A Sentimental Value

Recently I talked about books that changed your life and are important to you — like the words on the pages, the story, the characters — but the other day I started thinking about books that are just important to you, for what is inside, but also just the actual physical book itself.

I was thinking about it when I was working onΒ  a prompt for a daily Instagram challenge. The prompt was “favorite childhood book.” I have quite a few childhood favorites (ones that I still own) but immediately I thought about my beloved Nancy Drew books.

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I will never forget the day my mom gave these to me. I was pretty young and I remember she climbed through our creepy attic while I waited at the door because I was afraid of mice being in there. I HATED OUR ATTIC. She rummaged through a couple of boxes until she found them. They were hers. And before that they were her mom’s. I don’t remember why exactly she grabbed them for me. Maybe I was looking for more material to read? Maybe I had already been into Nancy Drew? Maybe she wanted to introduce me to them? I can’t really recall the why but I will never forget the memory for some reason. (I have the strangest memory because I remember the most random things but can’t remember things Will told me yesterday).

I remember feeling like I was part of a secret club now that I was grown up enough to read my mom’s Nancy Drew books. My sister didn’t read so I felt like it was truly something JUST my mom and I shared. They felt so old to me. So fragile. And I remember handling them with great care. There’s some sort of magic that just comes with something that has been passed down from grandmother to mother to child.

I devoured that whole series and bought many more of them but the only ones I still have in my possession are actually these ones. Most of you long-time readers know that my mom passed away in 2006 and so these books have a value that I can’t ever put on them. I mean, I seriously would probably grab these in a fire (along with the blanket I have them sitting on which is made of some of my mom’s most iconic t-shirts I remember her wearing) because THEY MEAN SO MUCH TO ME. They were my mom’s. We shared a love for reading and I know that her giving me those helped me to be the reader I am today.

I’ve talked before about how I’m pretty ruthless about getting rid of books after I read them (only favorites or books that I would reread or signed books FROM beloved authors even if I didn’t LOVE the book). I don’t collect books or ARCs or different editions. But sometimes books stay on my shelf for sentimental reasons. I don’t have many books that stay for that reason but the ones that do really mean a lot to me.

When I think about what other books mean a lot to me a couple signed books come to mind. Books personalized to me from favorite authors. (MY GAYLE FORMAN BOOK FROM MY BIRTHDAY) Things like that. And as much as they mean so much to me, they just can’t ever come close to my beloved Nancy Drew books.

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There’s just something about having a piece of my mom that comes with a vivid memory of being given those books and knowing they were hers and she wanted to give them to me. To look at those worn pages and know that once upon a time she flipped through them (because sometimes through the years you get so used to someone as being NOT ALIVE that you have to remind yourself of all the years of living they really did). Of the connection those books brought us because there were very few ways I felt like I truly understood her but her love for reading was one of those things.

 

So what about you guys? Do you have any books that have sentimental value to you? That are important to you in a way that isn’t JUST about what is inside?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I’ve actually seen several posts on this topic today! For me, there has always been something about physical books that I find comforting. I love looking at a shelf filled with books, so I almost never get rid of them. I have books that I’ve been dragging from house to dorm to apartment for nearly ten years, even though I probably won’t re-read a majority of them. I guess what I’m trying to say is I get sentimental about books in general even though I can’t really think of any specific copies I’m really attached to. Honestly, if I were attached to the original copies of my favorite books, I’d be in for heartache. I have read some books so often (such as the Harry Potter series) I’ve gone through 3-4 copies as they fall apart!

  2. This makes me want to pull down the box of my mom’s Nancy Drew books! :’)

  3. Actually, I think I feel almost that way about all my books (the ones I like). I’m less sentimental about books I really don’t like (even if most other people love them). I do feel very attached to the books my mum has given me (and the ones my dad gave me as well and my grandparents etc) either ones mum bought especially for me or her own older books. These days my mum reads less (she has an eye problem) and I think she gradually became less fond of reading over the years, which is sad.

