Saturday, February 2, 2013

There is something quite charming and magical about vintage items. They can take you away to a different place and time. They can show you a small slice of history, like, what the standard style of dress was in a certain decade or show you that at one time, telephones were not mobile and were attached to a wall in a home. Back then, when you were “on the phone,” you were almost literally “on” it or wrapped up in it by an immensely long, curly chord. These vintage items tell a story and you get double the story-telling with a vintage book.
When listing reasons why I love old books so much, I absolutely must begin with the smell of them. If you are a true bibliophile, I challenge you to go to a book store and NOT sniff the pages of the books you skim through. Even the new books smell great with that scent of fresh ink on new paper. However, the older books have more distinct and intoxicating smells. It has been proven that smell is a powerful memory trigger. I won’t go into all the scientific details of why, but if you want to learn more about that, click here.  I think that might be why so many people love the smell of books; because those smells remind them of something. Sometimes I smell books that remind me of early school days and other times I’m taken back to my Grandma’s living room. The scents from these pages can trigger so many memories and emotions, that your mind starts to imagine what kind of home the book lived in before it came into your hands and what kind of person sat up late reading it by a bedside lamp (or candle if the book is really old).  Speaking of candles, if someone made an “old book scented” candle, I would probably buy it by the case.

It's true. I do. Nearly every one that I pick up.

Most avid book collectors would likely place little value on a book that had underlined parts, the previous owner’s written name or any other writing on the inside of the book (sans the author’s signature). I, however, find it charming to find these types of things. These little clues just add to the story that was already imagined by the scent of the book. Now, there is a name to the woman you pictured reading by candlelight. Stamps stating a high school that the book once belonged to and inscriptions reading “Christmas 1953. Love, Aunt Debbie”, build up the story of the book’s life. I’ve found a lot of this sort of thing and I feel lucky every time I do. Let me show you what I’ve found.

I wish this still had the check out card and envelope in it.

The two pics above belong to the same book. The "yours for souls" quote really creeps me out. I feel like it should be followed by a menacing laugh. muah haaaa haaa

This book probably belonged to a student who underlined excerpts to be used in a paper. By the way, "The Grapes of Wrath" is a fantastic book and one of my all-time favorites.

Now and then, I'll find old receipts used as bookmarks and just the other day I found this letter. It's kind of heart-wrenching.

My favorite discovery ever, came from this book…

It is filled with blank pages.

and there is a letter taped to the inside cover that reads:

Karen never wrote her novel, at least not in this book. Each page is still crisp and blank, albeit slightly yellowed with age. I’ve had it for about a year now and haven’t marked in it even a little bit. Every time I start to write in it, something in the back of my mind tells me that it’s Tom Riddle’s diary and I will be sucked into its pages. So, it remains blank for now.

The art and design of a book play a key  role in "book looking," hunting for good books. I just thought of that phrase now and I like it. If it hasn't been already, I would like to coin that phrase: "book looking."
I digress.
speaks for itself.

Another, often overlooked, reason to love vintage books is that you can learn a little bit of history. You don’t have to read a non-fiction book to learn about the way life was lived in a certain time or place; fiction books provide an excess amount of clues for this. John Steinbeck’s book, “The Grapes of Wrath”, provides an excellent look into what life might have been like for an Oklahoman family during the historical Dust Bowl of the 1930s. The dialogue of the characters can provide hints about how people talk in a certain area or what words were more commonly used in a different time.  Now, I’m not saying you should take something in a work of fiction as historical fact, I’m just saying that you can make an educated guess about a bit of history from it.

below is an excerpt from "Family Fun Night"

Seriously?!  Strap a belt around your kid's neck and make him pull each other as hard as they can? wtf?!

Perhaps the most obvious reason of all to love vintage books is the fact that you might just discover your new favorite novel or author. The classics are fairly easy to come by (which is nice), but what if you discover the “swan song” of some long forgotten author? You might unearth a wonderful story that makes you laugh or cry or feel enlightened or all of the above. Just because a book is old or isn’t considered a “classic” doesn’t mean it isn’t a good story.
In vintage books, you get two stories for the price of one: a story about the book and the story in the book itself. You get an aesthetically pleasing collection to proudly display on a shelf, which in turn will likely give off a pleasant aroma. Next time you go thrift shopping, don’t forget to visit the book section and pay close attention to the older ones.

Some of these books, as well as others, can be found in my etsy shop, The Thrift Monster. Please visit and see if there is anything you like. Also, if you are looking for a specific book, please let me know and I will search for it. I shop multiple times through the week, so there is a decent chance I will find what you are looking for.

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