Blogathon 20/24: Book find!

I meant to blog about this one a few months ago but, you know…

We went to Hay-on-Wye (not Hay-oh-Why, that’s a place that doesn’t exist). The ‘we’ on this occasion were two mostly adults, two mostly children, and four unbelievably well-behaved dogs. Hay-on-Wye is probably the book capital of the world, but it is definitely, as the sign on the way into the town says ‘The World’s First Book Town’.

The official Hay On Wye website lists thirteen bookshops in the town, but I’ve counted twenty-five as I milled aimlessly around the streets. Anyway. Everyone who has been to Hay has their favourite bookshop. Mine is the Cinema; three floors of books, acres of books, a beautiful Welsh Language section, and all books categorised and in immaculate order. It’s brilliant, and I love the Cinema and everything it stands for and supports. Here’s one corner of less than 10% of one floor in the Cinema.

One of my early favourite reads was an English writer by the name of Adam Hall. I was addicted to his books; Adam had a uniquely edgy style of writing that defied literary convention. His books caught a lot of imaginations, to the point where the BBC commissioned a series based on one of his books. Unfortunately the translation of edgy, convention-defying literary work into television drama did not work well, but the BBCs intentions were good, though misguided. Some work needs to stay in the original format.

I was such a fanboy of his work, I wrote to Adam (real name: Elleston Trevor, but more of that in a moment) and he (and his wife, Jonquil) wrote back from their home in Arizona. We corresponded for years; they were both encouraging and helped me develop a style for my own writing. Under the name Elleston Trevor he wrote the book ‘Flight of the Phoenix’ which was twice made into a film. The first one starred James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Kruger, and Ernest Borgnine amongst others.

While I was browsing the thousands of shelves in the Cinema, I visited the appropriate section and did an alphabetical search of old friends. I was delighted to find two books by Adam Hall so naturally I bought them.

When I got back to the caravan, I picked up and opened the first book and out dropped an A5-sized piece of paper. It was a typed letter on Daily Telegraph headed paper. The letter was from the Literary Editor of the Telegraph, addressed to a book reviewer on the Telegraph’s staff, asking him to turn around a review of the book I was holding! I felt as if I’d discovered something of significant historical value. I still do. But I’m probably the only person who thinks this way.

2 thoughts on “Blogathon 20/24: Book find!

  1. Not at all: I’d be thrilled to find something like that hidden in a book!
    OK, that’s one down for the Kindle. I’ll give you that.

    I’ve never really understood pseudonyms.
    I think Elleston Trevor is a far more interesting name than Adam Hall.

    1. He wrote under a few different names. Each name he wrote under, he developed an individual style; the Adam Hall books do not read like Elleston Trevor books. However, I treasure that little A5 letter.

Comments are closed.