Lifting The Spirits #5

Old books. They might be secondhand but they’re still full of life. I just love them. There is a secondhand bookstore near my house and I am in there all the time. They have a fantastic poetry section. I hate to see an unloved book sitting on the shelf. I can’t help but buy it.

Here are some of the books I bought today –


Kenneth Grahame’s classic The Wind In The Willows. Originally published in 1908, this edition was reprinted by Methuen in 1959. To my delight I found this edition was illustrated by the glorious Arthur Rackham. A find indeed at four dollars. There is also an inscription which reads :

To Margaret at Christmas 1968

With love Chris

I love the inscriptions and the stories behind them almost as much as I love the books.

Speaking of inscriptions, I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this one –


Robert Gray is one of my favourite Australian poets. This inscription was actually written by him. I got such a thrill when I read this. Who was the most admired Vera and why did she give this book up? I really want to know.

Then there was a book which I remembered from childhood –

Green Fairy Book

The Green Fairy Book was published by Longman in 1949 and contains lots of unusual fairy tales written by Andrew Lang. I seem to recall that not all of the tales ended happily. It was such a joy to see this again.

Finally, in a moment of happenstance I found this book about butterflies –


It contains some gorgeous illustrations –


This book also contains some wonderful anecdotes about butterflies. My favourite is this one –

In many countries butterflies are not merely associated with magic and witchcraft but are considered to actually be fairies. The Germans and the Japanese claim that their fairy tricks include stealing butter and the cream from the top of the milk.

Old books. They have more than one story to tell. They definitely lift my spirits.

19 thoughts on “Lifting The Spirits #5

  1. There is something so rich and reassuring about old books. It’s like they still harbor hope and innocence between their covers.

    It would be great to bottle the lovely smell of the old bookstores and uncork it when one needs some reassurance or solace.


  2. I love old books too and I also ponder the personal inscriptions found in many of them. The Butterfly book, oh my….I would love to see this one, it looks magical. I am so loving your new series Sel. It does lift my spirits. bnhtyyffwrqaaadtf j56478ivbstifokujhggfhbvcstits45

    It’s wonderful and so are you!!!

    Hubghtdxd, G


  3. Hi Karen,
    Yes they do seem to harbour hope. I love the way you put that. I would certainly buy a bottle of Eau de Libris. I am always sticking my face in a book. Love the smell. The only thing that comes close is the smell of freshly baked bread!~

    HI Geraldine,
    That butterfly book is amazing. The illustrations are fantastic. I would love to be able to draw and paint like that. I am thrilled your spirits are being lifted. That makes me feel good!


  4. I love Wind in the Willows. Goulds bookshop is one of my favourites for the smell of second hand books……. the smell of a quietly thrilling afternoon.


  5. Hi Kate,
    Wind In The Willows is a wonderful book. I didn’t read it until I was in my twenties. Can you believe it? I don’t know why I didn’t read it as a child. I actually got these books from Gleebooks secondhand store in Glebe Point Road. But I love Goulds too. I have found some absolute gems there!


  6. Holey Mackeral, a signed copy of ‘Piano’, only 10 bucks. What a bargain. You have exquisite taste in addition to all your other marvelllous attributes, Selma.


  7. I love old books– and used book stores. There’s something about the smell and the way the pages feel that keep calling me back.

    Wonderful post. Thank you.

    And thanks a million for reading, commenting and following my blog! I really appreciate it! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you on the Giveaway. Don’t forget, every time you leave a comment on a new post between now and August 16th you receive another entry!



  8. ah the dusty old book shelves, withe a poof from you lips the you become transformed into anything you want to be. I could starve to death in a book store, especially ones like you described. I am insanely jealous. lovely, lovely post.

    I wish I understood more about depression. I have depressed times but not deep depressions and I am able to shake them off fairly quickly. I wish you were able to do so also.


  9. For years, I treasures a book picked up at a jumble sale, inscribed ‘To Diane. With best wishes. Enid Blyton’

    I never found out who Diane was; was she a friend of Enid Blyton, or did she just oick up the signature at a book signing, or something?

    (An author friend once told me … at book-signings, I use my nom-de-plume; for my friends, I sign with my real name’ Is this common, I wonder?)


  10. I love books – old and new – but I do like your book finds – I rarely come across inscriptions even though I do browse through old books – would have love to find one nice inscriptions but I guess I could live through you, thank you


  11. You have inspired me to go and visit a second hand book store I have been meaning to go to but haven’t as yet. What wonderful books you have found.


  12. PAUL:
    I couldn’t believe it. I have been trying to get a copy of Piano for years but was told it was out of print. I nearly fell over when I saw it and then when I saw Gray himself had signed it, it was like winning the lottery.
    You have to read this from ‘Fire Sermon’ :
    ” The lissome bay is silvered slightly, in its supine lightness;
    a stocking-textured water
    takes the morning’s cerise….”
    I am awestruck!


  13. JOANNA:
    I am glad to comment. I enjoy your blog. I often have to force myself to walk past old bookstores because if I go in I may not emerge until hours later. It feels like home to me!

    I’m the same. I’d spend all my food money on books if I could. When I was a student I never had any money to go out because all I did was spend the money I earned waitressing on rent and books.

    You are kind to say that about my black days. But really, they are manageable. I am an old pro at whipping them into shape!

    I really don’t know how common it is. I wonder too. Your Enid Blyton story is intriguing. I adored her books as a child, particularly The Magic Faraway Tree. Oh, that takes me back…….

    Oh absolutely. A pox on the Kindle, I say!

    Oh, please let us know if you find any gems. Hope you have fun!

    If I find any more I will certainly let you know. Don’t give up on the inscriptions. I know you’ll find one!

    It’s my pleasure. It’s always fun to talk about people’s treasures!


  14. old book stores with no ryhthm or reason (except to the owner) where stacks are stacked are like home to me. i can and have spent hours and hours in them…


    I love the chaos of an old bookstore. I love how you can find books about art on top of poetry and books about music on top of fiction. It’s like a treasure trove. So much fun!


  16. Hi TEX,
    Can you believe it? I actually gave a little squeal of joy. I loved those stories when I was a kid. If memory serves there was a Rose Fairy Book that was just awesome. I’m on the lookout for that now!


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