A week or so before March House Books closed I received an email from a lady by the name of Julie Drew. It turns out Julie and I have much in common, a love of books being just one of our shared interests. Since then we've communicated several times, and I'm very happy to say Julie has now agreed to share some of her thoughts here. This is a short excerpt from Julie's first email, there will be more to follow;
My name is Julie Drew and I live in tropical North Queensland, Australia. I often find myself linked onto your magical website, and thoroughly enjoy every moment I spend browsing through your treasures. But today I found your fabulous Aladdin's Cave even better than usual. I made the time to read your entries and feel that we must be kindred spirits, with so many loves which coincide.....
The first of these was your love for your precious Rosie who went off to Rainbow Bridge in 2009. (If you wish you can read about Rosie here) I almost cried with sadness at the loss of this beautiful little friend, and I know how much you must still miss her. I lost my Tibetan Spaniel, Furble, aged almost 15 in August 2010, and not a day goes by when I do not think of him as I feed my other 3 beloved fur babies.
Images via The Enid Blyton Society
The second crossover interest is of course my love of old and antique children's books which I have collected since 'acquiring' my now 85 year old Dad's first edition of Enid Blyton's Boys and Girls Story Book No 2 which he was given back in 1934!! Stories from this were read to us each night at bedtime, for so many years; and was repaired so often by my ever patient mother to the point of it being almost totally rebound. It is completely non-recognisable from the outside, these days, but the contents are totally intact ,thanks to her efforts when I was a child in the 60's! Imagine my delight at discovering that this was one of 6 Annual-style books published by News Chronicle, filled to overflowing with the incomparable works of Enid Blyton back in the days before her Magic Faraway Tree tales which we all know and love so dearly in their original format before Political Correctness went mad and ruined so many old kid's treasures for good!! I have still got Dad's treasure here, but I also have completed collecting the entire set of the 6 books which I have recently enjoyed reading from Beginning to End! Dad was so very interested to learn that the book he loved so much as a child was just one of 6 which came out annually till 1940. I have been so blessed to be have been raised by parents with this love for the written and illustrated word! Mum passed away at only 42 when I was 17,and I inherited her super collection of books which had meant so much to me while she was still with us. It is the very greatest legacy she could have left for me in the 70's.
I have so many favourites among the thousands of books on my shelves (and tables, chairs, and also piles of them on my floors!!!) that it is very hard to say which call the loudest to me. But I can happily name the British Judge, Edward Abbott Parry's eccentric and delicious books 'Katawampus: its Cure and Treatment' with its sequel 'Butterscotia, or a Cheap Trip to Fairyland' as two of my absolute all-time cannot-put-down treasures!!! I only came across them in the past 2 years, both found in UK on completely different sites and a good 6 months or so apart. I have the matching Heinemann editions published in 1927, a good 30 years after they first appeared!! The strangest thing of all though, is that I had, some few years even earlier, been tempted to purchase the third (and final) book to feature the same characters; and it too is in the matching 1927 binding!! Oh Joy of Joys!!!!
Another little gem, and I do mean little, is 'Pigs is Pigs', an American treat by Ellis Parker Butler, from early in the 20th century!! It was actually first published as a short story in the American Illustrated Magazine, and then a few years later as a book in its own right. It was published many times after that in various covers! A bookseller in USA sent me a copy as a gift about 7 years ago due to my love of guinea pigs as well as dogs! I read it through and laughed till my tummy ached!! I did not even realise till very recently that it has more than once been adapted for film, and even nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short Film, for Walt Disney in 1954!!! Now THAT, I really have to see!! Again, thank heavens for the internet!
Anyway, I really have taken far too much of your time for now, for someone you have never met!! So if you have not fallen asleep yet, I shall wish you a lovely weekend.
My thanks and many smiles, Julie Drew