Sunday, November 15, 2009

Adopting Needy Books

Sometimes I buy books I already own simply because I feel sorry for them. Like stray kittens, they beg to be taken home.

Our library has a little used bookstore which is run by the Friends of the Library. Today I was browsing through their display of Christmas books and discovered a copy of The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was a paperback and quite new looking. I picked it up, fondly remembering how many times I've read this book, both to myself and to my children. Inside the front cover was an inscription which wrung my heart.

"To our sons and perhaps someday our grandchildren: This is a very precious book. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have. Love, Mom & Dad."

What happened? How did this book end up in the donation box at the library? It shows little sign of having been read. Did the sons not share their parents' taste? Did they become football jocks instead of bibliophibians? Did the boys leave the book behind when they left home? In that case, what happened to the parents? Were they eaten by a rampaging rhinoceros? Surely they would not have discarded this book had they been alive and well.

Moved by anxiety and pity, I paid for the book and took it home. I already have a hardcover copy, but perhaps I can find this paperback copy a good home.


Warren said...

I love that book.

I think you should find a good actively-cared-for parish library to contribute it to.

Sometimes I do this too. Sometimes, at bookstores, catholic 'Religious Supplies' stores (one day I should blog about the store I found that had aerosol spray-cans of holy water), and thrift shops.

If I will see one spectacularly good book or CD among a desolate pile of piffle, and I feel I must rescue it.


Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Aerosol holy water? Wow! That sounds like something The Curt Jester would have made up. It's right up there with a statue my mother-in-law had : Our Lady of Television. I think it was from the early '50s.

Yes, a parish library would be a good home for this book. I used to volunteer at my previous parish's library. Unfortunately the official librarian was dead set against our having any fiction. (I should blog about [i]that[/i] some time.)

My current parish has no library.

Joyful Catholic said...

Love your site! My Nana was a bibliophagist and worked at the Elgin, NE. public library for many years. I, being a loving grand-daughter, was around so many great books, that I acquired a love for reading very early. I miss the old creaking floors, the tall dark shelves, the sun dappled desks piled high with numerous old tomes. What a treasure trove to find your site. Our parish has a wonderful small library, and the other parish I frequently go to for morning mass happily does, too. God bless. susie

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

I loved reading your description of the public library where your grandmother worked. Since I grew up in a home with few books, even the smallest and most wretched of the libraries I visited as a child shine golden in my memory.

How lucky you are to have access to two parishes with their own libraries. Many churches got rid of their libraries when they modernized as my own book collection will attest. We have quite a few used books which, according to the names stamped in them, originally belonged to church libraries.

blankets said...

Seeing books unwanted in bad shape is a pity.You can renovate them and keep them back in the library though...there may be takers.