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Diary of an opsimath - Old books
heleninwales
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Old books
15/52 for the group 2014 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: O is for Old

Old books

These two old books are 107 years old and are the oldest books I possess. They were presented to my grandmother and great aunt as prizes for regular attendance at school. They were passed on to me when I was a child and became my introduction to reading fantasy via the works of George MacDonald. The book mark has writing in pencil on the back with a message from my grandmother wishing her sister (my great aunt Ethel) many happy returns of the day.

It may be difficult to believe these days when Game of Thrones is a major TV series popular on both sides of the Atlantic, but when I was a child there was virtually no fantasy fiction to be had for love nor money. Whether it was these books that gave me the taste for fantasy or whether I already had the taste for the genre and that was why I loved and kept these books, I don't know, but at school I mostly had to make do with myths and legends and books of fairy tales, until I discovered The Lord of the Rings in the late 60s and new fantasy writers like Alan Garner who started appearing around the same time.

From the 70s onwards, of course, the genre just grew and grew in popularity until now it's everywhere. Yet I know find it just as hard to find books I like as when I was young because so much of the modern stuff is just not to my taste, for example the "grimdark" stuff.

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cinda_cite From: cinda_cite Date: April 13th, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

GMD through C.S. Lewis

i encountered GMD through C.S. Lewis's work, in the early 70's. and was flung all about. then came JRRT, mid to late 70's. not popularly so considered, but quite an imaginative range really. these books pictured above represent a generous relational (and generational) range. my first editions of GMD may have been that old, but they came from the used bookstore in the next neighborhood. thanks!
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: April 13th, 2014 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: GMD through C.S. Lewis

I always loved these books, not only because I enjoyed the stories but because they have the plates pasted in the front saying when and why they were presented to my relatives.
sartorias From: sartorias Date: April 13th, 2014 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yup, yup, yup.

I just wish the filmmakers would make ones I want to watch.
inamac From: inamac Date: April 13th, 2014 06:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a similar affection for my early E Nesbit books ('Nine Unlikely Tales' was my introduction to modern fantasy).
houseboatonstyx From: houseboatonstyx Date: April 13th, 2014 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
George MacDonald, oh yes. His Lilith in my grandmother's glass fronted bookcase. I read it sort of upside down, I liked all the dark parts, ignored the moral. Probably gave me my taste for Charles Williams, whom I found through CSL (and CSL much later than Lilith).

Edited at 2014-04-13 08:54 pm (UTC)
readthisandweep From: readthisandweep Date: April 14th, 2014 09:54 am (UTC) (Link)
How wonderful to have your grandmother's & your great aunt's books.

Amongst my treasured books are very old copies of At the Back of the North Wind & Lilith, which were my father's. And I have lovely editions of The Wind in the Willows, Little Women & a copy of Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales illustrated by H.M. Brock.

As for modern 'fantasy' - well it's never been my thing & my idea of hell is having to read or watch, GofT! ;)

charlieallery From: charlieallery Date: April 14th, 2014 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I love old books and things, but paper things especially. Old furniture is cool, thinking of people using it centuries ago, but old paper stuff that people were reading that long ago ... :)

My introduction to fantasy was either Tolkein or CS Lewis. I apparently started reading LoTR at age 6 though I didn't stick with it until I was 8. So I must have read the hobbit some time before that, but Narnia also seems to have always been there and I'm pretty sure I'd read the lot (my parents had the set) before I read the whole LoTR. I don't believe I've encountered GMD though - probably because I was sucked into the library's SF shelves and didn't really look back.
artkouros From: artkouros Date: April 14th, 2014 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
They look in great shape for that age. I have some of similar age, but they're falling apart.
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