Yesterday, I mentioned the book

 Alas, Babylon (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Hopefully, some of you bought it then…you could have saved $7 over today’s price. 🙂

One of my regular readers and commenters, Lady Galaxy, mentioned that a former student still had the copy they had used in Lady Galaxy’s classroom…close to forty years ago.

That got me thinking…

I have some p-books (paperbooks) where I have held on to the specific copies for years.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve held on to all of my p-books (unless I bought them to give them away), but still…these are different. 🙂

For example, I have one copy of Tarzan of the Apes which I’ve had for longer than Lady Galaxy’s student has had Alas, Babylon.

I have lots of other copies, but this one is special to me (even though it is falling apart).

Clearly, it’s intended to be a copy for kids…and I got it when it was age appropriate for me.

It does have something special in it.

It has an English-Mangani dictionary.

The Mangani are the “apes” that raised Tarzan. I put “apes” in quotation marks, because, if you read the books, they clearly aren’t any of the ape species that we know…and are most likely to be a different species of human (than Homo sapiens…that’s us).

There were rumors of “hairy bipeds” in Africa (as there are in the USA with Bigfoot or Indonesia with the Orang Pendek), and I’d be surprised if Burroughs didn’t intend them to be genus Homo rather than being pongids.

For one thing, they have a language.

Fortunately for us, as far as I can tell, the syntax is pretty much like English. 😉

There are quite a few words in the books…enough so that I’ve been able to translate things into Mangani.

I’ve also in the past made up new compound words. For example, I used “unk-dan-sopu” for a car. “Unk” is Mangani for “go”, and “dan-sopu” is a nut (from “dan” for “rock” and “sopu” for “fruit”). A car reminds me of a nut with a shell (and many cars do have a nut in them…at least, based on the way they are driven). 😉 and it goes, so…

So, even though you can find interesting Mangani-English dictionaries on line:

English-Mangani/Mangani-English Dictionary by Peter Coogan


Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton site

I still want to hang on to that particular copy.

Yes, despite having several other editions of Tarzan of the Apes.

Part of me feels like that is wrong. That book might have the same impact on a child today that it had on me…am I denying the book to someone else because of my sentimentality?

However, there are two mitigating factors for me.

One is that the book is not in good shape…it would likely fall apart if read enthusiastically while hanging upside down from a tree limb…or while skateboarding through a concrete jungle. 😉

The other is that Tarzan is readily available free as an e-book…legally.

So, I feel like my copy wouldn’t be worth that much to a child, and that the book is widely accessible. You can get e-books free online and through public libraries.

I did give away a Kindle earlier this year

Give a Kid a Kindle

and I may do that again (maybe in the last quarter of the year). There didn’t seem to be much interest in it, though…I didn’t do it just to engage an audience, it felt good to do. However, if the opportunity to get the Kindle isn’t reaching very many kids, it reduces the chances that a kid who could change the world because of having had that vast free library gets it.

I don’t have a lot of copies like that…in most cases, if I could replace the books with e-books, I would. I might even (breathe! breathe! Inhale…exhale…inhale…exhale) donate my books if I could do that.

I’m not quite there, yet, emotionally.

Looking at that, though, it’s interesting that I’m okay with only owning e-book versions of the new books I get. Why shouldn’t it be that once I have an e-book of a p-book I own, I’m okay with getting rid of the p-book?

Maybe some day. 🙂

What about you?

Are there particular copies of books that you want to keep forever (or pass down to  descendants)? If so, what is it about them that makes them keepers? Is it who owned them, or gave them to you? Is it your specific memories of where you read them? What’s the longest that you’ve owned a specific copy of a book? Do you have any that you “inherited”? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

6 Responses to “Keepers”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    The book I’ve had for the longest time is this version of “The Little Golden Book of Dogs.” On the bookplate inside the front cover, my name is written in my mother’s handwriting with the date 1952. It was a present for my first birthday. It’s one of a handful of my Little Golden and Little Wonder books that I was able to keep. Our house was small and space was tight, so most of my 300+ little books went to Goodwill for other little children to enjoy when I graduated to chapter books. I treasure that book not because of the content but because it was my very first book. It reminds me how lucky I was to have had parents who loved books. and passed that love of books on to me.

    I had two favorite books of bedtime stories that my parents read to me every night. Both of those have lost their covers, but I can still remember what the covers looked like. I searched through Amazon until I found them both.

    If I ever had to evacuate the house in a hurry, those books would be the ones I’d take with me. When I hold them, I can still hear my father’s voice reading “Patsy Peck’s Pushy Pencil,” or my mother’s voice reading about the children on What a Jolly Street.

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      Yikes! Can you fix those links? I didn’t expect the picture or the buy button to appear!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Do you want me to remove the links? I’m not sure what the problem is…if you link to Amazon, the cover and Buy button will typically appear. I’ll unapprove your comment until I hear back from you, in case there is a problem.

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        I just couldn’t figure out why one link showed a picture and the other links didn’t because there were pictures with all the books. If you don’t mind the picture, leave it as it shows. If you think the post would be just as well without the links, feel free to remove them. I’ll let you decide since you have more experience with this than I do.

  2. Phink Says:

    Within a few months after getting the first gen Kindle I got rid of all of my non audio books except one. I kept Harry Turtledove’s ‘The Guns of the South’ and it sits in my home office displayed. I kept it because it was the first book I ever read. I was 27 at the time. I have said this before on here but I was not illiterate. I simply had no idea the wonders I was denying myself. In high school I faked my book reports or simply did not do them resulting in a 0. In the 80’s you could get by with much more in school than you can now I guess. This book will always be the most important one ever written for me.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      Great example, and totally understandable (and commendable). 🙂

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