Old Books: A Poetry Anthology, 77 Years Young

poemsThis old book got older in my care.

Its copyright is from 1936, but when I started carrying it around everywhere in 1989, it was in far better shape than it is today. The tape on the spine, the wear at the edges? Yeah, that was all me.

I don’t read as much poetry now as I did, but once upon a time I memorized “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll. I can still recite the entire poem, all 18 stanzas, on command.

The sun was shining on the sea, shining with all his might….

So far, since its time with me began, this beat up old anthology has endured five moves. Five times stuffed into too-heavy boxes, five times plucked back out and shelved.

One more thing about it—its pages smell surprisingly sweet. Only bare traces of that acidic mustiness. Maybe because it’s been opened often enough to let most of the decaying chemical odors escape.

Maybe this old book stayed young in my care, too.

Good Words on Old Books


I’m keeping it short and simple today, but here are some can’t-miss links for old book lovers.

Sciency: What Causes “Old Book Smell”? by Matt Soniak (via Mental Floss)

Poetical: How to Read an Old Book by Susan Brown (via The Copperfield Review)

Offbeat: Forgotten Bookmarks (via Popeks Used and Rare Books)

Question for You

Got a beloved old book? What makes it so special? Why do you hang onto it? I love to hear from you!

2 Replies to “Old Books: A Poetry Anthology, 77 Years Young”

  1. Ok, probably not what you’re looking for but I have my entire set of dust-jacketed Nancy Drew books from the 50s and early 60s. I also have some interior decorating books from the 40s, 50s and 60s that I’ve picked up. I’m no decorator but I enjoy looking!

    1. Oh, I love it. We have quite a few of my husband’s childhood books, but most of mine went by the wayside. My mother warned me I’d be sorry if I got rid of my Babysitter Club books, but so far I’m okay. They would have been a lot to haul around during all of those moves… 🙂

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