Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Room without Books

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

Of course one of the reasons I like this quote is because I write books, but it is so true when you think of your home and where books are either stacked on shelves because you have read them, or plan to read them in the future.  Or, you have a book by your bed or recliner which you pick up to read whenever you get a chance.

Looking around my office, I have a collection of very old Swedish books which I’ve used for research when working on immigrant pioneer stories. It makes me wonder...who bought, read, and cherished these books in the past century? How much did they cost? Were they a gift for a special occasion? Mabye a pioneer woman treasured this book in her homestead dugout?

I have an Engelsk-Svensk Ordbok (English-Swedish Dictionary) that was published in Stockholm in 1899. It measures 6”  x 9” (with a three inch spine)… and weighs four pounds! Who packed this important book with them to use when they arrived in America? Or did they buy it in New York when they landed in their new country?

And then I think of my Kindle. It’s so handy and holds so many, many books…but it will never have the “soul” of these antique books on my shelf…

Do you have any antique books, maybe passed down from a family member, which you cherish? Have you read any old books, turning the pages as someone did a century or more ago?

About the Author

Linda Hubalek writes historical fiction and sweet western romance books about pioneer women who homesteaded in Kansas between 1854 to the early 1900s, often using her Swedish immigrant ancestors in the storyline.
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  1. Your comments ring so true, a home needs books. I used to have a couple of books from the great grandparents, but lost them when the basement was destroyed in 97. I still mourn their loss. Yes, I have lots of stories on my Kindle, but nothing takes the place of holding the actual book. Angela/Doris

  2. I love the thought that I'm turning pages and reading words someone else did in another area.

  3. Hi Linda!
    Oh, I LOVE this post! Your quote stirs me with agreement, and I found myself nodding as you muse about possibilities with the antique vintage books you've collected (and Sweden is so meaningful for you as it is for me--same reason). I have one antique book that belonged to my great-grandfather's brother. He was quite an artist and a pen-and-ink drawing in fountain pen is inside the front cover along with his signature of ownership. I treasure it doubly because of this peek into my family tree's extended branch, and his amazing talent I do not share.
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, filled-with-insight post. Enjoyed it very much.
    ~ Kristin