  4. I have the set of Little House on the Prairie books that my mom read to me. They are very special to me!!!

  5. Like you, the Nancy Drew books I inherited from my mom have a lot of sentimental value, as well as the old copies of the Little House on the Prairie books and Anne of Green Gables series that my sister and I loved growing up. We read those soooo many times and I’m patiently waiting for when my daughter is old enough to enjoy them as well.

  6. Lol…my mom passed down MOMMIE DEAREST by Christina Crawford…what does that say about our relationship?? πŸ˜‰ (It’s great now!) She also gave me her first “real romance” book & some ones she read as a teenager like ICE CASTLES. My dad gave me a stack of Isaac Asimov books that I’ve kept forever even though I haven’t reread them. (I should!) Also, my STRANGERS IN PARADISE graphic novels remind me of him (he’s still alive) every time I read them, because he got me started on them & the series is both of our favorites.
    I also have a library copy of HUNKY-DORY DAIRY by Anne Lindbergh that I read whenever I am sick or down and it always reminds me of checking it out as a kid every other week or so. It’s odd that I never bought that one until an adult though.

  7. Beautiful post, Jamie. I have a few books that I will never get rid of because of sentimental reasons. The one that really comes to mind is my copy of A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. I think I bought it for myself, but when I was 15, this book was EVERYTHING to me. I re-read it constantly, and the pages are all falling apart, and I loaned it to my best friend and he loved it, too – and I took it with me on trips to India, Mongolia, Philippines…it’s still one of my favourites, and I’ll never get rid of it because it was the first time a book completely took me over, and it has the feel and the scent of all the places it’s been in its pages. I really believe that. I have a new version (same imprint and cover) for reading now, but the original version still lives in my basement to remind me of ME at 15. =)

  8. I really enjoyed this post, Jamie! I actually feel the same way about my Nancy Drew books, as they belonged to mom as she grew up as well. (It’s also how I feel about her romance novel collection, but since my sister and I agreed she could have most of it… I’m mostly attached to the Nancy Drew books.) It’s just something special when you see a book that you know has been loved, been read and been in the family for more than one generation — and it really makes me feel a special connection with my mom.

  9. That’s so sweet! I have a copy of the Da Vinci Code my Granddad gave me. We were never all that close, but after I mentioned that I wanted to read it, he gave me it, as well as some toffees. After he died a few years ago, it’s a nice way to remember him!

  10. I’ve often wanted to go through my mother’s cedar chest. She always kept things like old albums, books, and anything that meant anything to her children. I would love to see if my old Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books are there and can just about bet that they are.

  11. I wish I had some books like these! I do have plenty of childhood books I plan to keep, but none that were “passed down” like that.

    ALSO THIS IS MY WHOLE LIFE: “I have the strangest memory because I remember the most random things but can’t remember things Will told me yesterday”

  12. I don’t have many books that have THAT sentimental value for me, but I am a big hoarder of books per se! I keep all my books because I have a really hard time letting go of them, and even more if we’re talking about books that were gifts and then even more those that are signed!

  13. Oh, this post is awesome. I also have a few books my mom gave me – she lives in Jamaica – that I treasure even though I don’t read.

  14. Aw this post is wonderful! I love the sentimentality of books, whether it’s the person who gave them to you, because they changed you or just because they are beautiful.
    I found a treasure trove of books from my childhood in the attic last month and I loved looking through them and laughing at the memories they evoked. There is poetry book I used to read with my dad as a kid that had a poem by AA Milne in it and it was called King John’s christmas and I always remember it because it featured a red Indian rubber ball which as a child I found fascinating for some reason. We both laughed as we read the poem together the other week which was nice to share.
    x

  15. Jamie! I can completely relate to the Mom thing. I love your picture and your story of how those books mean so much to you.

