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.
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 I expect that some of the information has been superseded by new discoveries and later amendments but there’s still something magical about those colour plates and the sheer breadth of information on these pages.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.
But also illustrated poems or ‘colour plates’ that glow with life.
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?
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).