I was musing the other day about books, as you do.
I found myself gazing at my bookshelves, and wondering thus: if something happened (natural disaster, vampire attack, you get the idea), and I had sixty seconds to to grab a dozen books to save, which would I pick?
THEN I got to wondering, what if I could only save ONE book.
I thought about this for a while. I had several cups of coffee and more than a few biscuits.
I have, as you may have gathered, a lot of books. But to save only one? Now there’s a puzzler.
There are a lot of books that I love, and regular readers will be well aware of my favourites. But a lot of those books could be replaced, even some of the signed copies or rare proof copies.
So it would have to be a book that really meant something. I started to delve deeper into the bookshelves. Ah, here we go. This is the one.
What we have here is a 1974 reprint of Harry Harrison’s book, The Stainless Steel Rat. Originally published in the UK by New English Library in 1966, this is the Sphere paperback, costing a whole 30p at the time of purchase.
Meet Slippery Jim diGriz
Cosmic criminal, the smoothest, sneakiest con-man in the known Universe. He can take any bank in the Galaxy, con a captain out of his ship, start a war or stop one – whichever pays the most.
So when the law finally catches up with the Stainless Steel Rat, there is only one thing to do – make him a cop. And turn him loose on a villainous lady who is building herself a battleship.
This is one of my all-time favourite books. It’s an absolute corking read which zips along barely pausing for breath. The thing I love about old sci-fi books is that they’re short, skinny little paperbacks that you can get through in a couple of hours, but packed with excitement, adventure and really wild stuff.
This is the story of Slippery Jim DiGriz, ace con-man, and titular Stainless Steel Rat, and his recruitment into the Special Corps, run by criminals to catch criminals. Who better to catch a thief than another thief? Brilliant.
So why this book? When I was young, my dad had a small bookcase in his office at work, and this was one of the books on it. I was drawn to it by the fabulous spaceship on the front and asked if I could read it. I was probably 7 or 8 at the time and so it’s quite possibly one of the first ‘adult’ books that I’d ever read.
I’m not ashamed to say that in my own writing, Monty owes a lot of his heritage to the Rat.
I’d choose this book over the many, many others because of that. It was my dad’s copy and has been with me for a very very long time. It’s ‘just a book’, but to me it’s irreplaceable.
I’m adding The Stainless Steel Rat to the Littlest Library.
Well, dear reader. What one book would you choose? Would you like to take part in this series? Let me know!
Rules of The Littlest Library
- You can save ONE book
- It can be any book, including your own if you’re an author!
- see rule #1
If you want to play, drop me a comment here, an email or DM on twitter. Authors, bloggers, publishers, book lovers, anyone can join!
3 thoughts on “The littlest library: what’s THE book?”
Call me a grumpy nervous bastard but if I’ve only got time to save one book, I’ll probably just use the head start to be a few steps ahead of the people who saved their book and hope I’ve only got to outrun them…
Although you have added the Stainless Steel Rat to my TBR.
Probably my first edition set of The Lord of the Rings