Did you know that books have the capabilities of being your best friend? Oh yes, they do. Pair them up with a hot cup of tea or coffee and you have a best friend for life.
My books are there for me when I need to get away from the hustle and bustle of reality. They’re there to make me laugh, cry, be happy or sad. They’ve seen me at my worst times **spoiler alert for Harry Potter** (when Dumbledore dies?? I don’t think a book has ever made me cry that much) and they know what gets my spirits up (just read a few things that Anne Shirley has said in any of the Anne of Green Gables books and your day will be made). They know how to make me swoon (Mr. Darcy…dreaaammy) and they know how to get me so angry (Dolores Umbridge – I don’t think I’ve ever hated a person as much as her). They know how to bring me content (finding a secret garden?? Bliss!) and they know how to bring anxiety (poor Jack couldn’t possibly keep up in the river – why didn’t Pa Ingalls just let him ride in the wagon???) My books are worn with love, aged with time. Some have accidental water marks or ink blots, food stains, ripped pages (I really try to take good care of my books but as I’ve had most of mine since I was little, there needs to be some slack given), but all have been there waiting patiently on my shelves for the next time they can take me to another world.
What I’ve been doing lately, to save some money and because they’re my favorite, is buying old, used books online. We like to use Amazon.com a lot (Prime membership is a dream!) so when I find a book I want in a bookstore (Barnes and Nobles usually – if I find a book I love at a used bookstore I snatch it up) I come home, look it up online, and then search through the third party sellers (those are usually used bookstores from across the country – I’ve even been so lucky as to score an old, tattered The Tale of Beatrix Potter straight from England! It’s like finding gold!). Most of the time I can find a “Used – Like New” or “Used – Very Good” for a decent price, but I’m not too picky to turn down a “Used – Good Condition” – sometimes you can even get them for $2! Hardcovers are my absolutely favorite (I don’t know why – I think they just feel older to me) so that is what I try to search for. When I get the hardcover, I admit, I judge it by its cover. If the jacket sleeve isn’t anything to write about, I discard it. Call me crazy, but I love the way the plain book looks on my bookshelves, like that’s how they were meant to look. :)
So my dear friends, if you’re in need of a new best friend, search your bookshelves, bookstores, and the ever reliable amazon.com. ;) Here are some of my favorites if you need help getting started:
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – if I had to choose a favorite (I know, blasphemy!!) I would pick Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That’s the best you’re going to get – I can’t possibly pick just one!
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas – Written like a story, not a typical boring biography. I cried during many parts and have reread it a few times. Each time is magical and I fall in love with Disney all over again.
The Tale of Beatrix Potter by Margaret Lane
Mary Poppins series by P.L. Travers (they’re all wonderful)
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Mandy by Julie Edwards (Andrews) – I had NO idea that was the same Julie Andrews we all know and love until I recently purchased the hardcover version (the same link I have for you if you click on the book title) and her beautiful face was on the jacket sleeve! What?! I grew up loving this book and had no idea!
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien – I also somewhat enjoyed The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but not as much as The Hobbit, so I won’t put those down.
Jane Austen’s Letters edited by Deirdre Le Faye – We saw this book at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market in New York City so I made a note of it so I could find it online. But I couldn’t find it in hardcover (for cheap) so I settled for an old paperback version.
A Fine Romance by Susan Branch – this isn’t an old, tattered book, but it’s one of my absolute favorites.
Autumn by Susan Branch – again, not an old, tattered book, but a wonderful book that gets you in the mood for fall.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury – just read this quote and you’ll swoon: “It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn’t so much wilderness around you couldn’t see the town. But on the other hand there wasn’t so much town you couldn’t see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of…Boys.
And it was the afternoon of Halloween.
And all the houses shut against a cool wind.
And the town was full of cold sunlight.
But suddenly, the day was gone.
Night came out from under each tree and spread.” Doesn’t that just make your book-loving heart pitter-patter??? Cartoon Network also made a movie of this book and it is a must-have for me during the Halloween season. The music is great, the illustrations are beautiful – it’s perfect ((watch the beginning friend, and you’ll understand why I love this).
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – I don’t usually read “newer” books; I tend to stick with the oldies, but I just love this one. I could read it over and over and over. One of my favorites – I never saw the movie, I’m afraid it might ruin it for me, although I do love Julia Roberts.
The Doldrums by Nick Gannon – A newer book that I bought at my mom’s library book fair last year. The author writes in a much older way that makes me feel like I’m reading a classic. It’s full of adventures, tea time, mystery, and the wonders of childhood. Also, beautiful artwork by the author. :)
And then of course there’s another list of just plain, illustrated, children’s books that I adore:
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton – I enjoyed this book when I was little, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until I got older and yearned for a little house of my own.
Mr. Potter & Tabby Pour the Tea by Cynthia Rylant – this was the second book I learned how to read and it’s tattered-ness still holds a special place on my bookshelf and my heart (I should have known I’d be a tea drinker later in life after reading this :) )
Doll Party by Shirley Albert – this was the very first book I learned to read. Again, it still holds a special place. :)
Amelia Bedelia series – I know there’s a ton out there, but this was always my favorite.
Beatrix Potter’s “Little Books” – I never grew up loving these books, although they were still considered classics to me. It wasn’t until the past year or so that I’ve fallen in love with the books and Beatrix Potter and her life. So naturally, these books are new favorites to collect and I’d have to say that The Tale of Peter Rabbit is my favorite – it’s like Beatrix Potter’s symbol! The link I have for it is for a pricier original book, but you can usually find the original sized books in used bookstores, garage sales, or antique shops for under $5.
The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright – this book is a symbol of my childhood. It’s been there throughout the years and I’m so glad I grabbed it from my parents’ house when they were giving away books.
The Cat In the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss – I don’t know why this one got to me, but every time I visited the doctor’s office with my mom, this was the book she had to read to me. And I’ve never even owned it! (Paul’s favorite is Green Eggs and Ham. :))
Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever – believe it or not, but I just reread this a couple of weeks ago. You’re never too old for your favorite children’s books. :)
I have books in every cranny and every nook (Dr. Seuss would be proud) and I think I’ve created a long enough list for today, don’t you think?? I’d love to hear about some of your favorites – there’s always room for more on my bookshelves. :) Enjoy the rainy day, (Minnesota) friends!! :) xoxo