I’m a nostalgic girl. Some of my best bookish memories have been in my early years where I would do nothing but read and wander off into an imaginary world filled with adventures and mysteries. My books even accompanied me even on the lunch and dinner table! A couple of my classmates and I used to exchange reading material but that soon stopped when I realized my books would come back to me with unexplained food stains on their pages. Ugh!
If I ever had unlimited resources, a huge house and a personal home library, I would collect all my favourite childhood books for nostalgia’s sake, preferably in their first editions or the ones with the best vintage illustrations. Here’s a list of authors who would go in my ‘Nostalgia’ section:
- Enid Blyton – Those of you who have been reading my bookish chatter here on the blog, might know how much I loved Enid Blyton growing up. I don’t recall how I got started with her books – probably by reading my sister’s old collection. I still remember checking out so many Enid Blyton books from my school library and bringing them home to devour within the next 3 hours. One particular memory is of a 3-in-1 edition of The Naughtiest Girl in School which was a tattered, torn and well-read hardback with a pink cover. I could go on and on about why I loved these books so much but that’s for another post. Since I have not been fortunate to read all the 762 books she wrote from the 1920’s – 1960’s, I would love to own her entire collection! My favourite part used to be the beautiful, vintage illustrations in most of her books!
- Agatha Christie – Hail the Queen of Crime! Dame Agatha is definitely one of my other favourite literary ladies and it was only natural that I transitioned from one famous British lady to another as I grew up. In fact, I hope she and Enid Blyton are having a cup of tea while chatting books or plotting a village mystery together up there! I would definitely want her books to be on my shelves, all 80 of them! My favourite part of her books were the shocking endings!
- Carolyn Keene – Yes, I am most definitely talking about Nancy Drew. I have read so many Nancy Drews growing up but haven’t read all versions written by 28 different ghost writers under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. For my literary collection however, I would love to go back to the original 23 ones when the character first appeared in 1930 as a spunky amateur sleuth of 18 years. These vintage collectibles were written by Mildred Wirt Benson and I would like to gift them to my sister because she very much wants to read the very first ones.
- Betty Neels – My sister LOVES Neels’ simplistic romance novels published by Mills and Boon and when our neighbourhood library closed down, my sister salvaged as many of her books as she could find. The theme in all her books is always the same – a young English nurse falls in love with a famous Dutch doctor and thinks she is resigned to a lifetime of unrequited love. I would definitely want to add all 134 books to my collection and gift to my sister.
- J.K Rowling – While I was a huge fan of Harry Potter in my mid teenage years, I have never owned the books. I know the series is still quite popular but many decades later, it will be a rare collectible item so I would like to own the first editions for sure.
- Classics – My favourite classics growing up were Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, What Katy Did series by Susan Coolidge and Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. I recently realised that these books that I personally own are abridged versions! I would love to own all these rare vintage books with beautiful illustrations and read them all over again in their original format!
A great website for rare collectibles is Invaluable where you can find antique items such as art, jewelry, toys, wines, books and other items up for auction. According to Invaluable, their most popular item at a recent auction held in May for Hollywood Books, Art and Ephemera was the Pulitzer Prize Winner The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, an author-signed first edition published in 1939. Have a look at their entire books section to see if you can find something you would like to own!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the images above. All credit goes to their owners.
What are some rare vintage books that you own or would like to add to your dream literary collection? I would love to know in the comments below.
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