The lost book

At school, I spent a lot of time in the library.  I could be dramatic and claim that I was hiding from this and that but I wasn’t.  I loved the silence, the dust motes, the smell of the shelves of slowly settling paper.  I loved the oddities and the books reserved for “Sixth  Form Only” (like Chekhov’s short stories. Why?)

I couldn’t claim to have read every book there but I read many of them.  I can recall a lot of the covers and writers (Andre Norton, for example, revisited earlier the autumn). It’s where I first read Moby Dick when I was thirteen (time I read it again) and Geoffrey or Heny Treece’s marvellous historical novels.  I also found a book of illustrations by science fiction artists of possible pictures of other planets.  This book I loved in particular and for one specific picture above all the others.

It was a landscape, a vision of a green, habitable planet.  Under a night sky of strange stars, oval domes with little glowing doorways sheltered recently arrived settlers.  The moon was different and there might have been two of them.  The planet was far, far away. A thousand light years from home.

It always looked like home to me.

Even now, I ache for that place, the strange stars, the grass that isn’t quite the texture or shade of own grass, a place with no other human beings save those I arrived with.  A place where I can stand outside my geodesic dome, look up and recognise nothing.

I can’t remember the name of the book. Perhaps it’s just as well.  Like the girl in the poem by Stevie Smith, I might be tempted to simply step in and walk away.

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About Dad Who Writes (Gabriel)

Writing, reading, listening, parenting... On Twitter as @dadwhowrites. View all posts by Dad Who Writes (Gabriel)

7 responses to “The lost book

  • metajugglamum

    Stunning – as ever. Thank you for these images. I just hope that, despite the reference, you are not intimately bound in circumstance to the unhappy Joan, nor as isolated.

  • Heather

    pictures of imagined other worlds? it does sound rather fabulous! Oh, the Seven nights book arrived today! Shall be diving in once I’ve finished my current, fools alphabet.

  • SingleParentDad

    So it wasn’t a Viz annual? Sorry, can’t help you.

  • Chic Mama

    Arghhh, lost internet connection so lost my comment. No idea what the book is- sorry but love libraries and book shops too. We could have our own library here we have so many books. I loved Z for Zachariah when I was at school, imagined walking the planet looking for survivors, sounds strange now. I hope someone remembers the name of the book.

  • lifeslightlyused

    I used to spend all my time in the library too 🙂 so much so they got me to work there 🙂 I had a book like that, and I know the title, but cannot find a copy “The land behind the world” I could have sworn was about me, and I read it and felt like I belonged somewhere finally…sigh…thank you for this post…

  • Achelois

    I wish I had spent more time in the library. I didn’t. I wasn’t much of a reader. I used to spend a lot of time thinking and imagining events and people, though. I would hurry to finish off my dinner and other chores just so that I could lie in my bed and imagine before finally going to sleep. I think I did that for a long time. Talked in my head and made up situations and people.

    But I love books now 🙂

  • openpalm

    this is lovely. and close to my heart

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