This is what my husband said to me tonight when I demanded that he smell my book and stuck the open pages up to his face.
Me: What does that smell like to you?
Hubs: An old book! Get out of here man!
I am currently rereading one of my absolute favorite books of all time; On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt.
It was my mother’s book. It smells OLD. My husband was certainly right about that.
The book has a faded cover that was once a dark navy with a black binding. Now the edges are tattered and the binding is turning white from being bent too harshly over the years.
On the bottom left corner of the cover there is a drawing of a flower vine I created years and years ago as a girl when I first read the book.
On the inside written in cursive are the words Carlton Arms. This was my parents first apartment complex that they lived in together as newly weds in their early 20’s, it makes me wonder if my mother stole this book from some little library they had at the complex. Ha! I literally solved the mystery of where the book came from right after I wrote that sentence. There is a brown piece of tape at the bottom of the very first page under the cursive inscription. I held the page up to my lamp to see what the tape was covering and underneath was a ink stamp that reads: Library Winter Park Memorial Hospital.
Maybe my Mom was a little crook after all. She worked at that hospital and that is where my brother and I were born. One way or another sounds like she snatched the book. I am glad she did, I would never have read this book if I hadn’t run out of my own books to read when I was younger. With no other option I read one of my Mother’s books and this title intrigued me.
I have many favorite books. This is primarily because I have a very hard time picking singular favorites. The best I can do is pick top 3s or top 5s. Never a definitive this is my one true favorite though.
Every few years I read this book. I never get tired of the story. Every time I read it I learn something new about both the story and myself based on my current phase of life. I don’t think I will ever stop loving this book and while I don’t have a true favorite when it comes to my books, this one is special.
So many books I read have a deliberately weathered look with pages that have been tattered by some machine to give them interesting texture. This book came by its distress honestly though. This book has been loved hard. It smells like dust and aged paper, it is fragile and some pages are close to falling out. You can’t get this feeling from a kindle. This book has had a life, a good one. It has been loved.
I am excited to come back to something familiar and precious. It feels like the right time to revisit a story that fills my heart with all the good stuff.
Okay little Lenchen, give me your best.