Jan 22, 2009

Meme: the Bookshelf

I saw this meme going around the book blogs several weeks ago, first spotted it at Eva's The Striped Armchair. I kept thinking I wanted to get around to it myself, but never did until finally Janet from Across the Page tagged me, so I figured I'd better do it soon! These questions took a lot more thought than I expected.

Tell about the book that’s been on your shelves the longest.

Can I do more than one?

My daughter has inherited most of my picture books. I think The Little Red Caboose is the oldest one. I can't remember where it first came from, it's just always been there in my memory.

The oldest book on my own shelves, that's harder. Most of the paperbacks I kept for years and years have gradually been replaced by newer copies of themselves. Here's one of the few mass market paperbacks I have left; as you can see, it's about ready to fall apart. I can't count how many times I've read Tolkien's Smith of Wooten Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. It's charming and funny and very insightful, too.

Tell about a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (i.e. a person, a place, a time, etc.). . .

When I was a young girl I used to visit an elderly woman in my church, and read to her from the scriptures, as her eyesight was failing. When she was in the hospital I visited her there as well, and I remember reading the 23rd Psalm aloud until I had it almost memorized.

This book, Ride the Laughing Wind, was a gift from her. It took me a long time to read it, but when I finally did I enjoyed it very much. It's a curious novel placed in history, among Native Americans of the southwest. I think they were Anasazi, but I'm not sure. The story is about a young woman who remains alone with two young boys from her tribe, and how they survive in the desert. Whenever I pick this book up I remember of the woman who gave it to me.
A book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used bookstore, prize, etc.):

Once when on a road trip with my family, we stopped in a small town somewhere to eat and there just happened to be a used book store across the street. Of course, I had to go in. I was thrilled to find two books I really wanted, String Lug the Fox by David Stephen and Davita's Harp by Chaim Potok. I didn't have enough money on me for the two books, so after leaving them on the counter I ran back to the car and begged my mom for some more change. When I went back in the bookstore, I still didn't have enough for both, so I reluctantly put Davita's Harp aside. I was astonished and delighted when the lady at the counter said it was so nice to see a young person who loved reading (I think I was about fifteen) and she gave me both books for the price of one. It was totally unexpected, and I was so happy.

Tell about the most recent addition to your shelves. . .

Last week I got Invincible from Paperback Swap, because my husband recommended it, in his unceasing efforts to get me to appreciate football. Hopefully it turns out better for me than Get Your Own Damn Beer did. I had to wait a long time for it, though.

(Now we're waiting for a Scrabble Dictionary, so we won't have to jump up in the middle of our games to check definitions on the computer!)

Tell about a book that has been with you the most places. . .

Well, right now I really don't carry any one book with me on trips, as I'm usually reading something different every time. And most of my favorites have survived numerous cullings when I move, so I can't think of one that's been in more of my previous homes than the others. But for many, many years when I was religious, I took this book with me everywhere I traveled. And read it almost every night, too. It's been a while since I opened it, but I still have several well-worn and marked-in copies, one on the shelf and several others in closeted boxes.

Tell me about a bonus book that doesn’t fit any of the above questions. . .

This is probably the most treasured book on my shelves, and one I'm betting none of you have heard of before. It's a slim, aged volume called Echos from Tiverton, by one Fanny A. Durfee. The book itself is old, published in 1909 by a printer on Rhode Island named Thomas Clapp. The book is full of poems, and its author is an ancestor of mine. I'm not really keen on poetry, but I've read this volume all the way through. Many of the poems (if I remember rightly) are odes to people- family members, friends, members of the community, who had passed away. Others commemorate weddings and births, or speak of faith. I handle this book with care when I open its pages to glimpse into the past.

Now I'm supposed to tag some other bloggers. So (if you haven't already done this meme!) I tag Chris, Nymeth, Chartroose, Raych, Jessica, Bookfool, Natasha- oh wait, did it say five? (see rules below) well whoever's reading this and wants to join in, please do, because I'd like to tag all of you!

The Rules
1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…
5. Make the meme more fun with visuals! Covers of the specific edition you’re talking about, photos of your bookshelves, etc.


Ana S. said...

I've done the meme already, but thanks for thinking of me, Jeane. And I enjoyed reading your answers :) I like the story about Ride the Laughing Wind. The Tolkien book is one I haven't read it, but I really want to get to it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jeane! I'll work on this when I get the chance.

Melissa said...

"Echos From Tiverton" - what a treasure for you! To have a book written by an ancestor ... that is really incredible.

Susan said...

lovely post and meme, Jeane! I really enjoyed looking at your books and sharing in your memories about them. I especially like the 'Echoes from Tiverton' book - a writer in your family! what a treasure. I have owned the Tolkien book and then it was one given away when I moved, and I haven't picked it up again yet.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

The only book I've read out of all of these is The Book of Mormon (when I was a freshman in college I read it cover to cover). I love that you've passed your old books on to your daughter. I hope to do the same one day.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your answers. And I've never seen that Tolkien book! I'm curious about it.

I did the meme quickly, but found I kept thinking about the questions even after I posted.


KT said...

My husband's brother read the Famer Giles of Ham to my husband starting when he was really young - like 4. He still talks fondly of that book.

What a fun meme!