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Old Books

One from the 1850s, I bought it from a Scotsman thrifty, on the windswept Isle of Skye, its browning cover caught my eye, old paper that’s weathered to tan, each leaf thick and dry in my hands, an imperious title-page, and the high English of that age, once a proud showpiece for a home, when books were pricey, barely known. Early western, 1914, full of villains and bandits mean, black and while plate on the first sheet, basic Roman fonts, cold and neat, scratchy fabric on the cover, like crack to an old book-lover, small publisher, long ago lost, tales forgotten, so cheap the cost, a curio, few know it’s here, the fun that enthralled yesteryear. Paperback, 1946, bright cover, like posters for flicks, first seen in the pulp magazines, tales of dastardly doings and fiends, pocket-sized so it slips away, it seems small in the modern day, the teachers once scoffed in disdain, “It only sought to entertain…” Falling apart, bring out the tape, since this kind of reading is great. Bound classics, 1952, enshrine time-tested points-of-view, matched series, no pictures, all words, print so tiny it seems absurd! Bible-paper to fit it all in, ancient scribes, philosophers grim, spines crack when you open the tome, once made young college students groan, few were read, and yet they still sell, ’cause they look real nice on a shelf. An omnibus from ’83, the best of Jack London for me, received it as a Christmas gift, public domain brings good profits, smooth cover, in two colors cast, dust jacket with wolves, running fast, buffet of a dead author’s work, tales told from all over the earth, read half, but I mean to get back, if I ever find time for that. Now our ‘books’ are screens with blue light, one more device, it never feels right, and I have used them, I attest, yet I still think ‘How is this progress?’

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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