“When a new book is published, read an old one.” ~ Samuel Rogers
This is some good advice.
There are so many good “old books” out there. And we sometimes forget about them with all the influx of new books being published. So, this quote is a good reminder NOT to forget that these old books exist, and that they are often worth reading a second and third time.
Some recent “old books” for me are…
#1 – The Story of the Treasure Seekers // by E. Nesbit
This book is all about the escapades of the charming Bastable children. The family is facing hard times, and the children decide it’s up to them to help their father restore their family fortune.
This leads to many endearing, yet ill-advised, schemes. The children somehow manage to land on their feet, though, usually with the help of Albert-next-door’s uncle. (While Albert-next-door is a little prig, his uncle is a sympathetic champion to the children.)
I love that Nesbit teases us with her narrator’s “secret identity” through-out the book. “It is one of us that tells this story – but I shall not tell you which: only at the very end perhaps I will. While the story is going on you may be trying to guess, only I bet you don’t.”
The language is definitely a little old-fashioned. (It was originally published in 1899! But Nesbit’s storytelling is top-notch… better than many of our contemporary authors. I didn’t read this book as a kid, although I wish I had. I found the story thoroughly enjoyable from an adult’s perspective. This is one of those books you’ll want to keep coming back to.
First published in 1899… (My Rating: 5 Stars!)
#2 – Man o’ War // by Walter Farley
I recently picked this one up at a thrift store. I’d never read this book before, but I loved reading The Black Stallion series as a kid.
Reading this book as an adult, I must say I really enjoyed it. This book just shows Farley at his best… dealing with the behind-the-scenes of training a horse for the races. Set around the time of the First World War, it follows the story of one of the greatest race horses in history: Man o’ War.
Bonus: For me, I love that this book is about a REAL horse. (Sorry, folks, but if you didn’t already know this, the Black is fictional. Not that fictional is bad in any way. Come on, Anne Shirley is fictional, too.) Now, of course this book is a fictionalized account of the story… or a based-on-a-true-story type of book. But I must say, the story of Man o’ War is fascinating.
As a kid, I always came out of reading a Walter Farley book thinking I was a true horsewoman. (I’m not, and never was, and never will be.) And now reading this for the first time as an adult, I felt this book did the same to me. I guess that’s the magic of Walter Farley’s writing! 🙂
First published in 1962… (My Rating: 3.5 Stars)
#3 – Homecoming // by Cynthia Voigt
Sadly, this book is no longer at my library. I have no idea WHY they would get rid of it. Because this is an amazing book! I guess it’s just “too old”. (It was published in 1981, so apparently that’s “old”.)
When I realized this book wasn’t at the library, I started searching for it at the used book stores. Finally found a copy. Bought it. Still, I’m very sad the library doesn’t see the value of this book.
It’s the story of the Tillermans, a family of four kids who are abandoned by their mother in a parking lot. So, hardly a cent to their names, they have to fend for themselves and find their own way “home”.
This book is heart-wrenching in its portrayal of the kids’ journey. A journey in both the physical sense, and also a metaphorical sense. Their goal is to reach a grandmother they’ve never met. And when they get to the grandmother’s, it’s not all fairy-tale-ending happiness. The grandmother is a big crank and pretty determined that she wants nothing to do with four grandchildren.
But Dicey, the eldest, is pretty determined to do whatever it takes to keep her siblings together.
First published in 1981… (My Rating: 4.5 Stars)
Any good “old” books you’ve been reading recently? What do you consider to be an “old” book? Do you even read “old” books?