Julian Barnes has published a pamphlet titled A Life with Books in celebration of Independent Booksellers Week. The pamphlet is available for £1.99 and is exclusive to independent bookshops with all proceeds going to the charity Freedom from Torture.
In the essay, Barnes writes about his early awareness of books, his obsessive book-collecting and time spent in second-hand bookshops around the country, he ends by praising the physical book and expressing the confident hope that it will survive despite e-readers. We are particularly fond of his praise for pre-loved books:
“I probably preferred secondhand books to new ones. In America such items were disparagingly referred to as "previously owned"; but this very continuity of ownership was part of their charm. A book dispensed its explanation of the world to one person, then another, and so on down the generations; different hands held the same book and drew sometimes the same, sometimes a different wisdom from it.”
We can’t agree with this idea more and absolutely love all our pre-loved titles! In fact it was this very idea of sharing literary love-affairs and helping readers re-discover literary treasures through second-hand books that sparked our interest in recycled reading and kept us going when developing the book exchange, so we would like to say a huge thank you to Mr Barnes for extolling the virtues and enormous pleasure readers get when enjoying, passing on and discovering pre-loved titles.
A Life with Books is published as a pamphlet, with cover art by Suzanne Dean, the renowned designer responsible for the cover of Barnes’ Man Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending. You can also read the essay here at the Guardian (along with some very interesting readers comments).
Needless to say, please go forth and support your local or independent online bookseller (both new and second-hand) during Independent Booksellers Week and don't forget to pick up a copy of A Life with Books and make a donation to Freedom from Torture while you are at it - lets all spread the bibliophile-love this week!