Friday, February 6, 2009

Very Old Friends

I'm making slow progress in the workroom clean-up. After reorganizing my writing corner, I moved to the bookshelves. These are the ones that hold some of my favorite books -- comfort reads that I turn to when I want to revisit a familiar story. And here I had to face the fact that some of my old friends were at the end of their useful lives, having been read to death -- by me.

Gene Stratton Porter's The Girl of the Limberlost belonged to my grandmother. She owned most of Stratton-Porter's books and, when I was lying in a darkened room with measles, my grandmother read Freckles to me. I've worn out and replaced most of these books, but somehow I've missed getting another copy of Girl. It's on my birthday wish list now and my husband is on the case. Still, I won't throw out this dear coverless copy, not just yet.

Four Dorothy L. Sayers books, read to pieces. Most of them were bought in the late seventies and have probably been read once a year. I bought replacement hardcovers some time ago but continued reading these. Now they really need to go.

Even as I dropped them into the paper recycling bag, I noticed how they were curved to fit my hand. But I was strong and off to the recycling center they went.

This hardback P.G. Wodehouse replaces an older one that had belonged to my parents and that I read as a teen and continued to read till it fell apart. This one's about twenty years old and still in good shape -- though a little puffy from having fallen into the water once when I fell asleep while reading in the bathtub. Good for another twenty? Probably, but it might not hurt to keep my eyes open for a replacement.

Just look at those tidy shelves! E.F.Benson, Daphne DuMaurier, Elizabeth Goudge, Madeleine L'Engle, C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Gene Stratton-Porter, Mary Stewart, Angela Thirkell, J.R.R. Tolkien, and P.G. Wodehouse take up most of the space -- my very old friends, all dusted and tided anew.

Posted by Picasa


TheWritersPorch said...'s a painful thing to toss a book huh? My daughter is coming today to spend a few days and help me remodel the Porch.I won't be tossing any since my first Library burned and nothing here was bought before 1986. I do have some very old books, but they are in good shape. We will be adding new shelves, room for more!
MISS BIRDIE and others!
Your shelves look great! Are those paintings by chance your's?

Vicki Lane said...

Hey,Carol -- yes, those are my work -- except for the one on the middle shelf to the right. That was a gift.

New shelves -- what a treat!

Karen Buys said...

So many of your old friends are also mine. Given that I have to take the few I haven't read as a suggestion and go look them up! I hate getting rid of books - even ones I didn't like or have completely worn out. I'm contemplating a wall of shelves in the living room so the books piled up all over the ping pong table in the basement have a place to live. My favorite sweatshirt says, "There's no such thing as too many books" and that is obviously my motto for life!

Susan M. Bell said...

My goal for this year, besides a new couch (or at least a recliner), is to put up some bookshelves in the living room. I have tons of books in boxes and no idea what all I have. I am looking forward to finding out.

Vicki Lane said...

Whole lotta shelf building going on!

I'm in Birmingham tonight for Murder in the Magic City tomorrow and just back from having dinner with some other writers. A lovely free range conversation led me to mention Madeleine L'Engle and the woman sitting next to me said,"I loved WRINKLE IN TIME and always wished there were more."

I had the delightful pleasure of telling her that, yes, the adventures of the Murry family go on for several books.