My Favorite Book

It may seem kind of strange, but I rarely open my favorite book in my collection. I haven’t read it cover to cover. Honestly, I only pull it out on occasion to read some of my favorite parts.


Because it’s really, really old. As in printed-before-the-last-century old.

My 1882 Excelsior Edition of Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Kind of silly, I know. But I love that the cover is embossed leather with gold leaf. I love the musty smell that comes off the yellowed pages. I love that inside there’s an ad for additional collections, all priced at $1. I love that I paid $2 when I bought it from an antique store years ago. To me, its worth so much more.

I recently pulled it down to reread The Tinderbox, a favorite of mine as a child. I remember being fascinated with the story because while many fairy tales seemed to have a moral, this one was kind of immoral. The main character killed people who got in his way, never paid for his crimes and got to marry the princess in the end.

Hmmm…. No wonder Disney hasn’t popularized this one….

What’s your favorite book in your collection? Why?

19 thoughts on “My Favorite Book

  1. I love old books like that. They are positively addicting. I don't really have a favorite book in my collection b/c my house can't hold hundreds of books so I've had to learn to let them go. Though I do treasure my Black Stallion series – at the same time I'd be fine giving them away to a child who would love them.

  2. I LOVE that you love old books — and old fairy tales. And none of them have much to do with Disney. I still reread fairy tales all the time–not only Anderson but Lang's fairy books and Oscar Wilde. Grimm not so much though. My mother used to play me a record of Hansel and Gretel at bedtime when I was little, and I consider that bordering on child abuse :D.


  3. My favorite book as a child was The Black Whippet by S.E. Sutton-Vane. I must have taken it out of the library 30 times.

    Imagine my surprise when I found it at a $5- bag sale at the library a couple years ago. I have never re-read it. I'm afraid it won't be the same as I remember it.

    Imagine also my ultimate surprise when just for fun I priced it on the internet and found it was worth around $150-. It now has a place under glass in the china cabinet upstairs.

  4. A cover-less copy of Beagle's The Last Unicorn. I love that book, but like you, I rarely read it. I should buy a new copy, but I don't think I could ever get rid of my old one.

    What a lucky find for $2, Sherrie!

  5. It's a toss up between a couple for me–but for the same reasons. It's either my set of Lord of the Rings or my used copies of several of Arthur Ransome's Swallows & Amazon books. I found all of these on expeditions into used bookstores when I was young. LOTR I found in Oregon on a camping trip with my sister–one of our first truly independent adventures. And I collected as many used HBs of Ransome's books as I walked along Charing Cross Road, when I went (just me & a backpack) to Great Britain for five weeks. They were all books I'd fallen in love with as a child/teen and something about buying my own copies (used and beat up, not new, shiny paperbacks)as a young adult was magic. I still have them and I still read them. 🙂

  6. My favorite book in my collection is a copy of Anne of Green Gables that I picked up in a library or yard sale a few years ago. I love it because it's the same old hardcover edition with the lovely cover illustration of Anne with a Gibson girl hairdo, and interior black-and-white illos of her in various leg-of-mutton-sleeved dresses. I don't read it, but that's because I read it so often when I was young that I have it memorized.

  7. Omigosh that book is a work of art, I don't think I'd be opening it much either! It's gorgeous. I love old antique-y looking books but don't think I have a favorite.

  8. This is a diffiicult choice, if I pick one I'm afraid the other books will get jealous. But…I'll take a chance. I have a copy of Grimm's Fairytales (1917)called Little Brother and Little Sister that's illustrated by Arthur Rackham. It is precious to me for many personal reasons. (I can hear Pooh and The Cat in the Hat arguing about who's second and Oscar Wilde is sulking)

  9. What a treasure! I have a few of these little gems. I found a surprising number of them in England. I think they have so many really old antiques there, that they don't seem as valuable to them, maybe. Especially if they're not THAT old. I'm not sure, though. But I came across some really old, really beautiful books at Oxfam (a charity shop that sells donated books). I used to love going to charity shops there. You'd find the best stuff, often for cheap.

  10. That is a GORGEOUS book. I dream about books like that, and one full of fairy tales? Even better!

    I couldn't tell you what my favorite book in my collection is. I love them all! 🙂

  11. I love the Chronicles of Narnia set that my older brother gave to me when I was a kid. My favorite is The Silver Chair.

    But I would love your favorite. What an awesome steal.

  12. Oh, that's gorgeous! Funny enough, one of my oldest books is also an Andersen collection, which my mom had as a child. The story that always scared me was The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf.

  13. I love the smell of old books.

    I haven't read The Tinderbox yet.

    I lost track (or should I say my parents lost track) of my childhood books. Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin were my favorites.

  14. This is a very pretty book. I have Laboulaye's Fairy Book from 1920, and an antique Jane Austen (sent from a friend in the UK). I guess those would be my favorite's.

  15. That is such a cool book! I remember browsing the UofI stacks and picking up hundred+ year old books, just to hold them, smell them. So cool.

    And yet, I don't own any. I might have to put that on my wish list. 🙂

  16. Oh. My. Word. That is a gorgeous book! I started collecting antique books sometime early this year and that is definitely the kind of thing I would have grabbed. Very cool.


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