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 –
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.