Each spring my local library has a book sale, and there is one section I always head straight to when we get to the library — the old books section. The old books for sale are not just books that were written a long time ago, but are also books that were made a long time a ago. As someone who really loves books, I always enjoy adding to my collection from this section.
One of my most prized possessions is a copy of Homer’s The Iliad which was published back in the 1800s and actually autographed by William Cullen Bryant. I found it in the section that had old books for sale and bought it for about $10.
I have often wondered if someone did not realize what a great treasure this book actually is, or if they simply wanted to see if somebody else out there would realize what was available at such a good price and scoop it up. Either way, I found it, and it is now a part of my personal library.
Another book that I found among the old books for sale was one called Modern Psychology. I actually found this when I was in college, which made it particularly interesting, because I was studying psychology for my major, and the book’s copyright date was 1900.
It was really fun to sit there are read what was considered modern psychology nearly 100 years before the material I was studying at the time. As a matter of fact, I brought it to one of my classes on the history of psychology to share with some of the other students and my professor. The professor thanked me for bringing it in and asked if I would ever be willing to sell it to her.
Another great book that I found among the old books for sale was the famous James Joyce novel “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” It was copyrighted 1919, which was a few years after the book was actually published, but James Joyce is my favorite author of all time and knowing that I had one of the earlier printings of it made it really special.
I began to think about the person that bought it back in 1919 and what they must have thought about the book. I wondered if it affected them the same way that it did me, and if they ever thought that more than 80 years later, someone like me would be reading the same book they had read.
Old books for sale are always a delight for me to come across. I have acquired many over the years and have often been amazed at people that are willing to donate them to book sales. I completely understand the whole idea of paying it forward, but for me, they are just too special to ever let them go.