Thursday, September 07, 2006

"Love Affair with the Bright Medusa"



I am having a love affair with a book by Willa Cather. People collect all sorts of things, tea pots, baseball cards, figurines, but me?...I love old books. I realize that many of you out there may share this very same love so, I'm hoping you'll understand my excitement of this find and my experiential explanations.
While shopping downtown with my Mother, we came across an antique store with a book sale. They lured us in with their sidewalk sandwich signs and brightly colored accents that read, "50% off!" I found this wonderful green book within minutes of looking and I was done shopping for the day. Here was my treasure that had been patiently waiting for my arrival.

Upon opening the front, the words caught my eyes with great delight. Copyright 1920. It was a first edition and in very good condition. Willa Cather was a well known journalist, editor and children's book writer in her time and she later went on to write adult literature. She was a woman before her time, living in the Victorian age, dressing like a man and openly having affairs with other promonate women.

In the back cover of the book, I discovered a label in the lower right hand corner proving that the book went to a San Francisco book store.

The pages are worn with time and the repeated use of others. Each edge is soft, frayed and some are discolored. The front rind is darkened with the natural oils that come from ones hands. I can only guess the many places this book has visited and the many lives that have been moved by the words and stories.
But my favorite part by far has got to be the smell of the book inside. It is a fragrance all its own and nothing else smells like an old book, but an old book. As you read it, the fumes waft upward toward your face, transcending space and time, lifting the reader to another place and era. Standing in the antique store, I opened the book to its middle, held it close to my face and breathed deeply, closing my eyes and anticipating a new journey ahead. So, if by chance you and I ever get to go shopping in some small obscure little town, you'll know where to find me...I'll be in the old library section of the antique stores, with my nose, literally in a book.


11 Comments:

Anonymous Teresa said...

This book looks heavenly. It's funny my friend and I spent one Saturday afternoon in our used book store looking at really, really old books. And they do smell wonderful!! She was looking for the color of them, I just liked the smell!

1:55 PM  
Blogger bb said...

yummy,yummy - take me with you darlene - i am waiting :-)

love bb x x x x x

2:00 AM  
Blogger my pink sky said...

oh, if only books could talk...what wonderful tales it would tell! enjoy your fabulous find.

9:59 AM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

Hey you guys are fast...when I wote this I accidently hit post instead of save and tried to fix it by hiding it in a date a few days ago....that was some serious back reading...

I'm flattered ;^)

love you xo d

10:07 AM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

the color of this book is delicious. i am having a love affair with green lately. i wonder what that means?

beautiful writing here, dar.

xoxoxo

11:29 AM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

what a treasure! the only thing i've ever read by willa cather is my antonia. we read it for a bookclub i was in and i think i was the only one who like it.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

books books glorious books.. i'd be right there beside you baby, in the musty old book aisle :-) x

3:25 PM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

gorgeous book.gorgeous books.
my favourite afternoon is a rainy one with my kiddies and me in the bookshop reading and drinking hot chocolate.
come and join us.

xxx

4:46 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

The color of that book is divine. Green is my absolute favorite! I so much hope that you'll browse for lovely treasures in my own bookstore. I should know soon, love.

And good lord, have you received our mail yet?!

7:37 PM  
Anonymous angela marie said...

It is a beauty!

On one of our many talked about "trips to do"..I know of two delightful old book stores we will have to visit!!

love and miss you!!

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Bek said...

Lovely.... mmm the musty smell of old books.
I introduced Mikaela to the heavens of antique books some years ago... but she never had the patience to look for more than half an hour.
And ... you know *Dar* that is just not at all long enough !!
Bx

2:51 AM  

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