Under the Covers # 4 : His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

Under the Covers is a feature where I discuss the stories behind the books on my shelves. Why? I hear you ask. Well why not? Every book has a story, after all.

I’m going to take you back a bit… let’s say about twelve years. I was always a bit of a bookish kid and I have always been lucky in the sense that I have always been surrounded by books. My parents are readers and because of that, so am I.
Anyway, it was Christmas morning and I was practically vibrating with the amount of chocolate coins I had just consumed and I had almost finished opening my presents when I found one more present, hiding under the tree. Just waiting for me… to open it.


I’m kidding, I’m not sure whether I opened it first or last… but it sounds much more romantic if I had opened it last, right?
I probably don’t need to tell you what was inside.

I’d never heard of these books before. This was the Before Harry/Twilight era when children’s books weren’t talked about that much and there weren’t book blogs and blog tours to tell you what books you should be reading. I didn’t know anyone who had read these books but I think that made them all the more special. As much as I love talking about books and you know full well I don’t shut up about books I love, there is always a part of me that loves discovering new book on my own. That way, I can make my own mind up about it, come to my own conclusions about things and… well, become best friends with the characters.

There is nothing better than accidentally discovering your favourite book, new worlds and new characters.

If you’re a book purist and don’t even like putting books in your bag without wrapping them in cling film you should probably look away right now.

My copies have got sand in the spine, the pages are scuffed, they’ve got pen marks on them and I think they’ve even got the remnants of a poor green fly that got caught in my page-turning frenzy.
I mean, they won’t even fit into the box set they came in because they have been read so often!

And let’s not forget the tear stains.
And they are loved.

Those are the ones that I lend out to people.

This one, however…

…is staying with me. My brother gave me a book voucher for Christmas and I used it to buy this version. It’s one of my ultimate treasures and I love it completely.

Also, the fact that it’s signed helps too.

Where on the shelf?
I wish I had enough room for a shelf just of Philip Pullman’s books, but until then…

Also, as you know, His Dark Materials was hugely influenced by John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
If you didn’t know that, you’re obviously blind or you were so giddy about getting to the story you skipped over this page.

I’ve only ever read the first book of Paradise Lost for one of my modules at uni but I have always wanted to finish the whole book. I didn’t think I’d like it at all because I am not the biggest fan of classic books… mostly because they go way over my head. But I absolutely loved Paradise Lost and I’m desperate to read it in its entirety.

Here’s my copy of Paradise Lost in the pile of all my other uni books… or, well, the ones I didn’t fling out of the window. Looking at you, Heart of Darkness.

5 thoughts on “Under the Covers # 4 : His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

  1. No love for Heart of Darkness? I really liked reading that in college. Or maybe I just thought my teacher was a dorky babe. This post is interesting to me because I also have two copies of the trilogy but they are two totally different editions! I’m on the lookout for book 1 of one of them, though, because I can’t readily find it. The other one is rockstar metallic. Also, this series always embarrasses me a little bit because two of my guy college friends turned me onto it my sophomore year and I felt like I SHOULD’VE KNOWN ABOUT IT before they told me about it.

    • There are two other versions that I desperately want too! I saw this gorgeous copy of TSK in this second hand book shop but they didn’t have the other two! Keeping my eye out for them though.
      Rockstar metallic sounds brilliant.

      Ha, but aren’t you glad you got there eventually? :)

      ps And NO I dislike Heart of Darkness so much. I think it’s because my uni was sponsored by Joseph Conrad and we had to read it pretty much in every single module. I also watched Apocalypse Now in film. Just in case we hadn’t got our fill.

  2. I love these posts, Jo. I’m with you on well-worn, well-loved books – and then having special copies :) That is a beautiful edition you got signed.
    I really need to read this series! I read parts of Paradise Lost for uni too and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

    • Thanks Belle! I know what you mean. I’m always torn between keeping books pristine and then just reading the heck out of them, come what may.
      I thought with these ones, because they’re my favourite, I should buy two copies of them. :-D

      Have you ever read it since? We should do a readalong at some point.. the most epic readalong of them all! :-p

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