In this new age of Kindle’s, Nooks, iPads, ad nauseum, the tactile pleasure of a book is quickly being replaced with something far less enjoyable.  Even the books that are made today (with the exception of a very few publishers like Taschen and Phaidon) are so cheaply made that the sensory pleasure is all but lost.

I still fondly remember turning the parchment-like pages of my grandfathers 1919 edition Encyclopedia Britannica …its pages fragrant and substantial.

I collect books, the older the better.  My proudest publications are a Grimm Household Stories from 1889 (you know, Grimm Fairy Tales) with 240 illustrations, a few plates in color with sheer vellum to protect them, and a first edition (1940) “I Married Adventure” by Osa Johnson, loving and incredibly dedicated wife of Martin Johnson…the cover is in a fabric-like zebra patterned basketweave and the pages transport me to Africa, Borneo and all the far-flung places they visited.  Even just looking at the cover makes me happy.

My other FAVORITE is by Vincent & Mary Price, A Treasure of Great Recipes, which is incredibly hard to find as well as two other cookbooks they cowrote.  I truly feel their passion and love of cooking when reading through the pages…

Yesterday, while with a bit of extra time to spare in Greensboro (home of UNC-G, where I’m getting my Masters currently) I stumbled upon not one, but two used bookstores adjacent to each other (on Spring Garden Street if you’re ever in the area).  One of them is owned by a relatively young guy (30 maybe) and there I found old, but not rare books like Return to Sender by Raymond Mungo, The World of Venice by Jan Morris (I was just there in November so feeling a bit nostalgic) and Nigella’s tome on being a domestic goddess (I already am, my fiancé would say!).  What can I say, I love to cook/bake!

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The last book I picked up at the other store, the one with older, more rare titles.  Its a 1926 first edition called “A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy” with lovely illustrations by Norah Guinness, like this one…

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I’m going to have fun, once I find the time to read them…still have a boatload of reading to do on Marie Antoinette, who I am writing about in my final paper for my class on Dress, Identity and Society…

Do you like old books?  Is there a favorite you’d like to share?

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