Saturday, June 9, 2007

Question of the Day

For a project I'm working on:

What books do you remember from your parents' library? Not children's books -- the first adult books you remember taking an interest in. Maybe there was an atlas you used, or maybe a book of Civil War photography... a poetry book, a cookbook, an art book... anything that introduced you to something you might have otherwise missed.

Give me some ideas in the Comments. Thanks!


  1. My mom had a book of famous paintings that I used to look through all the time. She said she found it after a house fire. One page was a full page plate of the painting, and then the other was interesting facts about it such as: "Winslow Homer referred to Sargent's painting (Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose) as Damnation, Silly, Silly Pose." The Joy of Cooking was our go to cooking reference book.

  2. The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich, The Old Man and the Sea, and my mom's collection of Time Life Art books.

  3. Most of the books in our library were reference. I remember being excited moving from our first set of kid centric encyclopedia's to the New World Encyclopedia, and then later to the Encyclopedia Britannica… And then back to the New World Encyclopedia because it was easier to read.

    There was also some reference book that I don't recall the title of. It had those wonderful printed transparency overlays that you could remove one at a time to see the various systems of the human body or different attributes of the US maps placed over each other.

    And of course there were my Dad's Chilton’s manuals that he would always pull out and explain whatever he was about to repair on our car/van. Pity none of that info stuck, as evidenced by your new $130 battery.

  4. A first edition of Steinbeck's East of Eden (an excellent read, by the way); also a copy of The Exorcist (which scared the shit out of me just from the few passages I read - to this day I haven't read the entire book because I'm attached to my current state of mental health!); and I also spent hours perusing my parents' high school yearbooks.

  5. V.C. Andrews from my grandmother. My mom was livid when she found me reading it.

  6. Fantasy & smut:

    Fantasy -- Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels and Ann McCaffery's Pern books

    Smut -- John Jake's North and South and Mom's "silly romances"

  7. to this day, a current edition of webster's unabridged dictionary is wide open at the end of a long hallway on a marble table atop a beautiful bookstand. i have only seen religious books presented this way in any other home. at the age of four, if i dared to ask, "wha's that?" during dinner i would have to drag my stool down the long hallway to look up the freaking word before i could finish my meal.

    i have a copy in my own home... i just need to find the right bookstand.