The launch of the Kindle got me thinking about all the things an e-reader can never be. You can't inscribe it to a loved one or press flowers between it's pages. It can never be an object, loved and cherished and passed from person to person, with any history. Your children cannot draw upon the pages and fill it with precious memories. Illustrations look terrible on it, especially art, which needs a grand scale. For these reasons and many more, help me celebrate the real thing: dusty old books!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Treasure hunting with Saviour Pirotta

Many thanks to Saviour for letting me post his recent haul of Dusty Old Books. Treasures indeed, and full of the obscure and unexpected things - words and pictures - that give inspiration to writers and artists. You just never know what direction your imagination will go in...


9.55am What to do when you've stumbled home at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning and can't yet go to bed but are too razzled/tired/antsy to do anything productive? I know, put on the kettle, sit back in a comfy armchair and and force your bleary eyes to focus on a Kindle...not. But look, there's a distraction from all this wonderful information and literature that must be stored in this modern little appliance...a table top sale in Victoria Hall, just round the corner. Perhaps they might have the latest ebook there......

11.00am - Return home definitely unkindled! Never mind, here's a few old bits of tit and tat to be had for £8.00 in total!

Treasure was the junior version of Look And Learn. This annual from 1974 includes comic strip stories about Ancient Greece and Hiawatha. There are also Chinese legends, facts about animals and the story of the printing press.

A little curio from, I guess, the 1940s. The text is really simple, the pictures all have one major colour. The sort of thing I would have memorised as a kid and acted out. No author is credited!

One of two books James would really appreciate, this includes articles about the Ballet Rambert, the Dance Centre in London and loads of brilliant photos of the greats at work
A photo from The Tina Ballet Book, showing a still from an American ballet based on The Wizard of Oz. These two dancers are the wind that carries Dorothy to the fabled land.

Another for James, this books is about all aspects of dance, including modern and classical ballet and folk.

From People Who Dance - a dancer in Italy!

The cover of this one says it all, really. Packed with astounding, high quality photos.

This poor book wasn't particularly well looked after but it seems to have given someone a lot of enjoyment. Christmas stories without presents or Christmas trees? Now there's a novelty."

by Saviour Pirotta


  1. Presenting People Who Dance looks especially interesting. A nice collection of books, full of things to stir the brain.

    Don't knock the Kindle though. the latest generation has a scrath-n-sniff function that chemically reproduces the smell of dust and oldness. It's just like the real thing!

    Sort of.

  2. Oh I'm ALMOST convinced to rush out and buy one Thomas...

  3. "Pip the Pet Rabbit" is my personal favourite out of this little treasure trove. Nothing better than an image of a decapitated rabbit to get the infantile imagination going!