Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Search for Alexandre Dumas

Yesterday I wrote about how I had bought more books than I had resolved to buy. In case you missed it this is the link: I also said that I would explain what the circumstances were that had led me to buy them.

My explanation is this: Alexandre Dumas. I think he is the best writer to ever hold a pen and he used that pen to write a great stack of books. The sad thing is that most of them haven't been printed in English for a long time. Getting my hands on them has been tricky. I've done quite well and my collection was boosted at Christmas when EG gave me what she had tracked down.

If you are a relative or friend who has been coerced into looking for these books then I am truly sorry for the hours you have spent searching shelves in second hand bookshops. I am very thankful for my sister who ran around Norwich with me in the search of Dumas (and also many other places) so that I could get my favourite edition. What a hero.

Dumas is probably most famous for his Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte Cristo. It was watching a film version of The Count of Monte Cristo that started my love for Dumas.  I wanted to read the book and then I found out that he had written loads. And so the search began.

Yesterday I saw a few copies in a bookshop, most of them were titles that I already had, but there was volume two of one that I didn't have. No volume one though. Off I went to find the owner to ask. Turns out that he hadn't sold volume one it had been moved by another customer and my guess was as good as his when it came to locating it. Apparently this happens fairly often, and he explained that he spends half his time searching for books that have been moved from their original location... ...and the other half of his time looking for their rightful home. This is a bit of a mystery to me, why do people move books around like that? If you have a theory or you are a book mover yourself please share with me why this happens. I'd love to know.

Anyway, I roped EG into help me search for volume one and off we went. It took us a while, and I found another Dumas that I didn't have, hidden in a corner on the way, but eventually I spotted it. On a shelf on the far side of an alcove that was blocked off by piles of books and a chair (also piled with books) was volume one. It was a happy moment. There was no way I was sticking to the 'only buy one book rule' and I walked out with both.

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