J. Murray was a young bride in 1929. She and her husband arrived on Read Island in the Discovery Group to homestead through the Depression. They left in 1939 for the US. Forty years later she wrote a book about it. The Flip of a Coin. It was published by a now-defunct American firm and not executed very well. Poor editing. Bad pictures. Ugly cover. Left unregistered. The book itself is not particularly well-written either and the story is somewhat predictable (to Sally and me) in that a previously rich young woman from the city comes to love the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and living the simple life. Sal said her story was very similar to our own and, though set almost a hundred years ago, reveals experiences and lessons like ours.
Bookclub found it to be a fascinating book. “Why?” Because the book reflects so much of what life is still like out here, because the author and the book club women have such similar stories, and because she wrote about THEIR actual neighbourhood, the same logging roads, the same beaches. Even the old store and school. They have all walked in each other’s shoes and on the same pathways. And not a great deal has changed in 100 years.
Anyway, one of the book club women found a copy or two and shared the story around the club and all the members wanted to read it. But the books themselves were in rough shape. Pages missing. Poor binding. So another member volunteered to re-type it all and Sal volunteered to format it, edit it and get it ‘print ready’. Digitally ready.
Of course, reprinting someone else’s book is NOT kosher. Even tho it was an American publisher and the author was a Canadian, there is no trace of either and all the book club’s efforts in finding any living link to the book were to no avail. So, then they checked with a copyright lawyer and that turned out to be inconclusive with vague assurances qualified by mild but ominous warnings.
‘What to do?’
They finished re-writing it but they will not publish it. Of course, they will print a few copies for the book club members to read but there will be no money involved, no costs, no exploitation. All credit still attributed to the author and the publisher. Complete and full disclosure. They should be OK. In effect, the book club has done something for posterity with their intent only a noble and an unselfish one.
We’ll see. But no good deed goes unpunished.
“Why tell us?”
Well……if it is all deemed eventually safe legally speaking, we may ‘loan’ a copy or two to readers. Maybe. But mostly because it illustrates so well that all sorts of things get done out here on a not-for-profit or even non-monetary model by ‘volunteers’ . That is an important part of the OTG story and it is well represented by their work on this little old book. They also do Quilts. Food. Garden produce. Fish. Home care. Books. Garbage dumping. Wood-getting. Neighbours helping neighbours. Construction. Ride-sharing. The community even raised enough money to buy a piece of land – for the good of the community in the future. The list never ends, the work never ends, the contributions never dry up and the work all gets done. Even an old book restoration!
Imagine all that same work needed doing in the city………who ya gonna call?
PS: a reader pointed out that the book is listed on Amazon but listed as out of print and with no price. Odd. We all looked on Amazon more than a few times but it WAS there…kinda…up on the site but NOT available.