mystery as a genre, I love these books, they are clever, witty and totally fantastical).

There are many, many more that could be included in the list above but those are not the books I am going to talk about here.

I have decided to write about some of my lost books instead. Let me explain what a lost book is to me; it could be a book that I borrowed, read and gave back to the library but wished I had kept/owned a copy; maybe it’s a book I have lent to someone thinking I was content never to see it again that I have now decided I wish hadn’t loaned at all; maybe it’s a book that has been taken from my bookshelves by an ex-partner on her way out the door; maybe it’s one of the hundreds of books that were damaged in the flood that swept through my house two days before I was about to move house when all my books were in boxes on the floor ready for transport which were subsequently destroyed; maybe I just haven’t gotten round to buying a copy of a book that I have been lent and against all odds have returned to it’s owner.

Here then are my memoirs of some memorable lost books, the ones that have met a fate from the list above and are subsequently no longer in my possession, how they were lost is for you to imagine as I am not sharing (I apologies in advance for any errors, omissions etc. I am working from memory alone) but what I can tell you is that I wish that these were still in my possession and back on my bookshelves.

Tolstoy Lives in 12N B9 by Eric Geen

A fantastic alternative reality about a boy named Tolstoy (no not that Tolstoy) in a city, where there is 1 post box for every 100 houses, 1 post office for every 10 post boxes, 1 school for every 4 post offices etc. There’s a Doctor who’s considered successful because his patients are all so healthy, because he won’t see them when they’re ill – An interesting look at society from a flawed family view.

I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now by Damien Hirst

An adult pop-up and peek-a-boo book of joy and wonder representing the works of Damien Hirst including his paintings, musings, music, sculpture and photography – A coffee table book of awesomeness.

Cosmic Banditos by A. C. Weisbecker

A fantastic book about some bandits who rob a library by accident thinking it is a bank and in the process discover the secrets of Quantum Physics and Quantum Mechanics (from the Q section of the Library) and with the help of some mescal induced hypnotic hallucinations use quantum theory to become more successful in their efforts – A really enjoyable read that is educational too.

Tuva or Bust by Ralph Leighton

This book introduced me to a man who is now one of my heroes. Richard P Feynman, bongo player, safe cracker, practical joker, stamp collector, musical composer, exhibition co-ordinator and noble prize winning physicist who was involved in the development of the Atomic Bomb and the investigation of the Challenger space shuttle disaster – such an amazing book, an incredible man – you must read it.

Quantity Theory of Insanity by Will Self

A collection of short stories set in alternative realities where the dead don’t die, they go and live in a leafy suburb of London – where insanity is contracted by quota so people invest in the building of a local asylums to statistically protect themselves from going mad – a motorcycle courier who instinctively knows the traffic flows of London etc., etc. – makes you think extra about the ordinary.

Time Out of Joint by Philip K Dick

A sci-fi story set in 1950’s American suburb, where a newspaper puzzle champion gets so paranoid he is convinced that the whole world is watching him and he’s right but only because he is their hero, he is their saviour and because of that they have to keep him contained within his closed community. – a real mystery with so little of it that you would call traditional sci-fi it is hardly part of the genre but doesn’t fit anywhere else.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

A rip roaring look at good and evil – the millennia long battle for Earth’s future prior to the inevitable Armageddon between these two fastidious foes is being monitored by angels and demons on behalf of God and the Devil. But it has been going on for so long our two unlikely heroes in the book have become best friends despite their opposing backgrounds.

My favourite bit is when a Traffic Warden’s (Meter Maid / Parking Enforcement Officer) ticket pad bursts into flames as they are trying to issue a ticket to their car and the Demon thinks the Angel did it because Traffic Wardens are evil and the Angel thinks the Demon did it because Traffic Wardens are good. – a really funny thought provoking view on the world and the way humans live in it.

So there you have what is probably the perfect Birthday/Christmas gift list for me when it comes to books.

For your enjoyment whilst doing this I found a couple of excellent book related links:

The Greatest Books with Psychotic Fan Bases

Books Lost to History that would have changed the world

Tags have been sent and links will be added in the future.

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About X-Wide P

Award winning advocate for art, heritage & culture; fine artist, museum & gallery manager and mild mannered front man of Relevant Elephant, finest purveyors of rock-steady hip-hop mambo
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9 Responses to The Lost Library

  1. Pingback: List #5. Books you’ve read | Extra X-Wide P

  2. No One says:

    great…

  3. John1248 says:

    Very nice site!

  4. Jingle says:

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  5. Shirley says:

    Good day! Thanks for sharing. I will bookmark your website.

  6. Pingback: Twitted by loripop326

  7. xwidep says:

    fortunately I am not one of the psychotic fans of LOTR as listed in the link so you’re fine with me – I probably shouldn’t tell you about how I used to play Dungeons & Dragons though ; )

  8. Chrissarella says:

    Those are awesome Phil. Truth be told, I really want to read Gaiman. I follow him on Twitter, and some one on my blog brought him up to me.
    I think I found some more I’d like to read on your list as well!

    Thank you!!

  9. loripop326 says:

    you already know my feelings on LoTR. can’t help it, hope you can forgive me.

    the watchmen would have made my list, too. but that would have required other inclusions of graphic novels. so, i had to leave it off and hope for a graphic novel meme. 😉

    we share a number of faves, i see. i wish i could help you on your lost books. i know how that feels…

    thanks for sharing all of this, Phil!

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