OKay, I said I'd photograph the wonderful gift I've just received from the people at Random House. And here it is, though I found it very difficult to photograph. It is the "Giver" trilogy..the three books..beauifully leatherbound. If you click on the photos to enlarge them maybe you can get a teeny glimpse of the gold-tipped pages and the beautiul endpapers.
It was Random House, incidentally, that recently published the three books in a boxed set which includes the maps I drew of the three communities.
Looking at these, stroking the leather, reminds me of my grandfather. He was a banker, and I don't know, really, how literary he was, but he was of the age and culture that valued books; in his house was a room called "the library" which had a wall of bookcases. Those books were bound in beautifully colored leather like this, and I can recall the feel of them, and the smell...and the times when, very young - 4 or 5 - I sat on his lap while he read to me from Kipling or Longfellow. He always wore a suit with a vest and tie; I cannot recall ever seeing my grandfather in a sports shirt. Somehow that made it seem very important, the act of handling those books, of smelling that leather, of hearing those words...as if it were something one would naturally dress up for.
Surely it was summer, sometimes, when he read to me; but in my memory there is always a fire in the fireplace. And the 7 PM news has just ended, broadcast from a tall radio in the corner. War news. This would have been 1942, 1943. My father was over there, in that war. But my mother, in the memory, is seated at the desk, writing a letter. My grandmother, so tiny that her feet were resting on a small needlepointed footstool, is working on some kind of fragile embroidery. Very soon someone will take me up a long staircase with two landings, to my bedroom. But now, first, my grandfather will lift me into his lap, open the leatherbound book, and begin to read aloud. In the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn't pick up things with it......