This is a post about the many people who have previously lived inside of our used books. I know — it sounds a little creepy at first, right? But I promise, it’s not.
What is it about a second-hand book store that makes one’s pulse race? It is the dust, or that lovely musty smell? Or is it just the enormous power of life that all these pre-owned volumes contain?
~ The oldest book I own is a copy of Goldsmith’s Works from 1872. The inscription is written in pencil, and it’s a little hard to see, but I adjusted the focus so that you can make it out.
Previously owned by John Somebody-or-Other. I can’t quite tell. It’s one of those catalogue-volumes with the really old, really nifty additional-materials pages.
There’s even a portrait of Goldsmith, and another one of his birthplace.
~ Here’s an inscription from the cover of my copy of Dickens’s A Child’s History of England. I’m fairly certain that it’s from 1893.
~ This is from my copy of Balzac’s Contes Drolatiques (Droll Stories), Volume 1.
Here are a couple of the plates from it:
~ I have a copy of The Legacy of Greece, edited by R.W. Livingstone, which is filled with essays on how Greek learning impacted many different areas of modern culture, such as literature, medicine, etc. (Obviously — my favorite essay is the one on literature. It’s very interesting.)
Mr. Holmes even had his own personal book stamps.
Pretty cool, right?
~ Anyway, another of my prized volumes is a copy of The Alhambra by Washington Irving.
Mr. Weaver even gives us his address! (Although I would presume that he’s either no longer living there, or no longer with us.)
A really neat thing, though, is how Mr. Weaver even went about sketching a map of the Alhambra’s interior. It’s a little faint, and it’s not easy to make out the words, but it’s still really awesome.
~ I have a first edition of Captain Caution from 1934, which was owned by Homer P. Cochran.
~ I also have two little Modern Library volumes, one of South Wind and another of Lord Jim, which were both owned by the same person, and inscribed in different years!
Thanks for reading, everyone — and I hope you enjoyed meeting some of the people who live inside of my books!
Who lives in your books?