The Boy Who Loved Books
Last Friday I showed the jacket of The Boy Who Loved Books by John Sutherland.
It seems unlikely that any bookish person will not have heard of him and enjoyed his books
Is Heathcliff a murderer?
Can Jane Eyre be happy?
Who betrays Elizabeth Bennet?
But in case you have not, read an article by him, published in The Guardian just over three years ago and headed -
"As John Sutherland prepares to leave the halls of academia, he reflects on the - good and bad - changes in higher education over the past 40 years"
When I read about his memoir The Boy Who Loved Books, my first thought was "Must buy that."
Second thought, on noticing the price was £16.99, was, "Chances are the G-A will have it so might as well wait for the paperback."
G-A is my mental shorthand for the Guille-Allès Public Library founded by Thomas Guille and Frederick Allès, two young Guernseymen who were apprentices in New York in the 1830s. Their experience of using the apprentices’ library in NY made them determined to provide something similar for Guernsey. In 1882 the two men realised their dream when they purchased the Assembly Rooms in Market Street in St Peter Port.
Checking the G-A's online catalogue showed that the book was in stock and borrowable. The blurb on the front jacket flap reads "This is the story of how books saved one man's life – twice" and, further down the flap, "…the story of one man's, often desperate, love affair with reading, with drink and with an adored, but absent, parent. Books in many ways changed John's life, propelling him to university, and sustaining him in the dark times that were to come. It is also a personal account of the shifting twentieth century and the profound changes that shook society, as well as what it was like to be a grammar-school boy, a national-service man and a redbrick graduate during this period."
My reaction to the book tomorrow.