Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Six books I couldn't pack and why

My husband and I will be moving soon. That means lots of books have been stuffed into lots of boxes. But there were some books I couldn't bring myself to pack away. The risk was too high. I'd worry about them too much. All of the other books in the house could suddenly disappear, and I'd survive without too many tears. But these are my special books. A few are irreplaceable. Almost all have sentimental value and represent something I care deeply about. And all will be bubble-wrapped and transported carefully beside me as we drive to a new house in a new town in a new state. Overkill? You must not love books like I do.

In no particular order:

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

This book is special for two reasons. First, because it represents a period in my life when I discovered that humans can have an affinity to a place and never know it till they land there (if they're lucky enough to ever make it). Second, because it represents a beautiful, magical summer I had once upon a time.

There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar

If you've read the blog before, you may know why I can't heartlessly stuff this book into a box. It's the only book that survived my childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and now into my 30s. It has been with me these 22 years and still makes me cry. It is the example I want to live up to when I put pen to paper.

Peter Pan and Wendy by J. M. Barrie

You might also know why this made the list. All I'll say here is that I love this story because it's saying something. Not all stories do that, and of the books I've read, none other does it this well.

The English Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann 

This book can't go into a box because it's simply too fragile and worth too much money. It permanently lives in a ziplock bag, and the cover won't hold much longer. But there's one more reason I want to keep it safe. That's because it's hand-colored. It's unique. It's beautiful (though hilariously gruesome). In other words, you can't get one at Walmart.

When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne

This one is also worth too much to pack away. However, I love it and own it for two important reasons. First, because it's heartbreaking. Most everything I've read of Milne's is, to me. But also because it is our first introduction to Pooh.

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

I've heard everyone goes through a crisis of faith at some point. We question what we've known. We look for answers. It's as human as eating and breathing and hoping. This book came along just about the time I started asking questions and changed the way I think about certain things forever. This copy may be ugly to some, but with my original markings throughout, it will always be beautiful to me.