A note from a stranger has changed my attitude to books

After years of librarian-like angst over the condition of his bookshelves, Will Gore decides to turn over a new leaf

Saturday 21 May 2022 12:29
<p>The inscription inside a copy of Arthur Ransome’s ‘Coot Club’ </p>

The inscription inside a copy of Arthur Ransome’s ‘Coot Club’

I have wanted to be various things when I grow up. A digger driver, a cricketer, a soldier, a cricket commentator, an antique dealer and a baker are just a few of the careers I’ve aspired to at one time or another (I’m still not sure what I’m going to be, if I’m honest).

At the age of about eight or nine, I quite fancied being a librarian. I liked the order of a library, and also the little coloured dots that our local one placed on the spines of its books to prevent a kid’s adventure story from being confused with a racy Mills & Boon.

So keen was I, that I decided to replicate the stickers system with the books in my own room: green for sport, blue for science and so on. Occasionally still, I come across one of my catalogued tomes in my parents’ house and wonder at the tragic earnestness of my crazy younger self.

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