Of Birthdays Passed

As time goes by, so do birthdays. A time comes when one acknowledges the day, feels grateful for another year, reminisce a little about other birthdays passed, and realizes that material gifts are not as important anymore. Meaningful moments and relationships take the place. A while ago, my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday. My reply was, “I don’t need anything.” It was a sincere answer. Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoy things that I find beautiful or special, I just don’t see birthdays anymore as an opportunity to acquire more things. So gifts are not as important anymore. However, I gave it some thought and ended up settling on an antique book. It is something I like to collect. Old books are special. They are beautiful inside and out. The care that was put into printing and designing a book 100 + years ago, can be appreciated in every page. After scanning websites for an old book that would peek my interest, I settled on Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore. This particular edition is from 1900. I found older editions from the late 1800s with different covers; however, none of them caught my eye except for this one. The presentation seemed to have been made for a lady. The floral golden detail of the cover, the beautiful raised illustration, all of it spoke to me. The inside does not disappoint either; it is gorgeous as well. Add to it the scent of an old book, and it turns into perfection. One thing that I found odd was the placement of the preface on the left side, as you can see in the picture. I will make a confession; I am not one to read prefaces all the way. I try but most of the time I skip them, and find them boring. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It intrigued me. If the preface is so good, I am about to be blown away by this story, I thought. I have never read Lorna Doone (Shame on me. Never too late) but I read the first chapter. All I can say is that it is beautiful, and that I need a dictionary of old terminology, of old English words, next to me. This will not be a quick read, and I intend to enjoy it. Besides, the print is very small, so my eyes will have to work extra hard, and at intervals. It will be interesting to learn some new (old) words. I am excited about it; and yes, I love my birthday present. This particular edition is gorgeous.

Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825-1900) was a very famous English novelist, and Lorna Doone was one of his most known and famous novels. It is a romance, set in the countryside, and at that time a catalyst, a movement in romantic fiction. After reading his biography, and more about the book, I feel more compelled to read it in much detail, with much care and attention. Here are some pictures.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

 

The Song of Our Syrian Guest

I love antique books. Everything is delightful about them. Beautiful graphics, gorgeous covers, even the hue of the pages that have been kissed by time, and what can I say, I cannot resist the scent of an old book. Someone should just come up with a perfume or air scent reminiscent of it.

Last Christmas my niece gifted me an antique copy  (1904 – 505th printing) of The Song of Our Syrian Guest by William Allen Knight. The gorgeous illustrations/prints are by Charles Copeland. This is one of the best gifts I have ever received in all my life. What a treasure it is! I gasped when I saw it, page by page, but moreover, I was delighted when I read it. Everything is so beautiful and detailed about its pages – the lovely ornate print, the simple black and white illustrations that reveal so much, and the soft palette of the cover and some of the print.  The book is about psalm 23 from the point of view of a shepherd, and how  the imagery of the psalm has a real purpose and meaning that a shepherd would know. This has been my favorite psalm; I never knew that I would read it in a whole new different light, and find so much more in it. I recommend this little gem to any reader. It is a treasure for sure. If you can get a hold of an old copy, better. I hope you do. You will not be disappointed. My niece decorated the first page with a dry flower, which I think gave it a special touch. I will treasure it forever, and it will have a prominent space in my collection. Here are some pictures so you can appreciate its beauty.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A,D,