Monday, September 27, 2010

Do you have one special book?

... a book you couldn't give away or sell if someone paid you BIG BUCKS?
I'm going through shelf after shelf after shelf in our office and packing book boxes and throwing some books away.....I have a lot of German books and most of those are leaving Chez Z........They must.  I need the room and there's no sense in my keeping them. (Mr Z's kids already went through the books and took what they wanted, which wasn't much)

I was SO BLESSED that something made me open one of the thicker books before I tossed it:  It says, in tiny penciled words next to the inked and rather young signature of my husband, "First book I bought with my own money."
Think I could give THAT away? 
NOOOO way. By the way, it seems like it's a history of the world kind of book, Auszug aus der Geshichte..Mr. Z always did love reference books, etc etc.

Is there one book you absolutely will never let go of, whether it's got sentimental value like this one does for me, or you just love having it, or you read it again and again (Something I don't really understand;  my British business partner told me he'd read DAY OF THE JACKAL thirty times and was reading it again once when I was at his home!)....?

What do you think?  GOT A BOOK LIKE THAT?



sue said...

Z - That is so touching about Mr.Z's first book that he bought. You should never give that away.

Books are special, aren't they?

I'm going to go back and look at mine to see which one is the most special.

I have a feeling it will be hard to name just one.

Z said...

Hi, Sue..yes, it is incredibly special and meaningful to me...he loved books. I have a hunch neither you nor I could pick ONE favorite book we'd read!

I should try to pick one book of my own..
OH! This probably shouldn't really count but I have a book of piano music , Rogers and Hammerstein..all their more famous show tunes; My folks gave it to me for a Christmas present when I was about 15 and they say I played one after the other late into Christmas night (Sight reading is my gift)....Dad wrote (using my actual name, of course, not Z!) "To Z, keep playing beautiful music..." THAT will never leave my home, no way.

I'll try to think of something literary........I hope you do, too

LASunsett said...

My Bible. It's a Thompson Chain Reference, got it in 1980.

sue said...

Z - You probably can count the music.

My books are packed away getting ready for the move, but I didn't even have to look.

Not long ago I read Jack London's Call of the Wild, and loved it. I was moved by the way he told the story through the dog, Buck. I can't wait to read it again.

Ducky's here said...

There are a few from a time when I did a bit of book collecting. I picked up the complete works of Frank Norris primarily because I was required to do a book report for American history and picked The Octopus (I didn't know it was just one more step in high school towards the left). I devoured that book, it had to have been an influence on "McCabe and Mrs. Miller". His brand of spiritual naturalism had an effect also.

A number of his books were made into early silents and von Stroheim's "Greed" a film adaptation of "McTeague" is still one of the greatest epics.

But it was an essay of his which I read shortly after my book report that set the hook. He cataloged the great national epics from around the world and when he came to the American west his thesis was that all we had was the pulp dime novel.
A cornerstone of our written history, the dime novel? Eastwood got it so right in "Unforgiven". And as a result of letting me read this stuff at an impressionable age I have always wondered about the myths of our national character.

The Complete Works of Frank Norris in 10 volumes. Nice condition, it's pretty valuable and I wouldn't let it go.

Z said...

Sounds good, Ducky.
I thought of you today...somehow, I had a Joseph Campbell book, and I took great pleasure in putting that in the book least I didn't trash it, you'll be glad to know :-)

I have a writer friend who collected first editions of Hemingway....Scribner publications, I think. I found one, maybe THE SUN ALSO RISES?, for a nickel at a garage sale, weeks before this Baltimore friend's wedding....I sent a gift AND the book....
I KIND of regret it :-) But, he was SO happy, how can I?

Anonymous said...

Z, I'm so glad you found Mr. Z's reference book! How wonderful to have simple belongings to touch.

I'm reading a book that reflects your post. It's called Ex Libris. I can't think of the author, but it's about her love of books.

It was such a short little book, not even intended for publishing, but I so enjoyed A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. It meant the world to me at a time when I felt very confused about God and faith.

sue said...

Z - I was reading your comment again. Sight reading is also a gift of mine. I sometimes find that I can play something better the first time than after that.

