Do you have books you’d never toss no matter how book-deep and pile-high your shelves are getting? Books that aren’t necessarily your favorites, but hold some special meaning? Mine are pictured–Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Hidden Staircase, a Nancy Drew Mystery by Carolyn Keene, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and last but not least, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. My copy of Jane Eyre with wood engravings was published in 1943, Wuthering Heights has a leather cover and was published in 1923, my sentimental favorite, The Hidden Staircase, with its illustrated cardboard cover, was published in 1959.
Only one is among my favorite reads of all time, Rebecca. It pops up in most of the stories I write, as do old houses and abandoned institutions. I couldn’t tell you why Rebecca is so special to me. Maybe it’s the dark moodiness of the novel, or the naïve young Mrs. de Winter, or the creepy Mrs. Danvers, or Manderley, Max de Winter’s exquisite mansion. I can’t imagine reading Rebecca on a Kindle or in a 21st century printing. My paperback copy was printed in 1943 and carries these words on the page preceding the title, “In order to cooperate with the government’s war effort, this book has been made in strict conformity with WPB regulations restricting the use of certain materials.” I don’t know what “certain materials’ weren’t used, but I love turning the yellowing paper-thin pages which are now becoming loose from the glued backing.
Our home library is always filled to the gills with books even though we’ve donated hundreds to our local library over the years. And although I love my Kindle, I’ll always find a place in our library, and in my heart, for the physical books I cherish.