We were getting some dips and stuff in Sainsburys some time ago, Daughter and I. I rarely go, but we were alone for the evening and wanted something nice. We exited through the aisle where you can now buy books. Which is nice. Overheard a man with small daughter ask her if she wanted a nice book. That too is very nice. That he’d ask and that she’d get something along with the potatoes and fish fingers. I just prayed silently ‘not one by DW, please!’.
Have no idea what she got. But we got ourselves a Philip Pullman. That was nice, but somehow a little unexpected, along with the dips and stuff.
It was The Imagination Chamber, about which we knew nothing. I took it to be the short book they publish while impatiently waiting for the last Book of Dust. Just to let us have some crumbs. (Seems it might not have been, as I have since found out about another short Pullman to come soon.)
I could tell it was going to be possible to read it in about fifteen minutes. To tell the truth, I wasn’t hopeful. But, you know, it was rather lovely. I found myself in the His Dark Materials world again, reading – very short – snippets about many of the characters we already know. I don’t think they were borrowed from the books. And they probably weren’t ‘deleted scenes’. Too good for that.
So yes, I enjoyed The Imagination Chamber. It was like poetry with friends. And the physical book is beautiful, especially in these days of carelessly churned out book covers. Thick paper and red edges. It’s a volume you want to hug and stroke a bit.
So what were they doing sticking an almighty price sticker on the back, which is ugly, it is not even straight, and I daren’t try to remove it because the first tentative pull didn’t yield in a promising manner.
But yes, all the rest is lovely.