Monday, September 7, 2015

#MicroblogMondays: Ode To An Old Book

Greetings Humble Readers...

(Fair Warning: This isn't a typical #MicroblogMonday post.  But it's what I needed to write tonight.)

A while back I mentioned that I was reading an old favourite, The House of Five Swords by Tristram Tupper.  I love this book.  It's a beautiful love story set at the end of the Gilded Age, in a small Virginia town.  It's a love story between a daughter and father, between a man and a woman, and between a family and their honour.  A son disowned, and a mysterious stranger who shows up just as the town builds a munitions plant to capitalize on the war in Europe. 
If you look close you can see the embossed title
on the upper right corner
I bought this book when I was 13 or 14 years old from a recycling depot in K-town, when I was obsessed with books that looked old.  It's a first edition (not that I think it made it to a second printing) from 1922.  I read it and fell in love.  When I went to Germany as an exchange student for three months, it was one of the two English-language novels I took with me (I can't remember the other). 

I re-read it over and over, all the way through high school.  When I left for college, I packed up all the books I wasn't taking with me (it didn't make the cut this time), and put the boxes in the garage.  Four years later, when I returned and was trying to get my stuff together for my out-of-province move, I couldn't find that particular box of books.  My mom thought that they may have been sold in a garage sale the year before.  I was heartbroken. 

Over the years, I would poke around on the internet to see if anyone was selling a copy.  I had seen them listed for as much as $1000 on ebay, but even at the more common price of around $200, I just could never afford to replace it. 

A few years ago, when my parents were downsizing, they shipped a couple of boxes of my things that had been found around their old house.  Lo and behold, one of the boxes was my box of long lost books!  There were several other of my 'antique' books, but right on the top was my House of Five Swords. 

I hadn't read it since high school, and recently I was moved to re-read it.  Reading it as an adult was an amazing experience.  Reliving scenes that had stayed in my mind over the years, discovering new tidbits that I hadn't resonated with as a teen.  The thick paper of the pages, the fragility of the spine, the musty smell that is undeniably that old book smell. 

And the writer in me just swooned over the language.  This is a book that was written in the era rather than just about the era.  The vocabulary, the structure, even the punctuation. I had a mind-boggling epiphany... this book is where I discovered my love of ellipses... :)

While ereaders and tablets may be convenient this book, and others like it, are why this hobbit will never fully transition away from paper books. 

This was posted as a part of Mel's #MicroblogMondays.  Click over and check out what others are talking about tonight. 


  1. Antique Book Lover MRS. G! That is great.. Sounds like you are totally in love with this book and the memories associated with it!

  2. Yes to paper books. I do read on the iPad from time to time, but it always makes me a little uncomfortable. I love the ease of obtaining the book, but I read better on paper.

    I am so happy that you found your lost book! Reunited and feels so goooooood (pretend I'm singing that).

  3. How lovely to have found your favourite book - and to have one at all, that means so much to you. I'm sad that one of my long lost favourites has remained long lost for decades. Still, the memories of reading it remind me of why I read at all. (I'm an iPad reader these days - I love being able to borrow library books at any time of the day or night!)

  4. I love this post and now you've made me wish I could read this book too! :)


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