Wow, who'd have thunk it! I just saw this post at Dimples and Tangles and evidently my old small collection of Readers Digest books (some still with the original paper covers on them) are all the rage right now as a decorating accessory.
My Readers Digest Condensed Novels go back to the mid-1960's through the mid-1970's.
They have travelled with me from apartment to apartment during my wandering years after graduation from high school in 1969. They were soooo happy with the stained-glass built-in hutch that they were showcased in when I bought my first house in 1986. They shed some tears when we left that cozy little two bedroom place for this stick-built home in August 1990. But they soon adjusted.
They were happy because I kept them all together, and have faithfully pulled each and every one of them (and each and every one of my other precious books) off their shelves twice a year to dust by hand and "clap" the pages.
Here is a not very good photograph of my Readers Digest Condensed Novels collection:
The bookshelves in the family room are slowly (ever so slowly) being emptied, box by box, in preparation for my eventual finishing of wallpaper removal, drywall repair and painting. The bookcases will receive a makeover as well. I may have everything done just in time to celebrate my official retirement on January 1, 2018 :)
Yeah, walking into my house is like passing through a Time Warp, darlings, back to the 1980's. Sponge painting! All over the damn place!
Let me tell you about these Readers Digest Condensed Novels. It seems I came out of the womb with a book in my hand, and got really bitchy and testy whenever it was removed. Just ask my Mom. As soon as I could, I learned how to read, and I never stopped.
I read everything I could get my hands on, including the er - manual - I found once snooping around in the Parents' Bedroom... But I was only eight so it took awhile to figure out what it really was all about...
In due course, I got a Library Card! And back in the old days, before endless rounds of budget cuts and the dummying down of the general population, EVERYONE in my old neighborhood looked forward to the Bookmobile coming around once every ten days!
I was allowed to withdraw 5 books maximum. And so I did. Every ten days.
I read my way through the entire Bookmobile - I don't remember how long it took. I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back, I now know that the people on the Bookmobile started a special stash just for me. I loved reading history and science fiction. When I hit about 9, I started getting interested in ROMANCE and SOB (as in can't stop crying) stories! Oy! When they saw me board the Bookmobile I'd be motioned over to the check-out table and there, on a special shelf behind, were all these books that had been picked out. I could check-out as many as I wanted! Of course, I had to bring them back.
We moved when I was 11 and there was no Bookmobile in the new neighborhood. So, I started going to the library two miles away. When I turned 13, that library closed, so I started walking to the library three miles away. Then I got a part-time job after school. I had a paycheck! I started ordering Readers Digest Condensed Novels. It was a really big deal back then! Oh, how eagerly I'd wait for the next book to be delivered in the mail. They came like every few months, and I devoured them, book after book. Mom said it was just a big waste of money, but I knew it wasn't. I would sit in the front room in Grandpa Newton's old green leather easy chair and read a book from cover to cover in a few days. And then go back and read my favorites over again.
Some of the condensed novels I have read over again; and then eight years later over again! And so it goes. Some stories just never get old.
The Readers Digests I have now are just a smidgeon of what I used to haul around. Over the years, books have been given away or donated. I kept my favorites.
I haven't looked at the titles of these books in some time now, despite twice-yearly dusting and handling. Probably most of the authors I read through those years (1968 through 1993), you weren't even born yet and wouldn't recognize the names or the titles! Let me tell you, the books in that old Bookmobile were WAY older! Authors from the 20's through the 50's, mostly. I think they put the junkiest books in the Bookmobile because people would steal them. I, even I, actually stole a book once from the Bookmobile. It was called "The Black." It was about a wild black horse. And it had absolutely nothing in common with the boring "Black Beauty," which I also read and didn't much care for. Snore. "The Black" -- that was a GREAT BOOK! I slept with that book underneath my pillow for five or six months. One day I forgot to hide it under the bed before the sheets were being changed and Mom found it. Oh Oh.
Well. So many memories. I read about the great earthquake in San Francisco in 1906 in a volume that included "The San Francisco Earthquake" by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts. Read, read, read, read and read again "The Sea of Grass" by Conrad Richter -- an absolutely incredible love story, in a 1971 volume:
"Have you noticed how young she still looks, Hal? he asked, filling his chair again wtih that iron dignity and pride I remembered as a boy. "It was a hard thing for a lady to go through. But she's one in a thousand, Hal. No one else will ever be like her." And his deeply lined face warmed like the late afernoon sun mellowing the rugged western slope of an old mountain.
OHMYGODDESS! Those are the last lines of the book. How could any woman not want to be loved that much?
I read "The Camerons" and "Green Darkness" and the really bad but couldn't-put-it-down sequel to "Gone With the Wind" in Readers Digest Condensed Novels.
I can never just look at one of my precious books as a decorating accessory, and that is why the cleaning-out process has been so slow and so very very painful. Because it seems that, other than yours truly, no one gives a hoot anymore about old books and dead authors. I can't even give books away anymore to Goodwill, Purple Heart or the Vietnam Veterans. Nobody wants them.
This just makes me so incredibly sad, sad, sad.
July 16, 2017:
Hola! Where does the time go, Geez Louise! Half summer is already gone, and I am first now updating this from last December, tsk tsk. Bad Jan! So, been busy puttering around the yard, as always, and paying more attention than I probably should be to politics. The kitchen "remodel" is on hold due to budgetary constraints, but I hope to have that remedied before the end of the year. And I have yet to paint the guest room - it's only been 3 years now since I moved in to this version of Maison Newton, I'm not lazy or anything, nope... LOL! Take care and have a great rest of the summer. Jan