Sunday, 3 March 2013

Free Books Delivered to my Door

The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin by David Nobbs
The Letters of Rachel  henning edited by D Adams
The Cost of Living LIke This by James Kennaway
One of the things that happen when people discover I collect old Penguin books is that everyone wants to give them to me. I have explained several times over that it isn't necessary to bring me bags of books. But people generally like to give and so the Penguins arrive.  The funny thing is  that I get many books with the ISBN numbers on the side.

I only really collect the vintage numbered Penguins from the time Allen Lane was alive and published them. That ended in 1970 and after that the ISBN numbers came in and the world changed and no more numbered  Penguins were born.

I have a really down to earth friend named Brian who lives in South Hobart. He's elderly, he's ailing and he spent his life working at the Cascade Brewery.  He spends his days driving around in his big Toyota car that is several years old going to Op  Shops. I run into him frequently at the Red Cross book shop which by far is the best one. I also see him at the tip shop.  I am looking for books.  He is looking for books as he is a big reader but he also collects lots of other things. Some people may think we hoard books but we don't. We are collectors and readers.

The Wife of Martin Guerre by Janet Lewis
Women in the Wall by J O'Faolain
Child's Play by David Malouf
All I know is he is a dinky di Aussie cobber who teaches me the Australian language as it was used during his working life. You bewdy. He has lots of stories to tell and he "needs" all the things he collects.  I met him years ago in the Lapidary club when I was learning about petrified man fern and agates and went on some excursions with a bit of luck.  He loves rocks and always has a piece of polished agate in a pocket he'll pull out and show you.

He doesn't suffer fools gladly and if you're good to him he'll be good to you.  He loves gathering up his found treasures and loves to give them as gifts.
Every Penguin book he has in his house from years of collecting gets sorted and put in a bag and brought to me along with a good deal of focacia bread he gets from the baker in the day old bin.

I hadn't seen him in awhile and we were a bit concerned that his health had taken a turn as he is not a well man and as suspected he has been in and out of hospital. But he's back now with a vengeance with his stories, his views on politics, how the country should be run and his bags of Penguin books.

Twelfth Night by Shakespeare
The Four Beauties by H.E. Bates
Therese by Francois Mauriac

They are not the Allen Lane vintage Penguins. They are simply any book Penguin ever published.  Do you have any idea of how many books that is? I must say though I love getting them because after all a bag of books is...............well, yes, a bag of books.  What book lover doesn't love a free bag of books. As they are published by Penguin books, no matter what the date chances are they'll be good reads.

I keep some of them, read some of them and then they go into the box. The box when full gets loaded into the car and driven to the auction. I might get $20.00 bucks for them minus the auctioneers share and I take the cash and it goes back to the tip shop or the Red Cross book shop or Vinnies where I buy up anything I see by Dick Francis or old pulp westerns. Those books go into its own plastic bag and are then given to Brian who loves to receive them. The cycle then continues. We both get bags of books we don't look for, have the pleasure of sorting the treasure and then passing them on again to then get more books for each other.
Truant State by Nicholas Hasluck
The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner

It has created a pleasant friendship between us and when everyone is well we have a coffee and a chin wag about how Australia used to be and everything that's wrong with it and how in all our wisdom we know how to fix it. But no one listens to us so we just keep buying books. Fair dinkum.


  1. It must be fun to unpack the bags and see what turns up - quite an interesting mix I'd bet! What a lovely circle of books.

    1. An unknown and unexpected free bag of books certainly is a treat. Doesn't happen often.

  2. You must have 48 hrs in each of your days because you do so much and still have time to travel and socialize.

  3. He sounds an interesting fellow. What a wonderful flow of books between you though. :)


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