Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Thrill of it all

I love old books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the way the pages turn. I love the feel of the leatherbound ones because their covers and spines are soft as butter and there is no doubt whatsoever that they are leather. I love the cloth covered books because you can imagine the cotton that made the cloth growing in some field long ago, in Egypt or the United States, picked, cleaned, spun into threads, woven into cloth, so many hands having a part in it's disposition that the very history of the cover itself is intriguing. I love the smell of old books because it takes you back into long time past in a way that a new printing of the same title can't do. I try to read a book a week at the very least, but usually it's two. I'll read a new novel or perception of history, one based on true crime, but alongside it I'll have an old book. I know everyone knows that my absolute favorite is Kipling's "Thy Servant a Dog", it's no secret. It is probably my very favorite of all. When I open the portals of an old book, the feel and smell of it pulls me into the era to which it relates. The first time I read Kidnapped I could feel young David Balfour's story unfolding...feel it as if Mr. Stevenson was sitting in the room and the tale poured out of his pen like silk from the bolt. When we lived in Beaconsfield (Bucks) I absolutely haunted the old Penn Book Store. The books were old but mostly in fine condition. We collected Wm Shakespeare, Mr. Stevenson, Charles Dickens (oh so many of Mr. Dickens) and Rudyard Kipling. It was like mining diamonds. Today I was going through some of the books on a shelf and pulled down The Queens Book of the Red Cross (1939) wherein she had written a personal note to the purchasers of the book and thanking them, for their contribution would be filling the coffers of the Red Cross. Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) was so brave during war time, refusing to leave for the safety of Canada, she stayed with her people, living in the very real terrors of war with her daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. This book means so much to me. It is filled with the works of the best of the time, proving once again how generous and caring are the English. Books. I love the new ones, too. But the old ones are the ones that transport me through time and space. I lovingly look forward to Christmas so that I can open A Christmas Carol for about the one hundredth time in my life. Tonight Marley will come knocking. I'll open the door gladly .

14 comments:

Adla said...

Nothing like an old book and a good cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows :) Thanks for the shout out Sandi, I've been around just having a bit of a hectic week with emergency bathroom renovations going on at home and so I've been grounded to the noise of drilling and the smell of sealant and all of that. I miss coming over for your reads, I have a lot to catch up on, The man you want for christmas ;) is very VINTAGE indeed! nice one :)
Hugs, Adla

justabeachkat said...

Oh, there's nothing like a good book. Just wish I had some time to enjoy one now. Too much to do. I'll on the run.

Christmas hugs!
Kat

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Sandi, I love reading too! I have just started having an interest in old books. I have been looking in antique stores at books lately..Haven't found a treasure yet, but will continue to look.
Penny

Liz said...

Yes, I too love reading, possibly inherited from my very English Mother who was a Librarian, can't do Dickens tho' makes me depressed.
Just want to say, I sent Rachael to you, mainly to laugh at your account of the installation (or lack of it) and the Taser Gun story, we are both still laughing today -your humour is similar to ours which not everybody understands:):)
Hugs from N.Z.
Liz and Hamish and Martha!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Hi Sandi, Your post are always so interesting. I love reading too, so much so that if I don't have fresh reading material around I get anxious. Is that an addiction? A good one I think. In my reading chair right now is The Collectors...one of Balducci's books but no time for reading today. Gotta' spiffy up the house a bit because neighbors are coming over this evening for some holiday cheer. Have a great day! ~ Lynn

Country Cottage Chic said...

I love old books too - in fact I love books in general - I don't know how people can bear to part with them!

Mary said...

How true
when my husband asked me what I wanted for Chrsitmas I told him to go to the charity shop and get me a bag full of books to read ! I hope he's done that!!

Barbara said...

Thanks for dropping by and nice to meet you. I am sure yu would appreciate visiting Kiplings Home and Dickens. I will eventually post on Kiplings home as we enjoyed our visit there.
Love your cat.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Ohhh, Sandi, I'll be over for a good listen to "A Christmas Carol" as read by yourself and some Velveeta fudge. What is that btw?

Terri and Bob said...

LLLLLLOve old books. The smell is what gets to me... I imagine that the air around the book is as old as the book itself, that I am breathing in air that was around in the 1800s!

Katherines Dream said...

I too love old books, infact I love books.......I have hundreds.
I am trying to read 3 at the same time and not confuse them!
Hugs,
Carol x

Jodie Adams said...

I love the Christmas Carol. It is wonderful. Thank you so much for the cards and gifts. The earrings are so adorable. I am planning to wear them on Christmas Eve to our outings. I love them! Maddy was so excited about her money. She was like "I am rich!!" She also liked her card, too cute. I should have known you would have all cat cards. So I posted a few things go check it out!! Love to you and Uncle Wally!

Jenn and Jacqui said...

Hi Sandi, nothing like a good book, a comfy armchair and a cup something yummy, preferrably with marshmallows floating on top! We have shelves and crates full of second hand books rummaged whilst on holiday, love old books, old book stores, book fairs, we can spend hours just browsing! No time to read though at the moment, maybe over the holidays! Jenn and Jacqui xo

joan said...

Oh we have a love of books in common. I am a book person ever since I learned to read. I have about five books on my nightstand right now.