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Your most well-thumbed books


alison
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In the "What are you reading?" thread, Just Ballet mentions her most well-worn books, which got me thinking that how worn a book is probably indicates how much you've read it. Now, my collection is probably rather misleading, since I have a lot of second-hand paperbacks, and I myself really *hate* breaking the spine of books, but looking at my bookcase I'd have to say the books of mine which qualify are Winnie-the-Pooh, The Last of the Mohicans and various of the Narnia books (I say only "various" because I did replace many of them with part of a box set some years ago).

 

(I am totally leaving out of this my major work dictionary, which I've had for over 20 years and which has dropped or been knocked off my desk so often that the spine has been irrevocably broken and the hard cover has been detached and reglued on both sides)

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For me, this is an easy question. All six paperbacks of Jane Austen's novels - bought by myself in the space of about three weeks after I had discovered 'Sense and Sensibility' - are beyond 'well-thumbed'; they've either had to be replaced already, or will shortly need to be. Each novel has been read so many times that I no longer worry about their condition - I simply replace them with second-hand paperbacks bought at bookfairs, which are usually clean and in good condition (nobody re-reads Austen as greedily as I do).

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My most well-thumbed books are generally what are regarded as children's books.

 

My Narnia books are the original ones I was given as a child. I was very lucky in that some were hard back, and the paperback ones, for some reason, have stood the test of time, considering they are all read once a year. As someone else mentioned on the other thread, I also read the C S Lewis Space Trilogy frequently as well.

 

Other books I read repeatedly are those by Alan Garner - The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and the Moon of Gomrath are classics which don't seem to be read or recommended much for children these days.

 

I adore Gone with the Wind.

 

And finally, I have a weakness for the Larkin series of books by H. E Bates. Always cheer me up when I am feeling a bit down.

 

(Edited to add that Ballet Shoes is also well thumbed...of course. :) )

Edited by Fonteyn22
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The set of Narnia books which I threw out on moving and have to replace.

 

Tigana, A Song for Arbonne, - Guy Gavriell Kay

 

Legend - David Gemmell (nothing to do with the film of the same name with David Bowie in it and a far better story)

 

The Hobbit and ther Lord of the Rings Trilogy

 

The Thomas Covenent Chronicles - Stephen Donaldson - except for the latest as I'm still struggling with it

 

The Mirror of her Dreams and A Man came Riding Through - Stephen Donaldson

 

I could go on as I am always re-reading my books :)

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My original Narnia Books, Ballet Shoes, Pride and Prejudice - all so well thumbed that several pages are falling out.

 

Edited to add that my copy of E. Nesbit's "The Enchanted Castle" got so well thumbed it had to be replaced. :-(

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My most well-thumbed books are generally what are regarded as children's books.

 

Other books I read repeatedly are those by Alan Garner - The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and the Moon of Gomrath are classics which don't seem to be read or recommended much for children these days.

 

Ugh. Even now, the mention of Alderley Edge sends an atavistic shudder through me. :( And The Owl Service was even worse.

Very good books, but obviously a little too scary for me when I read them.

 

It's a good job I used to get most of my books from the library when I was young, otherwise my bookcases would be full of extremely well-thumbed children's books, too, including E. Nesbit's. (And I've just realised that all my old Malcolm Saville "Lone Pine" books would have been on my list too, had I not donated them to my niece).

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We have 5 bookcases in our house, for 3 people. One each for my dh and I, two in my bookworm dd's bedroom, and one which is full of classics from my childhood - many original, but some bought from ebay because the originals have been lost. And the ebay ones have to have the "right" illustrations, otherwise they're not the same!

 

Plus countless boxes of books in the loft....drives my dh mad!

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Delia's Bible, and my late mum's copy of a Stork margarine recipe book

 

I can beat you on that: my inherited Marguerite Patten book, which I wouldn't swap for anything - it's so useful - and a Frenlite Flour (never heard of them) recipe booklet which was literally falling apart even when I inherited it. Oh, and a yellowing book called "Modern Cookery Illustrated", which probably dates from the 50's but is a really useful reference for those things you can't easily find in cookery books these days, like how to make stocks, and so on.

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After a life time of cherishing books and lining three rooms with full bookshelves, I decided one day that I was too old to be climbing ladders to dust them. So, a major pruning took place. I told my husband they would be donated to the public library and we could visit them there.

 

Thus, approximately 80% were adopted into new loving homes. But there are some I would never give away.

 

From my childhood: books by Albert Payson Terhune starting with "Lad, a Dog" - the first book I ever owned - previously all I read were borrowed from the public library. Marguerite Henry's "Album of Horses" and "King of the Wind," and of course "Ivanhoe" and Heidi." Then all the Horatio Hornblower books and those by Enid Blyton.

 

On my shelf now - and always to be there (as long as I am here) is William Bradford's Journal. His description as the travelers on the Mayflower see the desolate forested shore in winter before them and a huge ocean behind them - is the only primary source we have of that momentous moment in history. But it is also a very human description of the event - daunting, frightening.

 

I have the two volume set of letters exchanged between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson after each had long since retired from public life. They discuss life, history, forecast of the future, their hopes, their successes and failures. Two brilliant men talking to one another after living through tumultuous times in which they played significant parts. Their interchange is both historic and very personal - how to deal with life - how to view its coming end. Were my house afire (heaven forfend) I would grab these two books as I fled.

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