Now that I spend a good deal of time in Rhode Island, I've been exploring the area bit by bit. I'm getting to know Providence again. It's changed a lot since I used to live nearby in southern Massachusetts. But the outskirts are what I'm really interested in.
During one of our visits, I came upon a rare bookstore that I just had to check out. Allison Goodsell Books (great name!) is part of the Kingston Hill Bookstore in the historic village of Kingston, RI. It's filled with all kinds of treasures including an illustrated copy of Wuthering Heights I grabbed. And for only $2 I decided to purchase If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. Originally published in 1938 and republished by her estate in 1987, this book, although a bit dated in some regard, is full of practical advice for the would-be writer. Although I wouldn't put it on my must-have list, for $2 it was worth the money and my time.
What I find most intriguing when purchasing old books is what previous readers do to the books themselves. This person didn't dog-ear a page, but he or she underlined a lot of sentences throughout. For years, I wouldn't even consider marking up a book. In fact, I have two copies of some of my best loved books just so I can keep one in pristine condition. And depending on what the book is about—fiction, non-fiction—I will dog-ear pages, highlight sentences, and toss it in my bag without a second thought.
However, what I really love to do with books (besides read them) is fill them with little mementos like tickets to a book event, the receipt, if I find it at a unique shop or out of state, bookmarks from the store it was purchased from, postcards or letters from the giver. And when I open these books again, it's like opening a scrapbook.
This Friday I will be attending a book event in Cambridge that I can't wait to share with you. And the book will definitely be filled with as many photos and scraps of paper I can get my hands on!