0 comment Sunday, August 31, 2014 |

As I've mentioned before, I love old books of all kinds, especially reference books, histories, anything factual. It's vital, I think, to read what was written before the present politically correct regime got a stranglehold on the West. So I go on regular forays to local stores (antique and second-hand stores) which sell old books. The thrift shop in my town is an extraordinarily good place to find unusual old books, and to find them at bargain prices. I've found a lot of old books (from 50 to 100 years old) for as little as 25 or 50 cents each. Some of them are not books that are easily found, although from a real bibliophile's viewpoint, they may not be valuable books. Their value to me is in the information they contain, as well as the glimpse into the un-propagandized minds of earlier eras. As the older generations die off, our only contact with the saner world of the past is via old books.
I've got quite a stack of books which I haven't had a chance to read yet, or books which I have browsed but not read through, but here are a few of the recent books which I was particularly pleased to find.
The Standard Dictionary of Facts - published in 1917, 908 pages. "A Practical Handbook of Ready Reference."
The New Dictionary of Thoughts - edited by Tryon Edwards, D.D., published in 1930, 732 pages.
This book is one that I have relished browsing through; as my readers know, I love collecting quotations, and this one is a collection of quotations, many of them from sources who are unfamiliar to our era. Have any of you ever noticed how, for example, Bartlett's has changed through the years? Now they cite such founts of wisdom as 'pop culture' icons and celebrities, and of course they've gone multiculti and Politically Correct, big-time. It's easy to see the shibboleths and prejudices of an era by the quotations that are selected for books like Bartlett's, and by the online sources that are collections of quotes. So this old book of quotes is a real breath of fresh air, speaking of a very different time.
The Joy of Words - by J.G Ferguson, published in 1960. This one is something of an oddity. "Selections of Literature, expressing beauty, humor, history, wisdom and inspiration...which are a joy to read and read again."
Sisson's Word and Expression Locator - by A.F. Sisson. Published 1966.
A Treasury of American Heritage - A Selection from The Magazine of History, including articles from the years 1954-59. Published in 1960. This is a coffee-table sized book, with many wonderful colorplates.
A World of Movies - by Richard Lawton. I can't find a publication date, but it appears to be from the 70s. There are also lots of beautiful pictures in this book.
Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in New England, by David P. Hall. Published 1989.
The previous owner of this book wrote some amusing notations on the dust jacket, and on the flyleaf. Next to the author's picture, he has written "A diehard liberal -- a democrat [sic] no doubt!" On the title page he says "a distortion of true Christianity, written by a nonbeliever. Full of falsehoods, completely misreads the Puritans."
I haven't read it yet, but the previous owner, judging by his notations, sounds like a man after my own heart, though I would have expected liberal bias, considering its publication date. Anyway I hope to read it sometime soon.
I'm also a collector of old cookbooks and recipe books and booklets, and in recent months I've found quite a few from the 1920s through the 1960s. One I was particularly thrilled with is a book called 'The Art of Cooking and Serving', by Sarah Field Splint, published in 1932. It has some nice illustrations on the cover, very typical of that era. Recipe books, too, tell a story of how our country and culture have changed. Still, I enjoy the cookbooks for their own sake.
A few months ago, in my local thrift shop I found a Geneva Bible, which is something I have been wanting for some time, and I've priced them online. I've found they are quite expensive. So I found a Geneva Bible, in very good condition, priced at $5. I passed it up -- only because my bookshelves are groaning under the existing weight, and there are already books with no 'home' stacked around the place, here and there, and the Geneva Bible was a large tome. But afterwards I regretted not buying it, and went back -- to find it's gone, unsurprisingly. Somebody got a wonderful buy.
I suspect that my town is something of a treasure trove of antiques, old books and ephemera because the people who live here are readers of books, and they are also very frugal, tending not to throw valued things like books and antiques away but to carefully keep them throughout the decades. Many of these old book collections and antiques are likely things that have been given away, sadly, on the death of the owner, or when the owners have to leave their homes to go to assisted care or nursing homes. Sad to say, I think the younger generations will not be so careful of possessions as the older folks in this area so obviously are.
So what's on your bookshelves, readers? What are you reading?