As part of my ongoing guest room update, I moved a couple of bookcases back into the room from other points in the house. One is serving as a nightstand/shelf for books that guest people might be interested in (such as random fiction, anthologies of trivia, and all our old high school yearbooks). The other is my stash of Books of Yore.
You see, I am obsessed with the past. Growing up, my two favorite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books, and Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women. You may have heard that Quinland’s middle name, Rose, was chosen because of ties to both of them. As I got older, I became interested in their lives and their journeys as writers, and I started collecting books about them as well as adding to my collection of books by them. (Don’t ask how many editions of Little Women I have. Each one is different in some way!)
In the last ten years or so, I began my love affair with Jane Austen. Inspired by the 2005 Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice, I read all of Austen’s books and fell in love. Again, I have begun to collect books about her as well as books by her. I have a few fan-fiction sequels, as well, though thankfully I can get my fill of those online. (I stumbled upon the ones I have at a garage sale. Can you imagine? I simply had to buy them all.)
Around the same time, I started to read L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. I enjoyed them tremendously, but when I read her Emily of New Moon series, Emily replaced Anne in a heartbeat. I love those books. Something about Emily and her quest to become a writer just resonates with something inside me, though I fully admit I haven’t shown anywhere near the passion – the need to write stories – that she did. Someday… someday.
All these old books about young people got me interested in old educational materials, and I’ve started to pick those up when I find them. I have a set of McGuffy’s Readers (a reproduction set, of course), but I’ve also found some really interesting textbooks on specific subjects at antique shops and estate sales. It’s fascinating to see how straightforward they are. No bells and whistles and games and illustrations for those kids! Just stuff to memorize and questions to answer, the way God intended. (Just kidding. In case there was any confusion on that point.)
Historical fiction; biographies; old school books… hooray! I love that bookshelf. Every time I see those books, they make me happy. They spark joy. I purge my books on a regular basis, but those ones are definite keepers.