Book Memory…or imagined?

A comment from Victoria – on recent post A Pound of Paperabout a book she was trying to remember the title of, got me thinking about my own quest for a book from yesteryear that remains an enigma.

Back when I was in school, I vividly remember reading a book about a patchwork quilt. The details still stored in my brain are thus:

A child is fascinated with a quilt and each square patch provides a mini adventure for the narrator.  I believe the adventures were completely in the mind of the child, as opposed to actually being trapped in the quilt.

One section fascinated me above all, a tunnel was the particular patchwork picture this time, and the child is walking through it.  It’s dark and footsteps echo loudly, they sound like someone following, paranoia strikes and some running towards the light at the end of the tunnels follows ensues.

As I remembered those specifics as well as I did, it must still be worth a reread just for that specific section, and so at every opportunity I trawl lots of charity shops, market stalls, libraries, and of course bookshops on a quest to enjoy my bit of nostalgia.

Years pass, and after many children’s sections in plenty of bookshops.  I finally thought I had come across the book in a shop in Washington state called Adventures Underground. The title of The Patchwork Quilt made sense, the cover was familiar from my school days and I was blown away to have found it in the first bookshop I visited in America.  Not counting the airport bookshops which are always less than stellar, and feel a bit like being on international ground too.

Leafing through the book, it quickly turned out that I was mistaken, completely mistaken.  This was not the book I remember.  My good fortune turned to disappointment, which later turned to happiness as I wandered through the rest of the shop and enjoyed the diverse range of books on offer, especially the old local books.

Now, years later the trauma has subsided, and with seemingly less chance to source the book than ever, I wonder, did I conflate two books together?  Perhaps I have been chasing a misapprehension all this time, or maybe I will know it when I eventually come across it.  On a happier note, hunting for the book has given me the opportunity to discover books such as The Coral Island (review to come soon), and Bow Island, as well as other books not involving islands.

37 Replies to “Book Memory…or imagined?”

    1. It was disappointment only because I have been looking for the wrong book all these years. The title makes so much sense to the narrative I remember but perhaps I just made it up and am chasing a phantom. I have found some other good books that I never knew existed (and are without a doubt real) along the way so I can’t complain.

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    1. I blame it on all the books, so many books, ideas, thoughts and musings does complicate them things. It works to our advantage too, especially with murder mystery novels.

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  1. I find it fascinating how our memories sometimes seem 100%, but then something happens to make us wonder, sometimes even just listening to someone whose memory was even a little off of our own. Perhaps the book will show up somewhere and you will have your answer.😉

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    1. I am hoping so, but if not, I do have the memory (if it be correct or not) and will no doubt find more good books in the process so I really am a winner!

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  2. I know the feeling, Ste J. I read, or thought I had read a particular book in my younger teens. I have searched for the book over the past decades without success. I am beginning to wonder if I had dreamt of the book and characters! Hahah.
    Anyway, you have had a great result. Enjoy!

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  3. It’s a cracking premise for a book and if it turns out to be just a figment of your imagination you should definitely write the story!

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      1. I found a reading on YouTube, the tunnel isn’t the one in my memory but that is possibly down to all the other books since then. I had in my mind more description of the narrator walking through the tunnel but perhaps that was from something else as well. I really don’t now any more. I think that on days when I am content, you will have found the answer, and on days when I wish to buy books, my quest will go on. It seems the fairest way to deal with it.

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  4. This is really interesting Ste. I always had a strong memory of a book we read in primary school of people travelling with burdens on their backs – but the burdens weren’t just luggage, they were metaphorical burdens. I puzzled over it for years but then did a search on the web and found what I think it is – Enid Blyton’s ‘The Land of Far-Beyond’. You’ve prompted me to get a copy to re-read it and see how my memory recalls fits with reality.

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    1. I miss Enid Blyton, even though half of her stories were virtual repeats, although I haven’t read The Land of Far-Beyond. Consider me intrigued by it.

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