If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Well-Loved Books

I own twenty vintage children’s books—Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames and The Bobbsey Twins—published in the first half of the 20th century. They have been passed down through generations of mystery loving females in my family, usually sister to sister or mother to daughter. The collection was much larger when I was young, and I don’t know what happened to the rest of the books.

When I was eight years old my favorite pastime was to select one of these books and climb an olive tree in the back yard. I would sit in the “V” of two branches and read for hours, lost in the adventures of my “friends”.
The oldest book, “The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat,” was published in 1915 (almost one hundred years ago)!

Imagine the events that book has lived through: The Great Depression, World Wars I and II, the turbulent sixties, a man on the moon, the go-go eighties, 9/11, the recent Great Recession, and the upheaval of the publishing industry.
It also had many children lovingly, and probably clumsily, handle it over the years. I tried to treat all books carefully following the rule, “Don’t open it up and set it face down or you’ll break its spine.” But with that much use, it’s inevitable that pages rip or come loose.

Some books are falling apart probably past the point of repair. The pages are brittle and yellow, the covers faded or lost. I don’t think they are worth much money but they do have sentimental value. One has a handwritten birthday wish from the eldest sister to the youngest dated 1925 taped to the inside cover.

Older books have a different look and feel than modern books. The covers appear to be full cloth bindings and the back cover doesn’t contain a description of the book. Each book has a frontispiece with a hand drawn picture as well as a table of contents.

Many of the children who read them have passed on, but the books remain. Will they survive the technological revolution and e-books? That remains to be seen. Perhaps older, well-loved books will be relegated to museums or, sadly, thrown out. But they shaped many young children in my family and others by showing them possibilities…and that life can be a mystery and grand adventure.

Do you have any well-loved books?

Also, do you know how to preserve or restore books? I’d like to hear your ideas.



James Montgomery Jackson said...

I agree that old books have a different look and feel. I have a number of books with leather covers and sewn pages that had to be hand cut!

My oldest book dates from the late 18th century and I have quite a number from the early nineteenth century. Unfortunately some of them are in tough shape, so I can't offer any help on preserving them.

You have some wonderful well-loved books. Each is a treasure.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

I ended up throwing out one of my mother's old book: The Little Colonel by Annie Fellows Johnson. It was falling apart and filthy. Perhaps I could have had it repaired, but then it wasn't a favorite of mine.

The book that I want to preserve is A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, my childhood favorite, especially since at age four I signed my book. I doubt if it has any monetary value, but the illustrations depict the Edwardian era. I love it. I wish my kids had loved it too, but by then The Berenstain Bears and Little Critter Series had overtaken my daughter.

The new classic, which I think should be given out at marriage counseling, George and Martha by James Marshall. I loved that series so much, I went out and bought the complete works, and was saddened to hear shortly after my purchase that Mr. Marshall died. Condensed wisdom in every story.

Kellie @ Delightfully Ludicrous said...

I love old kids books! I collect children's books from the 40's and 50's ... I adore the artwork on the dust jackets! My favourite is my much loved copy of Sally's Family. I've already had it rebound once and I'm not sure what I'll do when it finally falls apart at the seams.

Kara Cerise said...

Jim, I’m curious about the subject matter of your books. Are they classics?

They sound very special with leather covers and hand sewn pages. The older books truly are gems.

Kara Cerise said...

The Child’s Garden of Verses must hold special memories for you. Even though your children didn’t love your book, E.B., perhaps future grandchildren will enjoy reading it and looking at the illustrations.

The George and Martha series sounds full of wisdom and a good gift to give a child…or newly engaged couple.

James Montgomery Jackson said...


The earliest "classic" is an 1851 copy of Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake - not exactly a first edition!

Most of the early books are nonfiction relating to history or morals, such as an 1818 copy of Dodsley's The Economy of Human Life.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

Your collection sounds wonderful, Kellie! I also like the artwork on older children’s books. When I was a child I remember the art felt comforting and a bit magical.

I hope that Sally’s Family stays intact for many decades.

Kara Cerise said...

Interesting books, Jim. Being an over-researcher, I *had* to do a search on The Economy of Human Life and Robert Dodsley. I learned that the author used his profits from writing to become a book seller. Eventually he became one of the foremost publishers of his day and helped finance A Dictionary of the English Language written by Samuel Johnson. Now I know what to do with all that money I make writing blogs :)

Gloria Alden said...

Kara, I love old books, too. I'm not going through all of them now to check publishing dates, but I have THE BOBBSEY TWINS ON BLUEBERRY ISLAND published in 1917. No, I didn't read that particular edition as a child. :-)But I did read the Bobbsey Twins as well as Nancy Drew.

One of my favorite old editions is a copy of Sarah Orne Jewett's works. It's dated 1895. It's cover is tattered and I have updated versions of all of her works, but because I love her writing so much, I treasure this book.

My very oldest book was my father's. It's a first edition of THE ESSAYS OF ELIA by Charles Lamb published in 1820-1823.It's really tattered and has newspaper clippings about Charles Lamb from 1944.

Kara, like you I used to climb up a tree to read, an old willow tree at my grandparents farm across the road to read as a child and as a young teenager,too.

Warren Bull said...

I used to read books my grandparents had collected. Wind in the Willows was one of my favorites. My read read a set of Laura Ingalls Wilder to pieces (not an anology) and got another set.

Kara Cerise said...

What wonderful books to own, Gloria. I’m sure you treasure them.

It’s good to have a “reading” tree as a child. I thought of it as a place where my imagination could take over and I could share adventures with my friends in books. Now the idea of sitting on a tree branch for hours just sounds painful.

Kara Cerise said...

I enjoyed the Laura Ingalls Wilder series too, Warren! By reading her books to "pieces", you probably picked up useful writing techniques like how to write compelling characters and stories.