There is a unique scent that comes with old books and their pages, the loss of which I fear as we lean more and more towards a digital medium. Only in the last 6 months have I accepted occasionally reading on my phone or iPad. I will always prefer the printed page. Tactile, scented, purposeful. Possibly the best part of all? My paperback doesn’t have popups.
I signed up for GoodReads quite a while ago but never really utilized it. Friends have been using it lately, however, and I keep seeing it pop up in social media newsfeeds… so I checked in with my profile. I set a goal. I started entering books I own and have read – this will take a ridiculous amount of time to catalog. This is what I had in mind when I was getting ready to go to bed and perusing one of my bookshelves for a “new” book to read (re-read or probably re-re-re-re-re-read).
I grabbed for a very thin green paper-bound book that I thought was one of my old copies of Tennyson. I discovered instead something that I have never seen before. This has never been in my possession that I have been aware of, and I’m positive that I can identify every one of the (I’m not gonna bother counting because it’s absurd) books in my room. No one put it in my room. Oh, I asked. But there it was, unobtrusively sitting in a stack with Orwell’s 1984, Kerouac’s On The Road, and Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye. On top of these was the following, published by the Committee on World Friendship Los Angeles City School District in June of 1927:
As far as I can find through a brief search online, 1927 was the first year this was printed and the few sources I have found show it being published as well in 1928, 1931, and 1947. It’s fascinating. I am tempted to scan and upload it in its entirety if not for the somewhat stiff binding.
While I have not gone through all the compiled contents, I’m intrigued. Granted, this is in part because no one claims to know where it came from and it appeared pretty much over night (though my mother states it looks familiar and may have been my grandmothers… who left us to exist without her in 2010). It isn’t often that you find a nearly 90 year old booklet created with the intention of avoiding another World War… that was published smack in the middle of both.