The Essence of Old Books~SOL#19~Day#2

I have a book obsession. While new books are lovely, old ones speak to my soul in a multitude of ways that I am not sure I can describe.

But, I will try.

Aesthetics are important to me. How objects, spaces, sounds and words feel can prompt my senses to go into warm fuzzy mode, give me goosebumps, expand my heart and seriously increase my oxytocin levels. (Or, the opposite can occur. But, we aren’t going there today.)

I wish I could tell you how an old book feels in my hand. It’s thickly textured pages are housed in a cloth shell worn with time. One can only imagine the hands that have embraced this treasure . Golden lettering announce it’s title. Pages fragile, dozens or more sets of eyes having studied the words that rest upon them, ever so gently turning each page to meet previous ones read. And, old books are heavy. They reign when competing with the paperbacks of today.

IMG_2237 (1).jpg

I picked this one up to read this morning. It’s title, The Child, by Amy Eliza Tanner, copy write ~ 1904. Inside the front cover, a human being’s name graces the page, in delicate black ink cursive handwriting of which appears to have come from a fountain pen of sorts.

“Who is this woman?” I wonder. “Hertha?” not “Bertha”, but, “Hertha”.


Well, my need-to-know-mind won’t let this rest, so I do a quick search to see who this woman is. I’m led to a photo:


. . . which leads me to I can’t go there. Entire weekends have been lost there. I know better.

Back to the book.

I had not heard of Amy Eliza Tanner, the author of the book, in education circles. And, I do read and research educational pedagogies and philosophies (this sounds arrogant, and I apologize if it comes off that way, but it’s more a curse than a blessing). A quick research on Amy Eliza Tanner results in some fascinating fodder to add to my scholarly drawers of who to know from education past. Here she is in the center of this photo:

Look at how empowered she looks. Good heavens, John Dewey is there. Have I been living under a rock in not knowing this woman? Honestly, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. I could continue to read about her. She lived a most resilient life among her male counterparts. But, I don’t.

Because, here. Here is the ESSENCE of why I love old books:

The words.

In the introduction by G. Stanley Hall,

“If there is such a thing as a ‘call to teach’ it consists of loving children, and with love go insight, the  power to serve, and the desire to help each child to the maximum development of body and should of which he is capable. When vocational guidance is fully developed those intending to teach will ask themselves the question, which is the supreme test of their fitness,

“Do I really love children?”

Those who do not, have no right to teach.”

He goes on to say this message is Amy Eliza Tanners’ chief purpose in writing this book.

1904. It takes a whole lotta love to to do this job. We forget about that sometimes as we don’t see it enough in the educational literature of today. Yet, we know it. We feel it. It’s why this job hurts so much sometimes.

This, my friends . . .

is why I adore old books, AND. . .

is why I get nothing done.

But, it brings me to my happy place of bliss, wonder, and awe.

Shari 🙂




12 thoughts on “The Essence of Old Books~SOL#19~Day#2

  1. Are we playing tag reading each other’s freshly pressed slices at the same exact time?! Of course we are. I saw your name and cheered a little in my head. I know what to expect from you – great writing and something that will make me think for hours, if not days to come. Of course we have the exact same feelings about old books. Everything about them is a wonder. The inscriptions, the unknown authors, the places that researching about them takes us. I’VE DONE THIS SO MANY MANY MANY TIMES. Old harcovered books are guilty pleasures I buy every time I’m at a yard sale or certain sections of a library where a few quarters helps them out and is easy for me to part with… I love the way you worded about the way the books take up space. If I wasn’t in such a rush to get out the door, I’d copy/paste and be more specific. But I love the whole slice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so excited to see you here! Giddy, really! Your post today had me hooked, line and sinker because of the way we think. Goodness. Now, this old book obsession. What are we gonna do about this?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nothing. Old books are good addictions, unlike say opioids, smoking, or alcoholism? They can be expensive AF though. I have a like a ‘hall pass’ list in my wallet of books or signed author copies I’d spend big money for. Otherwise, I think once you know someone loves old books, it becomes The Gift your people get you… So far only my sons are trained to do so, but it will catch on fingers crossed!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how these old books took you to other places. I wonder what book Ms. Tanner has in her lap?! Your slice makes me want to visit some local antique shops!


    1. You are right, Leigh. Each place I am escorted to is like a hyperlink to somewhere else, only it takes me back in time rather than forward. I think that Ms. Tanner is actually the lady pictured more towards the right looking sideways. Doesn’t see look like someone to be reckoned with? 🙂 Thank you for taking time to read my words.


  3. What a wonderful slice! And what a treat to find such powerful words about education and learning! I often think we have lots all sense of what is actually important in education. I am so tired of hearing about respect. Let’s talk about love!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your love for old books is evident in every word of this slice. I love how you wandered away (I can so identify) on a search to learn more about the author. Do you think Amy is the one seated with a book on her lap of the one standing with a tie on? I love these words that end your slice: “But, it brings me to my happy place of bliss, wonder, and awe.” Ah, yes!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ramona, Amy is the lady more towards the right side of the photo looking to the side. And, yes, I find quite a bit of joy in allowing myself to follow threads where ever they may take me. I can only give myself a set amount of time to do this business though and then I have to get back to work. It’s worth it though as it invigorates me.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s