The story is this: We were in Scotland, which is in the UK, meaning High Streets and charity shops with lots and lots of cheap secondhand books. Our kind of paradise. And having lived for the past 8 years in a non-English speaking country, a little like seeing the daylight upon being rescued from your evil stepfather’s basemen–no, not quite that bad. Maybe more like being released from prison after 10 years, only without the blood debts and the samsara of criminal entanglement… also no? I know: its like coming out of your log cabin at the beginning of Spring and seeing the snow melting away and the crocuses pushing through. Okay? Okay. Suffice it to say, we visited a lot of them, Oxfam, Cancer Research, Heart Foundation, and all the others jostling for attention, and every one eerily identical.
We were in a dedicated bookshop by Oxfam and had stumbled upon First among Sequels and One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde but weren’t sure if we should/could take them as we were travelling light, First among Sequels was in hardcover, and I was already carrying 6 vintage cardboard world globes, almost exactly the sort of design thing you don’t want to fall in love with when backpacking Scotland (or anywhere else) when a girl came down the aisle, espied the books in our hands and exclaimed, ‘Damn! If only I’d been here 2 minutes earlier!’ after which of course we had to buy them, and with a guilty tickle.
First among Sequels is the fifth book in the Thursday Next series. The book before that, Something Rotten, is actually one of my favourite books and I have no excuse for why I never sought out the sequels except maybe we all sometimes just want to hold on to that special, perfect feeling after reading a really good book and not risk breaking the spell. It’s stupid but also real, so maybe not so stupid?
-Reading the Why