Ducky's here said...

Your friend was probably quite appreciative, z.

A first of "The Sun Also Rises" in nice shape is probably $800 - $1000.

Steve Harkonnen said...

Zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert Persig.

Anonymous said...

This is really tough, I have so many. But, rather than one, I'll choose our set of Great Books. Fifty five of them. All the great masters, literary giants, philosophers, etc. A regular liberal arts course you might say.

We bought these when our daughter was a baby. Monthly payments. Long ago.

I have a couple of my Grandmother's song books. WWII era.

Sorry, I couldn't stick to one.


The Vegas Art Guy said...

I have most of the first 50 Hardy Boy books from when I was a kid. Some of them are getting close to 30 years old. I have a Bible that I won't part with. But other that? I really don't know. Of course I have literally hundreds of books between my classroom and my house. Your next post should be suggestions from your readers.

Anonymous said...

I'll never part with the hundreds of original Mad Magazines I have collected over the years.


Z said...

Jen, and I read that at your recommendation and found it very reassuring xxx

Sue, me, too. I play MUCH better the first time 'round. During college, I worked for a while in a sheet music store and got them to bring a piano in...My sales were really high in comparison with other sales people....I'd just sit and play it; I'd play it later not QUITE SO GOOD :)

Steve, I remember I read that once, too!

Ducky, that much? Well, I Hope he appreciates the book!!

Vegas Guy, I found a few of my Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Laura INgalls Wilder classics and had to keep those, too!!

Pris, good for you for having those classics.

Anon...I remember MAD, I"ll bet they're still as good to read as they were there, are they??

sue said...

z - That's great that you played piano in the sheet music store.

But did you sing, too?!

beamish said...

Steve's got one of my favorites, Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I'd say no library was complete without Will Durant's "Story of Philosophy" and that book makes a nice companion to his "Story of Civilization" series. I have all of those.

My grandfather and my father were both voracious readers. I grew up in a home full of books on just about any subject. I've told my dad that if he ever writes a will, all I want is his book collection.

Always On Watch said...

The Story of Noah's Ark, the only book I saved from my childhood.

"Once upon a time, they say,
The rain came down, day after day."

The illustrations in this little book are beautiful -- color drawings.

The book is falling apart, of course, as its publication date is in the 1950s.

For years, I insisted upon The Story of Noah's Ark as my bedtime story.

I'm not sure where my parents bought the book -- probably at a department store in D.C.

Always On Watch said...

Oh, and my parents' Bibles. I'd never part with those Bibles.

Randy said...


I do and it is written by Ann Coulter.

Are you aware that the "Daily Beast" is having their own 3 day "Think Tank" meeting of 300 minds to see if they can figure a way out of this mess we are in?

Is this their own "Bilderberg" of which I sort of brushed off as rubbish? maybe some second thoughts.

Info and links on my last post on my site.

May God help us all!

Randy said...


I am so jealous. My double major was in Sociology and Psychology and I struggle on history. Thank God for the internet (for as long as Sam let's us keep it)

What is your view on the computer worm that hit Iran? Come to my site and make a guest blog! I would love to hear hear your thoughts.

Joe said...

I am insanely jealous of people who can sight read. I have a bit of lysdexia and astigmatism, and I have to really concentrate to figure out which line or space a given note is on. Makes for some interesting tunes.

Believe it or not, my favorite books (and the ones that first introduced me to politics) were the Pogo series by Walt Kelly.

That well may explain more than I want explained.

~Leslie said...

Oh dear... my books are a treasure to me. I have so many!

What a wonderful find of Mr. Z's first book he bought with his money, Z. That is truly a treasure.

One special book of mine is a very old Sherlock Holmes collection which belonged to my grandmother whom I was very close to. It has her handwriting in it and is very valuable to me.

Brooke said...

As Sue said, that is very sweet about Mr. Z's first book that he bought.

Hm. Most books I get from the library or the flea market and resell at the Half-Price Book store. Budgetary demands, you know.

There was a time when I collected books and I really regret reselling those old gems now.

