Yesterday, I had a surreal experience. While dragging myself round a typical Saturday’s chores, I was waiting for the tumble dryer to complete a 10 minute towel softening stint, when my eye was caught by an adjacent bookshelf. My tumble dryer is located in a cupboard on the upstairs landing – a multi-purpose storage area, home to a mini Chinese laundry, innumerable boxes of family photos, a spare uncomfortable futon for the foolhardy who’ve imbibed one too many, and loads of books gathered over the years, and shelved in no particular order. Or are they? I was taken aback, and taken back through the years by an apparently random shelf of books which seemed to encapsulate the key periods and interests of my lifetime.
Heidi by Joanna Spyri – the mountains in summer, the wildflowers, the alpine hut, sleeping on a bed of straw. It was a far cry from a life in a Dundee suburb, one of my very first loves and prompted a detour to visit Heidi-land while in Switzerland a few years ago.
Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon – a school reader, and the first novel to touch an invisible place where roots, primeval attachment and a burgeoning sense of identity lay. One of the few books I have returned to several times over the years.
Across the Great Divide by Jim Wilkie – a history of professional football in Dundee, evoking memories of pride, excitement and quality time spent at Dens Park with my late father every second Saturday from age 10 to 18.
Everything Elvis by Helen Clutton – the book of facts I could probably have written myself such was my appetite for all things Elvis from the days of Blue Hawaii onwards! Very useful on quiz nights. Continue reading “The forgotten bookshelf: my life flashed before me”