The launch of the Kindle got me thinking about all the things an e-reader can never be. You can't inscribe it to a loved one or press flowers between it's pages. It can never be an object, loved and cherished and passed from person to person, with any history. Your children cannot draw upon the pages and fill it with precious memories. Illustrations look terrible on it, especially art, which needs a grand scale. For these reasons and many more, help me celebrate the real thing: dusty old books!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

from Mary Mayfield...

Beloved books from Mary Mayfield. Thanks so much for sending these pictures and sharing the story behind the books. I love a bit of embossed gold as well...

"Granddad's Books
These are very special books to me as they belonged to my mother's father who died a few years before I was born. By trade, he was an engine driver working for Barber & Walker pits on their private railways around Eastwood, Nottinghamshire; by the time of WW2 he was in charge of running their goods depot. In his spare time, he grew mushrooms which were sent down to Covent Garden market, built his own wooden-framed caravan, travelled around on his motorbikes and experimented in what must have been cutting-edge technology - building a succession of radios and, ultimately in 1939, built a television set - the first person in the village to have one!
Back to the books - a series of 12 classic novels from Odhams Press dating to the 30's and a four part "Gardening for Amateurs" from Waverley Book Company from the 20's. There were a couple more of his books which have disappeared (I remember a book titled "Your Fate in the Stars") but not many as ours wasn't a household full of books.These two sets of books though were looked after by my Grandmother, perhaps as mementoes for I don't ever remember her reading them - in fact I think I was the only person interested in their contents.They are all well used books - not falling apart but it's obvious that they have been read or referred to more than once but this must have been only by Granddad. As a child I thought they must be incredibly dull as they were always kept wrapped in brown paper to protect their covers and, although I claimed them as a teenager, I was never allowed to remove it.Only after I married and moved them to a new home did the covers come off."

Mary Mayfield

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