    I have my Mom’s copies of Gone With the Wind and Scarlett on my shelf. They are old and I’ve still never read them (even though I meant to so I could chat with her about her favourite books – too late now, but one day maybe I can write out my experience with them). And I have her audiobook copy of Twilight on my shelf as well. And next time I’m home, I’m going to snag some more of her books (mostly Bertrice Small). I miss her so much, but I think back to how she gave me her love of reading and I just smile. It’s like how each time I read a historical romance by Bertrice Small, I think of my Mom telling me they were too “mature” for me and finally she gave in and let me read one when I was done high school. She was right, but now they are beloved romance books because we shared that common bond of reading.

    My list could go on and on. But my last ones I can add are Harry Potter and Twilight, because my Mom, my sister and I all read them at the same time and saw the movies in the theater together. Such wonderful memories.

    <3

  16. I don’t think I have any of those books. Most of them are bought by me or given by people who are still alive, so I don’t have much sentiment when it comes to books from my youth.

    I think if I have to come up with one, it’s the 365 story books that my mother used to read right before I went to bed πŸ™‚ and that we ended up reading way more than 1, so we always finished it too early.

  17. Ours (answering for my sister too, obviously, even though I didn’t consult her on this) are the Little House books, most especially Little House in the Big Woods, as I don’t know that we ever actually finished the series. Our mother used to read them to us and I want her to again, please, even though we’re 24 and 22.
    And the picture books she used to read, too – the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books (and Snipp, Snapp, Snurr!) were a favorite and they stayed at Grandma’s house (which was super far away so we didn’t get these read to us too often). I live in Moldova now so I was at a kind of fair/yard sale/block party thing, and this guy was selling these picture books, so I went and looked.. And there was The Little House (the picture book) in Romanian! I almost cried when I saw it and just HAD to have it. So now I’ll read it to my future babies in English and in Romanian. They may not speak that, but they’ll know how to say Little House for sure.
    And I loved your story about Nancy Drew. Just loved it. Maybe I did cry a little bit. And what a great set of books for your mom to share with you, too. Thanks for sharing.

  18. My Harry Potter series holds a lot of meaning to me. I got it for Christmas right after I finished reading the series for the first time and became obsessed. It was evident that I would be reading them a lot, and that I did! It came in a Harry Potter trunk and everything – I was giddy for days! There’s also the book, Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, that I loved (still take it out for a reread every now and then!). I had earned it from working the book fair at school (where I also purchased quite a few other books!) and I’ve read it so many times that it’s frayed and falling apart. πŸ™ I still think it’s the upside-down chick that really drew me in – so cute and so great! So many memories with books; love it!

    -Grace πŸ™‚

  19. Ahh, I love this post! Makes me think about why I hold on to the books that I do…Mostly I keep books that were 5 star reads for me. A few books, though, are a little more special. Two that come to mind are my paperback of The Hobbit, the first Tolkien book I read, that I’ve had since I was 12 and a copy of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust that I had him sign when he came to my city on the wonderful chance of a local bookstore winning a contest to host him. But, these books are special to me because of how they relate to my reading experience. I don’t think I have any books that are special like your Nancy Drew books.

  20. A family friend gave me a copy of The Neverending Story when I was in elementary school. A while later I decided to read it for a book report at school, and I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the book. It was already quite tattered and falling apart when I was gifted the book and, after a couple of more reads, the book is literally in pieces. But, because of my profound love and connection with the characters and the story, I just cannot bring myself to either replace the book or even to just purchase an additional copy! My tattered old copy has simply too much sentimental value, so I continue to hang onto it, even if I’m not 100% sure that it would even survive being read one more time…

Trackbacks

  1. […] Anyone who reads a lot has those books that mean something to them, whether it’s a book that brings back memories from childhood, the one that changed your outlook on life or one that’s signed by your favourite author. I could definitely relate to the post called A Sentimental Value from Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner. […]

  2. […] Do you have a book that means more to you beyond the words on the page? This post spoke to my sentimental side when it comes to […]

  3. […] Jamie talks about the sentimental value of her Nancy Drew books. […]

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