First Time, First Love…

…Oh what feeling is this, electricity flows, with the very first kiss…

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Yes I’m sure everyone remembers the first time they heard that Coca-Cola commercial back in 1988. But I’m talking about the first time. Do you remember that?

That first glance, you know, the one that made your heart skip a beat. The first touch, the one where you just knew that something special was about to start. Those engaging first few minutes of conversation, so intriguing yet familiar. And the more you get to know, the more you like. You begin to feel like you have known each other your whole life. Then all of a sudden, things begin to get really serious, and eventually you come together for the most amazing climax you have ever experienced.

You never forget your first time.

You put the book back on your shelf, and you make a start on the author’s back catalogue.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and you have most of the author’s books on your shelf. You maybe decide that it’s necessary to clear out your bookshelves, and you reluctantly give away your collection of their books. But you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of the first one. The first book will always have a special place in your heart.

Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie. Body of Evidence, Patricia Cornwell. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway. The Sleeping Doll, Jeffrey Deaver. The Scarecrow, Michael Connelly. Dark Winter, David Mark. (The last three are personalised, signed editions. You think it’s hard to get rid of a first book? Try getting rid of one that has your name and its author’s on the the same page).

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I recently made a start on a new author (at least for me). British author Jim Grant, writing under the pen name of Lee Child, whose six-foot five protagonist Jack Reacher was recently played by pint-sized actor Tom Cruise in the film adaption of One Shot. Last year I went through a phase last year of buying new books in Waterstones, and Child’s One Shot, with Cruise’s picture on the cover was one of the ones I purchased. Since I have an addiction to acquiring second-hand books, I picked up a couple of his other books at my favourite free bookstore in Chiswick, before even having read the one I paid for from Waterstones. Make of that what you will.

Last week, on the tube home, I spied a fellow commuter reading one of Child’s books. And suddenly I wanted to make a start on one of those three paperbacks I had at home. So last weekend, I devoured the one with the golden cover, The Affair, in one sitting. Today I finished The Hard Way, and later I will start on that still brand-new and untouched copy of One Shot.

I know I cannot keep these three books. I already have far too many, and so after I read books I’m now trying to put them directly into the pile to go to the charity shops. But the one with the golden cover, The Affair, I feel it tugging on my heartstrings. Because it was the first.

I probably need to stop being so sentimental about books. The same with a lot of stuff that I hoard. But I proved that I could give up Coca-Cola, so I’m sure I can give up books too.

First time, first love…

First Time – Robin Beck (1988)

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