This week’s Weekly Geeks question asks us
to write a post sharing with us what old antique books you may have on your shelves, and tell us the story behind them. Did you inherit from a relative? Are you a collector of old and rare books? Did you just discover a certain book in a used book store and couldn’t pass it up? What’s the very oldest book you have? Do you even like old books? Or do they creep you out? Do you read and enjoy your old books, or is it more a “look and don’t touch” thing?
Reading for me is about the stories and the words and I don’t much care what container they come in. So I am not a collector of antique books (or any other kind for that matter). But I do have this set of 20 leather-bound classic novels. They are not antiques and have no publication date inside them but a little googling suggests they were published around 1950.
The books belonged to my paternal grandmother who I never met because she died before I was born but I do feel oddly connected to her due to these books. The set used to live on the top shelf of the hallway bookshelf in my parents’ house. Being an early booklover and having read every other book in the house (we didn’t have that many, most of my books came from the library) I used to beg my mother to be able to read these and for a long time she said I wasn’t old enough. It wasn’t that the content was too mature for me but I had a habit of taking books everywhere with me at an early age (bath, beach, tree house, shoved in back pocket while riding to the park to read…) and my mum thought these deserved better treatment. In the summer holidays before I went to high school I apparently displayed enough sense for my mum to feel confident I wouldn’t take these to the bath and I read them all at least once during that summer break. My favourites at the time were Wuthering Heights (hey I was a teenage girl, it is a rite of passage to fall in love with Heathcliff) and Tales of Mystery and Imagination (yep I started my crime fiction obsession early).
Although the books have a lot of sentimental value for me they are definitely for reading (I have even loaned them to people) (but only people I trust not to drop them in the bath). I don’t really get the ‘look don’t touch’ thing when it comes to books. For me a book that is never read loses its lustre in the same way that a pearl never worn next to the skin is said to do. For a book to be the best book it can be it needs to be taken down from its shelf every now and again. Right?
What about you, do you own any antique books? Are you a collector? Do you have books that are to be seen and not read?