Welcome!

Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

A Collector of Books


What if people we consider collectors today were actually just dragons in disguise, building their hoards?

“I am a dragon. And this is my hoard.”

“You… don’t look like a dragon.”

“Well, hardly anyone does, these days. Times have changed, we have too. The scales and tails thing worked with the dinosaurs, but we learned quite quickly that… that wasn’t going to fly with you people.”

“You were around all the way back to the dinosaurs?”

“Well, not like… me personally. How old do you think I am?”

“… There’s no safe answer to that.”

“No.”

“So… when you say this is your hoard…?”

“All dragons have them. Some stick to the old gold and jewels thing, but that’s so cliché these days. Most of us like our hoards to be a little bit more sophisticated than ‘shiny.’“

“Like what?”

“I have known dragons to collect snowflakes from the first fall of the year over dozens of centuries. I know dragons that collect petals of flowers left on the graves of loved ones. Dragons that keep and care for soft toys and comfort items, left behind as children grow up. Dragons that guard happy memories and shards of sunlight, kept safe for rainy days. And me, I keep a sanctuary of words. A bastion of language, of poetry. Of written music and achingly beautiful prose. I am the Guardian of this monument to linguistic majesty. I collect stories of love and life and death and mourning and joy. There is nothing more beautiful in all the world, no coin or gem or sliver of starlight more fantastic than a well-told tale. A story is this world’s truest treasure, and what better chest for it than a book?”


I grew up in a house full of books, most of which had been collected over the years by my father. He loved the written word, and he shared that love with me. Most of the books that I read came from the British Council library, but I also had quite a good little library of my own. When I was older I read a lot of my father's Penguin classics. which is how I discovered books written by Hemingway, Colette, Austen, Fitzgerald, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Steinbeck, Orwell, and others.
   When I moved to the United States in 1991 I came with two suitcases that contained very few books, but it wasn't long before books started to fill the little basement flat that I shared with a co-worker. Then I married by husband and the book collecting started in earnest. We lived in Virginia where there are many wonderful book and antique shops, many of which we explored. We even took a long weekend to go to a town in Pennsylvania where they have a huge antique market every year. I still remember that we bought a whole set of books about the American Civil War there, which I read with great interest. We had visited many of the battlefields in Virginia and it was grand to read about the war, and thus to better understand what had happened. 
   In 1993 my interest in children's literature started to bloom and I began collecting books that I had once owned, books that I had loved when I was growing up. Then I discovered authors and illustrators that were new to me and I started to collect their books. Of course, when I started reviewing books written for young readers the trickle of books coming into our house turned into a flood. 
   Like many children and adults I have collected things - stamps, decorative boxes, and the like - over the years, but my book collection is my real pride and joy. I have enough non-fiction books to keep my brain busy and engaged for many lifetimes, and access to thousands of novels that will take me on wonderful adventures to places real and imagined. Knowing this makes my heart happy. 



1 comment:

BAMA said...

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