Shabby Background

Saturday, July 27

Discarded, not despised

Next time I'm home I will take photos of our 'precious, tattered, torn, and handed-down' kind of thing that sits in a center table in the family room forever: the Bible. Mother still reads a couple of chapters during family worship. So many memories around the holy book. But since I live overseas and have no pictures to show, I'll see what I can do with something discarded from the Nelson Hayes library, a place frequented by reading expats in Bangkok.

I happen to visit Nelson Hayes during one of their post-inventory sales. The piles were tall and placed in a receptacle that reminds one of a sandbox. Going through them was my kind of blast. When I spotted one  which was ignored by buyers, I clutched it until I reached the check out counter.

The pages are brittle and yellowed. Perfect for all-things-old lover me.

Okay, it's only 1959. But given no antiquarian bookstore exists in Thailand, at least none that I know of, I was happy to have Malcolm Bradbury's first novel Eating People is Wrong.

The dedication page says TO MY MOTHER AND FATHER, and on the jacket is a peek inside: 
Professor Treece liked to think of himself as a liberal humanist. It was his desire to implant in his pupils at the provincial university where he taught English a sense of civilized values.... Eating People is Wrong contains a wealth of supporting characters inhabiting the half-crazy, half serious world of poetry readings, tea parties... and minor orgies in Espresso bars.
I have never read the book yet but I know I will have wonderful moments in the pages when I do.

~ 0 ~


  1. Do you know that I think that I only saw this book for the first time out of the corner of my eye recently in my local library? If I hadn't been in a rush I would have looked more closely. Fabulous title!!

  2. I have that novel too, but a paperback Penguin edition, and enjoyed it very much, from what I recall. I also enjoy purchasing books from library sales - there are often some real gems there.

  3. I'd love to get my hands on a copy of "Eating People is Wrong." What a find!

  4. I always sort through library books for sal. Oxfam shops seem to do pretty well for old ones too. I'll have to look out for the Bradbury book.

  5. Eh, clutching for fear that your excitement would bring forth the book bandits? I can understand that feeling -- and experience it every time a "find" a perfect thing, no matter that it is only so in my eye.

  6. Do read it and let us know what it was like. The title is fascinating. I love buying old books, but have trouble finding enough shelves for them.

  7. Sounds like the forerunner of "Dead Poets Society."

  8. I've heard of that book but now you've whetted my appetite with that introductory 'blurb'. I must look out for it.

  9. Great title. When I saw your photo, I thought the cover and title looked too modern for an "old" book.


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