Taking a bag of rubbish out to the communal bins earlier today I noticed a book, nay an entire small bookshelf of books, in one of the bins.
Throwing out books is like throwing out your nearest and dearest: "I'm awfully sorry son/daughter/significant squeeze/friend since forever but I think I'm done with you now. If it's quite alright with you I think the best place for you now is this, well, bin. Once again, awfully sorry, thanks for the memories, etc."
So like the valiant gal I am I looked into the bin and thought "I might not be able to save all of you but I can save one of you".
There were books about selecting the right cat for your lifestyle, several science fiction titles involving lords and daggers and magical rings, and one little volume with a pretend-aged-leather-cover dust jacket with these words on the back: "Warning: Not to be Read After Dark".
Since my inner voice objects to being told, well, anything my first response was "I'll show you 'don't read it after dark' - humph" (I do wish my inner voice was less objectional; I do the same thing with tv ads: "Don't tell me to spend less on my fabric softener and expect better results - humph").
Anyhoo, so the little book was saved from the bin because I felt sorry for it and because it directly challenged me to read it after dark if I was game. Being impatient I started reading it on the way back from the bin (more 8am than after dark), and what did I find between its covers? Allow me to share with you:
I like Ellie a lot. She's warm and friendly in a way that makes you feel that she really cares about you. Mam says that marrying Ellie was good for Jack because she helped to make him less agitated.
Less agitated? Ah, ok.
Ellie has hair the colour of best-quality straw three days after a good harvest and skin that really glows in the candlelight.
Three days after a good harvest? Riiight.
By page 13 I was over it so skipped to the end. Page 324:
Poor Billy Bradley's back in his grave outside the churchyard at Layton, but at least he's got his thumbs now. None of it's pleasant but it's something that just goes with the job. You have to like it or lump it, as my dad says.
I'm glad to hear poor Billy Bradley's back in his grave and I must say it's always good to have your thumbs (?). I'm sure you'll be glad to hear this little novel is back in the bin and that my thumbs helped put it there.
Could you, would you, throw a book out?
* Edit: While it was fun writing the bit above about thumbs and bins, I must confess I couldn't actually throw the book out. It's sitting here on the desk, and since I can't physically make myself throw it out I'll need to find a home for it. Would anyone like to actually read The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney properly, something I've failed miserably to do? I'll send it to you.