Friday, April 30, 2010

Time Machine.

My uncle had these books in his bedroom when I was little, and when I'd stay over at my grandparents' house, I'd always sneak off to a corner and lose myself in them.

They were a hardbound collection of some classics: The Jungle Book, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Swiss Family Robinson, et cetera, except they were not only illustrated, but they were also packed with footnotes and drawings in the margins, explaining unfamiliar terms, showing pictures of animals and things, and generally filling in the backstory for an eager young reader.

I have been totally tortured for the last thirty years trying to explain these books to people, and looking for them in used bookstores, because I could not for the life of me remember the name of the series or the publisher.

And now look what Brian J. Noggle should serendipitously post up on his blog...

Bless you, Brian, from the bottom of my heart.

35 comments:

eeky said...

Ahh, the feel of an itch that has been scratched.

Joseph said...

My uncle had some different educational books. Pictures too!

Jenny said...

ooh! That does sound familiar - we had "Treasure Island" I think.. prolly still back in my folks place somewhere. :)

jeff duncan jd66921@hotmail.com said...

Hi Tam,

Since you are on the subject of books, have you ever heard of a book called "A child's garden of literature"? It was a book with many different type of stories, poetry, etc. Some were the most wonderful adventure stories, mythology, etc. I read it first in the late 50's through the 70's...

Thanks,

Jeff

Timmeehh said...

In case you're interested.

http://www.biblio.com/rare-book/collectible-childrens-books/educator-classic-library-complete-lipman-michel-editor-various-1968-classic-press~13922~147272200

Homer said...

Way back when, in the late '50s, someone gave me a science fiction anthology that contained short stories: The original "Who Goes There" that became "The Thing" (both of 'em - the 1951 B&W and Carpenter's 1982 remake); "The Roads Must Roll;" "Mechanical Mice;" and lots of others. It disappeared in one of my many moves and I've been hunting for a replacement copy ever since.

Treasure the old books and stories, for they're worth more than their weight in gold. A glass of something and adventures by the page; it doesn't get much better than that.

Kevin said...

I was cleaning out my parent's attic and found the complete set from my youth. I remember spending many hours lost in them, and "the casebook of Sherlock Holmes" was my first introduction to the great man.

They are now with my grand-kids,I hope they have as many happy times as I had.

Tam said...

Timmeeh,

Yeah, I found that too.

Unfortunately, $270 is like a moonshot to me right now. I'm thinking about selling a gun to come up with the scratch, because... well... I don't really need to explain to anybody who understands, and there's no point in trying to those who don't. ;)

Brian J. said...

You mean someone reads my book reports?

Whoa.

og said...

Tam: I sold a CAR to get my copy of "The Bullet's Flight from Powder to Target". It's worth it.

$270 is a damned good price for 12 books, even sans dustjackets. And if they're illustrated and annotated as well as you say, it's not only worth it, but you owe it to yourself.

og said...

(it was a crappy car, and I only got $75 for it, but you get the idea)

RevolverRob said...

I sold plasma the other day to buy a facsimile (aka Xerox) copy of a book last published in 1910. Now, I needed the book for a reference for my research, okay, my advisor has a copy I was borrowing so I didn't need, need it, but I wanted/needed it. Anyways, it's not the most expensive book I own and it still cost $110 for one book.

Worth every penny.

Just do it!

-Rob

Firehand said...

One grandfather had a dresser in the tool shed full of old Sports Afield, True and other such magazines; when we were visiting and it was raining I'd borrow the key, go out and turn on the light and lose myself in them.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with that set, and I'm trying to remember what else besides the ones you mention were in it. I don't remember Noggle's "Captain's Courageous", but there was "Pinocchio" and "Treasure Island".
Ooh! "Robin Hood"? They were all great, but my brother and I both loved those wacky Swiss Robinsons.
I think it was because the kids were trusted to have and use guns. As I recall, they were also allowed to occasionally imbibe alcoholic beverages salvage from the shipwreck.
The cover of the book showed one of the boys riding the ostrich. The island's biodiversity was astonishing. I totally understood why the ones that stayed after their "rescue" chose to do so.
Thanks for the memories.
Ken

Joanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanna said...

