Monday, July 25, 2011

Guess What I'm Reading

I had the day off work and spent most of the afternoon cleaning out my back bedroom. I can now recognize that it holds a bed and even a desk. It was in pretty bad shape. While in there, I started looking over my bookcases for titles to get rid of. I do this every couple of years. I'm a bit compulsive as a book buyer. Without frequent weedings I would have no place to walk in my house. So I was looking to start a box. A huge series of books attracted my attention as possible shelf space but after glancing through them I think I'm going to keep them. They're just such fun.

Years ago my parents subscribed to the Time-Life Series of books. We would get beautiful hard bound books in the mail on every subject imaginable. My favorite then, and possibly still now, was a series called The Enchanted World. This was an illustrated collection of stories and myths broken out by subject. There are books on ogres, witches, brave knights, creation myths, christmas, and dozens of others. This 21 volume series covered every type of story imaginable. They are beautifully bound, richly illustrated, and amazingly heavy. For a fanciful child like myself, they were pure gold.
I've always loved fantasy stories and tales of the occult. I remember spending hours pouring over the book on witches and witchcraft trying to learn spells that would allow me to vanquish my enemies and make boys fall in love with me. In high school I played with tarot and palmistry, often earning me some interesting nicknames. I still love fairy tales and myths.

So I'm going back through those old stories that I may or may not have read. I started and finished The Book of Beginnings which covers creation myths and origin myths from around the world. There are Native American tales about how corn was introduced to the world. I was fascinated by the old Navajo story of the Woman Who Fell From the Sky and the Finnish story about the Princess of the Air who falls to earth and is impregnated by a clash of air and water, creating mankind. I particularly like the old Norse myths. The cover image tells an interesting tale of how animals got their tails. The section on Noah's Ark myths covered an interesting story about how cats came to be that I've never heard before.

I'm now reading Dragons. With only 150 or so pages for each book, many covered with illustrations, it shouldn't take me too read all the way through. Check out this 1985 trailer for the series. This would have come out right when I was the hungriest for stories. At nine I was desperate to still believe in magic. I wanted the world of fairies and dwarves and dragons to be real. I craved something beyond the ordinary. Funny enough I still do. These books are a treasure trove. I can't get rid of them.


TheDogLikeCynic said...

What lovely book covers. My mom has several old books of fairy tales from other countries, things that would never make it into a children's book these days, and they are so beautifully made. I especially love the books you can sometimes find in antique shops where the illustrations inside have their own protective sheet between the picture and the text.

Cat B said...

There are some gorgeous fairy tale books out there. Those are treasures that you have of books from other countries. They can be tough to find.

I also love the little sheet that protects the illustrations. Some of the books that have them have the most amazing images. I was in an antique store recently and found some books with some fantastic illustrations. One was done by Arthur Rackham, whose work I love. The next was Andrew Wyeth and the last was Salvador Dali. I still regret not buying them.