I had the pleasure of writing for the Jewish Chronicle this week about Second-Hand Stories, my book about the previous owners of my second-hand books. You can pledge towards Second-Hand Stories here.
The piece begins:
The second-hand bookshop in Edgware where I used to spend my weekends was just around the corner from the salt-beef bar. I rarely came home with beef-on-rye-no-mustard-one-fish-ball-please but I did buy dozens of mystery novels, Hardy Boys and the like, full of zipping conspiracies and handsome all-American teen detectives.
As a child, I couldn’t get enough of this cheap, almost inexhaustible supply of second-hand books. Nothing, it seems, has changed. All the way through university, where I read Latin and Greek, I bought second-hand books (a little more expensive now): the epic poets Homer and Virgil in the original and in translation, learned commentaries, books about these books. The great thing about Classics is that – unlike any scientific discipline, say – things change relatively slowly. They do change, but what was written about the erotic poet Ovid 150 years ago is probably still of use today.
And you can read the rest here.