As well as being an author, I am, naturally, a reader. I’m also a collector of books. I have a particular soft spot for old books, especially those with beautiful artwork on the boards and spine, with the late C19th and early C20th being especially fertile ground for such books.


In recent years I have added to this need to collect by continually trying to find a book to buy that is older than the existing oldest book in my collection. I’ve made it all the way back to the C17th so far, which means I now need to find something from the C16th or earlier.

The trouble with this is that it gets more and more expensive as you go further back in time and it also gets harder finding something I actually might want to read as the choice shrinks. Abebooks and eBay are my favourite hunting grounds, as are my now not so frequent visits to second hand book shops.

In fact, by the time you get back to the C16th it can be tricky finding books written in English because Latin was often the choice of authors back then.

The oldest I have so far is this booklet from 1681. Not really a topic I’m much interested in but I still like to hold the booklet in my hands and try to imagine all the other hands it has passed through over the course of the last 350 years. That’s an oddly exciting thing to do.

What about you, what’s your oldest book? And do you too try to find successively older ones to buy?









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