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Friday, December 6, 2013

What Title to Give This Posting about Holiday Gift Ideas?

First, the reminder that Sunday afternoon is our bookstore event with Traverse City artist Glenn Wolff. Again, that's from noon to 2 p.m. Books, notecards, posters, and a gift to each Wolff book purchaser. See right-hand column for details, if you’ve somehow missed the blitz of publicity on my blog recently. As Northporters and 2013 bookstore visitors know, I don’t have quite the space up front for holiday decorating that I’ve had in years past, so this year my “tree” (thanks, Mom!) is not quite 11 inches tall. It does light up though (from the inside), and the even light changes color. (Don't ask me how.) I’ll try to make up for the absence of a real tree on Sunday (and that good spicy fir tree smell) with the presence of home-baked cookies. (Blogger, what is it with you and the parentheses today, anyway?)

Looking at another bookseller’s blog earlier today, I realized I’ve been rather neglecting the historic nature of my larger collection, so that’s where I want to put the focus today. Old books. To me, they're treasures, and sometimes I don’t do enough to showcase them to casual browsers. I mean, a lot of these  are classics!  To begin under a fairly broad umbrella of what constitutes a classic, for example, how about the two children’s books below?

You remember Eloise, don’t you? She lives -- by herself, mind you -- in the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Book cover

Detail of book illustration
The Eloise book is pretty pricey, but The Littlest Christmas Tree can be taken home, tax included, for under $10. And can you believe no child has yet written his or her name inside this 1954 Wonder Book by popular children's author Thornton W. Burgess?

Book cover

Illustrated endpapers

Book slides in and out of slipcase
Moving on to more adult fare (and staying with bargains), here's the kind of books I love to find under my tree (or wherever!). First, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s A Gift From the Sea, illustrated and in a slipcase. I love slipcases! Tucking the book into own little bed is a delicious thing to do.

Chapter illustration

Then a sweet old volume of essays by the incomparable Charles Lamb. Book spines and covers just don't look like this any more, more's the pity.

Pretty spine

Ordinary old book cover
Or any of the little Peter Pauper Press editions shown below, all with original dust jackets. Yes, I do have a thing for small books, as well as for slipcases....

Books from Peter Pauper Press

But my big excitement earlier this week was taking delivery of a mammoth box of old books on Michigan. Unpacking, pricing, shelving -- such are the joys of a seller of used books, and great her satisfaction as she stands back to admire newly restocked shelves.

Partial view of overflowing Michigan section

Small AND local!
There are three of the Great Lakes series (Michigan, Superior, Huron – i.e., our western lakes), several titles on early days when timber was Michigan’s main attraction, and many books, large and small, on various Michigan cities and villages and islands.

David and I were saying only this morning how fortunate we feel not to have workplace politics as part of our lives. Neither of us -- he, the artist, and I, the bookseller – have either bosses to please or employees to oversee. Sometimes, though, I sigh over the concept of retirement. Yes, it’s only a concept, as far as my life is concerned, but I would love to spend a year reading in a more focused and continuous way, being transported back 50 or 75 or 100 years to Michigan’s past.

I live on my own little Treasure Island!


Dawn said...

Yes you do have a treasure island! : ) Have a wonderful holiday PJ!

P. J. Grath said...

You too, Dawn. And I loved Katie's post today!

dmarks said...

Seems like your store is a good place to go Wolff hunting. A type of hunting we can all agree on and support :)

P. J. Grath said...

Indeed, dmarks. No license necessary.

I should probably have made it clearer before today (Sunday!!!) that the new Sullivan-Wolff book, like the REINDEER one, is as much for adults as youngsters. Lots of nostalgia in text and art. Remember bubbler lights on the tree? That kind of thing. Delightful!