The Books Left Behind

Monday, January 7, 2013

My favorite things about the Vermont house lately are the books. The couple from whom we bought the home had lived in it for many years and accumulated an impressive and varied library. Downsizing to a senior community, they generously left us many of their wonderful books, delighting us as we settled in with shelves already stacked and great titles beckoning.

The books left behind include treasures like a first edition Of Mice And Men copy and similar classics; an array of Vermont "coffee table books" and photographic collections; a decade-long assortment of National Geographic magazines; glimpses of the couple's travels in guidebooks ranging from Mexico to Romania; bygones of their academic years studying women's issues and finance, respectively; novels, field guides, how-tos on everything from fly-fishing to animal tracking to farming, and even a helpful guide on maintaining a healthy home septic system.

Books are both personal and profound. Enjoying fragments of a couple's lifelong book collection grants us a special connection to this home and the people who loved it for many years before us. I abandoned the library book I was reading to dive into these wonderful books. I am currently half-way through the book, Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life, by Beth Powning. A fascinating narrative and photographic essay about a woman and her husband who left their Connecticut home to start a new life on a run-down farm in Canada, the book is eloquent, calming, and inspiring--and so very similar to the life that our home's previous owners led when they left suburban Connecticut nearly a half-century ago to forge a similar dream.

All of us are enjoying these new treasures, sorting through the stacks of books left behind, sparking new interests and curiosities in the pages of this new home library. We couldn't have wished for a better house-warming gift.

1 comment:

  1. What a gift all those wonderful books are! We were looking for a kids encyclopedia around the house to look up Harriet Tubman with my 8 year old this afternoon and realized that we had to go online to look the information up from home. So wonderful to have all that information at our fingertips, but, what I wouldn't have given for just the right encyclopedia this afternoon...did they leave you with a set of encyclopedias??