Lost Library

The Wind in the Willows, illustrated by Tasha Tudor

Over the years I’ve owned thousands of books, so many that if I still owned all of them I could start a small library. I’ve kept a few precious books from childhood, including The Wind in The Willows (from which I would, as a child, frequently quote a poem by Ratty [“Duck’s Ditty”]), some picture books, and a volume of The Complete Poetry of Robert Frost.

There’s also On City Streets, a slim, quality paperback of poems about urban life by poets such as Langston Hughes. Based on the copyright date, my parents gave that to me when I was about nine or ten. It intrigues me that they saw a healthy interest in me about other cultures here in our own country, worlds outside of my white suburban home.

go-ask-aliceI kept few of the dozens , if not hundreds, of books I collected as a teenager, except my 40th anniversary edition of Gone With the Wind, a favorite of mine and surprisingly, many of my friends as well, who generally leaned to more contemporary literature. Of course I owned a copy of Go Ask Alice, well-worn and clandestinely loaned to some of my friends whose parents wouldn’t let them read it. You can still find Go Ask Alice, and the cover is identical to the book I bought more than 40 years ago.

dorothy-parkerAs an adult, I’ve donated then re-purchased several books, including To Kill a Mockingbird and Rebecca.  I save very few, but still have The Portable Dorothy Parker (such wonderful short stories!) and several of Anne Tyler’s novels (I keep watch out at the nearby used book store for hardcover  editions of Breathing Lessons or Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant.) Many of the books I buy today I forward to my mom after I’ve finished reading them. In fact, I frequently scour that same used book store for something I think she’d like. She’s always looking for a good book.

I think of stories long out of print that had an impact on me, such as Garson Kanin’s A Thousand Summers. I wonder if I’d find it just as engrossing today.

I wouldn’t have room for all the books I’ve owned over the years, and perhaps it would be selfish to hang on to them anyway, when so many others could be enjoying them. Still, I’d like the opportunity to peruse that “library” and pick out a few to keep today.


13 Replies to “Lost Library”

  1. I used to read when I was a teenager, Nancy Drew was my favorite. But after high school I read sporadically and now not really at all. I wish I did read more as I feel it’s so enriching for the soul and mind. I’ve tried a few times but find I read a few pages and start to fall asleep as they tire me. I love that you have read so many books and continue to do so!! What’s your favorite(s)? If you had to pick just one as your favorite, could you and why that one?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Go Ask Alice must have been a rite of passage; I read that one, too. Whew! Such a good one. Dorothy Parker–I love her, and have that same book! Oh, she had such zingers, didn’t she? I have culled my books many times, but still have so many. I love them all; my younger son is just like me. He and I loan and recommend so many books that we each have read already…unbeknown to the other. We are so much alike!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dorothy Parker hit the nail on the head in her short stories, and they’re so topical yet today. I love that you and your son share the same taste in books. My mom and I do, too, and I’m always looking for something to send her, hoping she hasn’t read it already.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Last your for my birthday (which, btw, is tomorrow!), my son came over and was so happy to give me this book that he knew I would just love. He was so right–I had just bought the book the week before! I felt bad but love that we know each other that well. It is such a cool thing, isn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We do keep a decent library but in recent years have adopted a buy one, donate one attitude whereby when we buy a new one any incumbent book we don’t feel remains a “keeper” gets donated so another reader (or readers!) can benefit.

    Liked by 1 person

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