Here at Sun Dried Sparrows Towers, ‘Operation De-clutter’ is underway. It seems as if every available flat surface has been used up to put things on and the floor is now fast becoming a storage space, to the point where I'm starting to forget what colour the carpet is, or if we even have one…. So the time has come to have a big sort out of all the things that have accumulated in this tiny house over the last few years and to make more room for ourselves.
As well as being a practical necessity, I find it very therapeutic to get rid of excessive clutter, but an added bonus is that I realise how much I value the things I decide to keep. Amongst these are my favourite beautiful books.
And one of these is ‘City Of Spades’ by Colin MacInnes, which now joins its bookshelf companions, ‘Absolute Beginners’ and ‘Mr Love and Justice’. I was so pleased and grateful to have been given this recently. As I’ve only just started reading it I can’t provide a full review yet, but it already earns its place amongst a select few – the lovely, special, old paperbacks that I value for so much more than just their content. Like the other two in the series (which I’ve written about previously on here) it’s a 1964 edition Penguin with a classic orange spine and a Peter Blake cover illustration. Its pages are tanned and creased, its cover a little bent at the corners, the bottom of its spine worn from all the times it has no doubt been removed from and then returned to various book shelves. Who knows how many homes it has had, how many thumbs have flicked through its pages, how much it has been loved and discussed, how many people it has perhaps inspired or influenced, how many emotions it has charged? I’ll never know. I can only imagine. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal.
These beautiful, characterful books are travelling no further. They’re staying here now, where they can join me in the remaining chapters of my own life.