I do have one dog-eared and tattered copy of Metamorphosis, which is a Star Trek TNG pulp novel.

I remember that I bought it with my allowance on a whim at Little Professor (back in the day, eh?) on an great book store outing with my family. It's yellowed and smells musty and I just can't part with it.

I have another, JRR Tolkien's Unfinished Tales. My 11th grade English teacher gave it to me at the end of the year with a thank you note for my help as a teacher's asst. He knew how much I liked sci fi/fantasy.

Ooh, and my first edition D&D stuff, even though I rarely get to game anymore.

I guess it's sentimental, too. :)

cube said...

Your story about Mr. Z was very touching. That one is definitely a keeper.

I have too many books that are meaningful to me to pick just one. With very few exceptions, I don't reread books. When the second Dune trilogy came out, I reread the first trilogy because I wanted a seamless continuity.

Speedy G said...

I can't get rid of ANY of my books. Whenever I come across an idea that sparkles and precipates an epiphany, I dog-ear the page, and each dog-earred page is precious to me.

Speedy G said...

o/t for mr. ducky - Spread the word. ;)

sue said...

Why, Joe. I had no idea you had musical talent.

sue said...

Speedy - Your comment says exactly how I feel. Some books - to me - are worth their value in just one page, or paragraph.

sue said...

Speedy - In fact I've decided to copy your comment down for my bulletin board.

FrogBurger said...

Not attached to objects in general unless they were gifts from people dear to me or reminder of my childhood. So I won't let go of some comic strips or Jules Vernes books given by my grandma. Books I now buy have no emotional importance.

cube said...

Speedy G: I totally agree. I dog-ear pages myself. I know librarians frown upon the practice, but it works for me.

Z said...

GAD! Not everybody dog ears? yikes

Speedy G said...

Of course, dog-earring pages (like writing notes in the margins) won't help anyone prevent the onset of Alzheimer's. And if you're going to keep a book, you should have some compelling reason. Mine is an extremely fuzzy memory... ;-)

Speedy G said...

... and THAT's where Google come in.

Joe said...

sue: I've been a church musician (read choral conductor) for over 50years. That does NOT translate into keyboard talent. I play for my own astonishment.

Anonymous said...

I love to write notes in my books. It helps me remember what was going on in my life when I was reading that particular book.

Some books go with a season in life. Some are crucial to a change, a growth.

I love the dog ear thing, too! I'm so tired and forgetful most of the time that seeing all of those folds helps me to remember the ground I've covered.

p.s. for you book-lovers who want to save money...have you checked out your local Goodwill? I recently bought three hardbacks by Will Durant (Ancient Greek civ., intro to phil., and the Renaissance) for $2 each.

Z said...

Joe "I play for my own astonishment."
I LOVE your mind :-)
And I know that feeling!

Sue, I didn't sing at Wallach's Music CIty, no..just played.
Today, if I had that job, I'd sing, too. Am singing with the Praise Group at church now..and LOVING it. Me, the ol' "I am a HYMNS GIRL", singing PRAISE? OY!

Jen, that's a good tip...thanks.
Some GOodwill or library's going to be real happy with the ten boxes of books I packed on Sunday..

sue said...

Z - I totally agree with you - hymns over praise songs. But there are good praise songs. I just like the old hymns better.

You beat me to it, but I was going to comment on what Joe said:

'I play for my own astonishment'

Very Clever, Joe.

beamish said...


I used to chastise my father for jotting notes in the margins of books he's read, basically adding his own thoughts and reactions. He was fisking before fisking was a word, before there was even an internet full of people to fisk.

Then I noticed that of my father's hundreds and hundreds of books, he's made at least one note in each of them.

I want to download my father's knowledge into my head.

Z said...

Sue, I have more fun now with the beat and 'fun' of Praise music...I still like the hymns but barely ever found myself moving to them, if you know what I mean! Am LOVING hearing the other harmonies and singing what ever harmony somebody's not singing... worries: You've got it and more.

beakerkin said...

Every book I read is a unique treasure. I am fond of the Black Book of Communism.

Anonymous said...

Mein Kampf