Dusting Books

This one time, I overheard my mother telling my older brother as he unloaded the car, “There are books in the cooler.”


In the lunch cooler.

I would be surprised if it had been anyone but my mother who said that. My mother can find all kinds of things to collect books in to bring them home. I am somewhat more mild of a bookaholic, although I must say that books seem much more useful to collect than, for example, shoes. Why on earth I would need a closet full of shoes (especially when I could put books in that space instead) is quite beyond me. I have almost a dozen pairs of shoes (excluding flip-flops which don’t count) and that is a nice enough range for me – I have hiking boots and high heels, which the boys don’t want me to wear because they’re afraid I’ll fall down, and Mary Janes, and sneakers, and snow boots, and sneakers, and mud boots, and some more sneakers. I need many pairs of sneakers for my many sneaky purposes, you know.

Whenever my brothers find something I’ve randomly stashed somewhere, I just tell them it’s for a top secret mission. That way I don’t have to remember why the fifth Anne of Green Gables book is in the fridge next to the cottage cheese.

Some of my own old books…

My mother has a top shelf in the upstairs hall (the upstairs hall, you must understand, is lined floor to ceiling in bookshelves) for her old books. She has some Louisa May Alcott, some Rudyard Kipling, some Henty, a couple ancient math books from my Twitchell relations, and others.

We were never allowed to read them – a bunch of kids under the age of fifteen, and hundred-year-old books. Mkay, not such a great combination. But I loved the smell of old books, and the feel of the thick, worn pages, and the ornate artwork, and the embossed covers…

So cute little ten year old me would go, every month or three, and dust them. I would dust their spines, all lined up in a row on the shelf, and I would take down a few of my favourites and dust them a little more carefully. I would tuck the dust rag in my pocket and open the book open, ever so slowly… I would study the cover page and the copyright date, and just inhale the scent of the old, slightly musty, and very comfortable books. I adored them. (Hint: I still do.)

Some of my mother’s old books…

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

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