My Father’s Books in the Age of Tech

Over the last twenty years, my father has moved several times and across many states; but he has always held onto the things he held dear. Yesterday I visited my father’s house and he took me down to his basement. We looked at some of the things he had accumulated, family heirlooms and all. But the thing that stood out the most was the shelves he had arranged with his collections of old, hardcover books: The Hardy Boys series, novels by Jules Verne, L.Frank Baum and a collection of Grimms Fairy tales.

Many of these books had been bought during the 1940’s, on the heels of WWII and in the days of penny-pinching. As a boy, he had a paper route from which he diligently saved his earnings and used them to purchase his favorite books and Classic Comics. In the evenings, when his chores and homework were done, he would crawl into bed and read these stories over and over.

When he became a father, he gathered his treasured collection and tried to introduce them to his children. I read some of them, but I preferred Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys. I also fell in love with Laura Ingalls Wilder and soon began putting my allowance into paperbacks of her series. The one thing he did instill in me was a love of reading and the feel of a good book in your hands.

Now he has 6 grand children and it is a different time. There are so many ways for kids to get entertainment these days: computer games, internet, television, videos- and these modes seem so more interesting to them than old fashioned books. Yesterday he and I sadly looked at his beautiful collection, arranged by size, color, author and he asked me if I thought my children would be interested in them. I think he was expecting the answer I gave him, that even if the subject of the book caught their interest, they would prefer to read it in paper back or on an eReader.

I guess that means it is time for me to get rid of my Little House on the Prairie collection. Why is it so hard to let these things go?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stmarco7
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 21:56:17

    Ah Laura Ingalls Wilder. Do you still have the whole set? I too still love the feel of a good book. Wonderful post!

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    • themiddlegeneration
      Sep 25, 2011 @ 23:48:16

      I am glad you can understand the nostalgia of a book in the hands. I’m afraid it is a dying taste in the next gen. I held onto my Laura Ingalls series with the hopes when I had children, one of them would like it. My daughter read one of them, but I had to buy her a brand new version, not my old ratted copy. She never got into it and the set is sitting in my closet. I guess it is time to bid adieu. Bittersweet.

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