OmiGAWD I know those books! I used to get them from the public library all the time. They were my first introduction to Robert Louis Stevenson (which was a good thing, because they explained all the pirate slang and I wouldn't have understood a word otherwise).

Maybe we can pool our money.

kahr40 said...

I remember them being sold in a Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store. We bought the Swiss Family Robinsons.

Anonymous said...

Ya know, Ms. Keel, much of what makes your heart yearn for those books has to do with the title of your post. You've used it before in conjunction with a physical device (a breakback S&W IIRC), but in both instances it was more directly related to great writers and their ability to fire our imaginations and transport us to magical places in our lives and minds.

You may protest that you are no Kipling or Stevenson et al, but you too possess that magic ability; I and others here can attest to it.

If other obligations didn't prevent it, I would gladly fund that acquisition in the comfortable knowledge that the product that you provide and that I consume -content, as you call it- is worth every penny.

Alas, that is not the case, but what I am going to do right now is drop one-tenth (call it a tithe if you will) into the jar, and call out nine others who are regulars here to match my $25 and make this addition to your literary collection an immediate reality. You nine (and you know who you are), it's a matter of shooting one less box of fmj at the range this week; a sacrifice worth making, wouldn't you agree?

While I hope such a small contribution won't engender an indignant retort (tenth of a dinarii for me life's work!?), it will, if it works out, give me pleasure to know that at least one of those treasured tomes rests on your shelf because of me.

AT

rickn8or said...

AT, you sumbitch, you hit me where I live. Tithe on the way. And Homer's right, an old book is like an old friend that you can depend to be the same after all these years.

Butch_S said...

two tenths. :-)

Butch_S said...

okay, three tenths then.

Mr.Wolf said...

Four tenths.

CAR said...

Homer, The book you would be looking for is "Famous Science Fiction Stories: Adventures In Time And Space" (1957) edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas published by Modern Library (Random House)

http://www.amazon.com/Famous-science-Fiction-Stories-Adventures/dp/B000JLD5N4

Homer said...

Thanks, CAR. Just ordered it. And, thanks, Tam, for, as usual, sparking the discussion.

Greg said...

5 tenths, incoming!

Anonymous said...

Another tenth.

Although I confess that a part of me wished that I could afford those for myself after reading about them as filtered through Tam's memory...

ThoreMo

Ed Foster said...

AT is seriously cool.

Revolver Rob, google up Lindsay's Technical Books for reprints of EVERYTHING worthwhile for gearheads, going back to the 1880's. Glory.

Budget day is Wednesday. If the tithes haven't worked by then, I'll chip in too. We owe you Tam.

Mr.Wolf said...

Is it just me, or do you other tithers feel like we're in the first reel of 'The Magnificent Seven' too?

Buffboy said...

Another Tenth inbound. If it saves a gun it's all worth it.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Booyah! I hit that tip jar like it owed me money. What is that? 8/10ths?

Buffboy said...

Oh and by the way, I had the 20000 leagues under the sea version of this set as a teenager. It was given to a cousin a long time ago, well worn, of course. I never knew it was part of a set. I understand your want for the set.

Saint Russell said...

We had a few of these books; not sure if they're still in the family. My dad brought them home from his workplace, the Bookwalter bindery at 30th and Franklin Road.

Tam said...

Whoah! Stop!

Thank you all!

I just put the funds towards a complete set on Amazon. Y'all are teh awesomest!

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

So cool to be able to help recapture a part of your childhood. Definitely a worthwhile endeavor, when it can be pulled off.

Anonymous said...

Tam,

Glad to know that lovely collection will soon be in your hands, hopefully to recapture some of that youthful magic...moonshots made easy with a little help from your friends and customers!

It occurs to me (albeit belatedly), that I should have checked with you first before calling up the cavalry...sorry if I overstepped; it just seemed such a small and easy thing to do that would bring pleasure and reward to our favorite snarkmeister(ess). But it was the mention of sacrificing a shootin' arn to finance the purchase that added urgency and sealed the deal for me. And like you, I'm appreciative of the others who stepped up so quickly to make it happen.

An aside: I too had an uncle whose room I loved to sneak off to and peruse his (at the time contemporary) mid-60's literary collection. His books weren't hardbound, though I guess you could say I was after a session in his closet; those were some really great, um, articles...;O)

AT