#BookMatters and old pressed flowers

Book matters

Do you have books that have a special place in your heart?

Maybe from your childhood?

I remember those Mum read to me featuring Noddy or Brer Rabbit or the standard stories about Cinderella or The Ugly Duckling. But I also remember my dad’s set of encyclopaedias – The Book of Knowledge.

Image: stack of leather-bound encyclopaedias.
The Book of Knowledge collection

He bought them before I was born and when Mum downsized after we lost him I found room for them on my own shelves, where they still sit. The set consists of eight encyclopaedias and a massive dictionary. This was my working dictionary for many years, before the dictionary built in to my word processing programs became detailed enough for me. The pages on all of these volumes are as thin as skin on old hands and have become creased and foxed over the years. The covers are cool, silky leather and the gilt lettering is easily legible. I expect that some of the information has been superseded by new discoveries and later amendments but there’s still something magical about those colour plates and the sheer breadth of information on these pages.

There are dry-looking articles.

Image: standard black and white article
Standard black-and-white article

But also illustrated poems or ‘colour plates’ that glow with life.

Image: illustrated rendition of The Ancient Mariner.
Illustrated rendition of ‘The Ancient Mariner’

And there are a few pressed flowers among the pages, which I put there when I was a kid. There are also little heaps of dust that’s all that’s left of some! I guess that at some time in the intervening decades I ought to have found another way to preserve them.

I wonder whose wedding I wore this buttonhole for?

Image of dried buttonhole from wedding within the pages of the book.

With the internet at my fingertips on my computer, phone and tablet I never refer to these books now but I still like to keep them as a memory of Dad and of the little girl who used to sit with him to turn the pages (while he had one eye on the cricket on TV).


Filed under Sue Moorcroft

8 responses to “#BookMatters and old pressed flowers

  1. Dave Lowry

    Brings back happy memories. My Dad bought me the Books of Knowledge and the Arthur Mee’s Children’s encyclopaedia. If I asked a question I was always encouraged to look up the topic and then discuss.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lindsey Russell

    I had a six volume set of children’s encyclopedias – unfortunately as a child I had no control over what I could keep and when my mother decided I had outgrown them they were gone.
    Many many years ago I bought a set of encyclopedias published in the 60s because I thought they were good research for any stories set during that period as it would stop modern discoveries sneaking in.
    I also have many old motoring atlases for the same reason – can’t have character using the M25 when it wasn’t there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a really good way of doing authentic research, Lindsey. I keep an old map of Malta for the street names I knew (English) as it’s sometimes handy to cross-reference when researching. I guess it’s the same thing.


  3. What a lovely reminder! I grew up with my father’s ‘Newne’s Pictorial Knowledge’ on the shelves, already old by then. From the books, I learned about so much, from ‘Norse Myths and Legends’ (gory and surreal) to the workings of the human digestive system (interactive fold-outs at the back – also gory!). Lots more besides…
    And I too love a map. Very powerful is a map!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Famous Five books, Malory Towers, St Clare’s and Chalet School were my favourites. And I still have them all in the attic 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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