Tuesday, September 9, 2008

hello, my name is adair...

... and I am a book addict.

Yes, they say admitting the problem is the first step in recovery. But I am not so sure that this is necessarily something I want to escape. I just need more shelves. Lots and lots of shelves.

So last night I went to a sale, and while browsing the table nearly fell over when I peered into a box tucked far out of the way and spied leather, marbled papers, and gold letters. OLD BOOKS! But not just any old books. Rather the just-came-from-the-library-at-Monticello-I-need-to-have-these-yes-I-do old books.

I waited all night for them to come under the hammer, fidgeting in my seat to keep my nerves down that someone else had spied them and would want them as badly as I did.

As you can see by the pictures below, I was lucky enough to bring them home. To hold them and marvel at the illustrations only to have my mother pluck them from my grip and claim them for her office. When I lifted my voice in protest, I got the "But you're my best girl..." (never mind the fact that I'm her ONLY girl) "... and you know what's mine is yours, don't you?" How could I argue with that? All I would've gotten was the huge awkward labor story. So now they sit nestled quite cozily in her office.

Tutter's Practical Philosophy, Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns, The Waverly Novels: Book Twelve by Sir Walter Scott

See the marbled covers... love the marbled covers. Let sighs of happiness overtake you.

This book of sermons was published in 1831 and is signed by the first owner, John Lloyd, with the date June 10th, 1832. Don't you just ADORE the handwriting. Such distinction.

I'm looking forward to having kids someday just to be able to pull out the labor story at will on them.

Anyway, Karin posted today about some old books she had found recently and asked for opinions as to whether or not she should tear them apart for use in her artistic endeavors.

The advice I shared with her is what I will pass along to you. It pains me to think of lovely, old, rare books being torn asunder -- but like the rest of you, I love tucking old pages here and there in my vignettes. Here are my quick rules-of-thumb...

Never tear a book apart if it is...
a) part of a complete set that you have in your possession. The fact that they've survived together needs to be honored.

b) rare and/or valuable. Look for clues such as engraved illustrations, the quality of binding and materials, the subject matter, the publication date, and any signatures or "history" included in it's pages. Sometimes you will find newspaper clippings, letters, etc tucked inside.

c) falls into category a or b and is in good condition. The spine is tight, the pages are complete and don't show signs of loss or severe water damage.

d) of sentimental importance to you. Whether it was something passed down in your family or a treasure you unearthed in your travels -- it's irreplaceable.

There are plenty of books of varying ages at thrifts and garage sales that would be perfect to tear apart for projects without sacrificing anything. Look for antique books that have severe condition issues. This way you are using something that might possibly have been thrown away without you rescuing it. Or even consider taking more modern books that were mass-produced (I'm thinking from the 50's and 60's) and giving their pages a good dose of artificial age or weather.

So... in honor of fall's cooler weather and perfect days for curling up on the sofa with book, go get lost in some pages while I plot on how to get more shelves.

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