A Book…

One hundred twenty-four years ago, J. B. Lippincott Company published a book of poems, by William Cullen Bryant. I recently came across that book while looking through some of my mother’s things and it was a bittersweet moment to be sure. The book is mine now, but it will always be something that was hers.

I remember seeing Mom read that old book, smiling and taking in words that seemed to have secret meaning. Perhaps a handsome suitor discovered it in an old bookstore and presented it to her. I can only surmise, of course, but being that it’s a book of love poems, it seems a possibility.

The book is frail and smells of time and distance. Both front and back covers are hanging by a thread, and the front has a burn mark as though the book had, at one time, come too close to flame. Bedtime reading by candlelight perhaps?

As I turn the pages, I take care so as not to cause them to break loose from their binding. They crinkle like autumn leaves trod upon by meandering feet. The edges of each page are frosted with gold, and just inside the front cover is a black and white sketch, which is protected by a thin piece of transparent tissue. And when I touch it, it makes me feel as though I’m touching something special. Something to be treasured.

It’s not just a book. It’s a memory. Part of my mother’s past. Digital downloads and e-books will never replace a book such as this. No matter how much time passes, an e-book will never have that old book smell. Its digital pages won’t ever become fragile…or special.

I know things are changing, and they have to, don’t they? Else how would we humans progress? But I fear progression at times comes with a price. If books should one day become a thing of days gone by, will our children’s children ever really know their true wonder?

Yes, like it or not, times are changing. And if there’s something from your past that you hate to see go, I’d love to hear about it.

ever blond,


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9 Responses to A Book…

  1. JOYE says:

    I’m an avid reader and I love to hold my books as I’m reading them…I hope we will always have books, not just ebooks.
    There are many items I hope we never get rid of but progress is progress in our world. I like to look in old antique shops once in awhile to see things that were around in my youth and help me to remember special times.I’m thinking one day my great grandchildren will find iPads and iPhones in antique shops and wonder at them.

    • Alexa says:

      Perhaps, but they won’t have that old book smell, will they? Thanks, Joy.

    • Alexa says:

      They may indeed wonder…and laugh…just as we laugh at some of the things from our parent’s past. Thanks, Joy, for your comment.

  2. Quilt Lady says:

    I will miss books when they go, if it happens in my life time. I think right now its just a matter of time before ebooks take over. Don’t get me wrong I do read some ebooks but there is still nothing like holding that paper book in your hand. I love the feel of the pages and the smell of a real book. Yes pages yellow with time but you can still read them. With one wrong move with an ebook the book is gone.

    • Alexa says:

      Yes, even the smell of old books make me smile. They make me remember yesterday. And the older they are, the more precious they seem. I think we’d better start saving as many of our favorites as our houses can hold. Who knows when they’ll no longer be available.
      Best to you,

  3. Felicia Plastini says:

    I was just talking about contemplating getting a Kindle or a Nook and that my reason for not wanting one was that I loved to actually hold a book, the feel of the book as I turn the pages and most of all the smell of a book. Especially an old book. I’m a bookaholic, I have 15 bookcases in my house full and another 3 in my garage. I can’t imagine getting rid of books for an electronic object, and wonder if someday I will be forced too? Can’t I have them both? My books and a kindle/nook?

    • Alexa says:

      Yes, Felicia, I think we can have them both (books and Kindles/Nooks). I, like you, have bookshelves filled with all my favorites and several from when I was a child. Can’t imagine not having them to look at once in a while and someday read to grandchildren. Thanks for your input.

  4. Susan Pertierra says:

    I have a fairy tale book that my father used to read when he was a wee lad. I like to imagine him as a young boy reading about Billy Goat Gruff and Hansel and Gretel.

  5. PhyllisC says:

    I’ve always liked the feel of holding a book in my hands. And to have memories attached to that book makes it very special.

    I buy ebooks – gave up the fight – and love reading them. LOL But I still buy paperbacks too.