In my book…

(Canscene) — there’s still nothing like a good book. Each time I open a new volume I get the same sort of thrill I did when at six years, I was able to make my own first purchase.

Sixpence in pocket money was burning a hole in my pocket and I yearned for something a little broader in scope than the kid’s books I’d been given as presents. Due to the diligence of parents and grandparents I’d learned to read two years earlier.


I took myself down to a large bookstore near our home in Balham. The new hard cover Readers Library series was being displayed at sixpence a volume. This eclectic enterprise which flourished for several years until the advent of Penguin paperbacks carried mostly reprints of books authored by writers as widely different as Victor Hugo and Edgar Wallace.

I’d just seen Douglas Fairbanks in the Thief of Baghdad and after leafing through a number of Readers Library volumes, I turned back to a novelization of the film by Achmed Abdullah (actually the Russian-born Alexander Nicolayevitch Romanoff.) Although he didn’t write the screenplay for the film, it is said he gave the producers the original story line.

There was Duggie on the dust cover, complete with bandana and roguish grin. I couldn’t wait until I got home, but found that Achmed/Alexander’s prose was a little too dense for me. I can’t remember now whether I ever returned to the Thief of Baghdad but I’ll always have the memory of that first purchase (of many thousands).

Small wonder this issue is mostly about books all of which I’ve received for review within the past month. And the good news is that all are by Canadian authors.–30–

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