Fiction Friday: Book Collections

Book CollectionsWelcome to Fiction Friday.

On Tuesday I showed you a few of the “prized possessions” which now adorn our summer cottage. I didn’t have room there to show you two “collections” we’ve added to our walls, so I’m adding them here.

The first are mismatched plates I couldn’t bear to throw away, and the second a wonderful set of aluminum plates and bowls, some marked DePonceau of Chautauqua, NY., another from the well known Wendell Forge in Pennsylvania, which were in a cupboard when we moved in. Now we display them for all to see.Book Collections blog

Collections are great and if you haunt flea markets and garage sales, they don’t need to cost a lot. I have friends who collect and display art glass and other precious items. Others look for novelty items like salt shakers or vintage pie pans, and the hunt itself is the real purpose of the collection.

Some people, of course, collect books.aluminum plates

For fun go to your bookshelf. What do you see? Do you have a special collection? Authors you particularly love so you have all their books? A subject you enjoy so much you need to keep everything written about it?

When we moved I donated about a thousand books to my local library. What a wrench that was. But I made myself give up the books I knew I would never read or need again. Faced with the reality of shipping costs and not knowing how much room I might have in our new home I was pretty good. Really.

Of course I did keep a set of vintage paperbacks by Arthur Upfield featuring Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte in Australia’s Outback. And I held on tightly to the only two hardcover Oz books I’ve found that I could afford. I read these as a child and I wouldn’t be surprised if I owe my career as an author to the love of reading that they sparked.

So what do you keep? And if you were moving what would you find impossible to give away?

For fun I checked out book collections on the web and found this article on Flavorwire, The Private Book Collections of 10 Famous Readers. You’ll enjoy looking through it because the readers are so different. Oprah, Harry Houdini, Marilyn Monroe. Give a quick look. I think it would be fun to read along with these folks and see what they found so extraordinary about these volumes.

If you’re an inveterate book hoarder, I even found software to help you catalog your library and remind you what you have. You can find that here. There’s a free version included for 100 or fewer books.

Now, tell us about your own collections. We’d love to know what you treasure.


  1. Marsha Markham on August 29, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    This is a fun subject. I love your plates on the wall. I have several hand painted ones. Two came from a great great grandfather who owned the Victoria Hotel on Chautauqua Lake, I don’t want anything to happen to them so they are on the wall where I can enjoy. Another plate I treasure is a celery dish that my Swedish grandmother received 1909 for a wedding gift from her best friend.
    I have a collection of hand painted salt shakers that I enjoy too (guess you can tell I like pretty china).
    The things I have trouble letting go have either come down from the family or have been given to me by special friends. I also have special genealogy books and a few from my childhood that I treasure.

    • Emilie Richards on August 29, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Oh my, beautiful and important keepsakes, I know. And the Victoria Hotel? There were once so many gorgeous old hotels on Chautauqua Lake. What a shame when these beauties burn down or are razed in the name of progress.

  2. susan muniz on August 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Emilie, I wrote a few years back of how your book Lover Knot had inspired me to make the quilt. Here is the label from the quilt I made. I have a picture if you would like to see it.

    Summer’s Lover’s Knot.
    MAY 2014
    As a quilter and a fan of Emilie Richards’s books, I pick up a copy of Lover’s Knot. In the front of the soft cover was a picture of a young woman sitting on a folded quilt on window ledge. The quilt captured my imitation so much that I even email Ms. Richards and told her that I was going to make the quilt. At the time I had started the quilt she had yet to publish her companion book with instructions. However, I came across a template for the lovers knot quilt pattern. With the picture off the cover of the book I set out to find just the right fabric. To me it looked like each color faded into the next. Finally I found just what I was looking for, with a bonus of gold lighting strikes. Because I want the quilt to look as much like the book cover I took my time and was fussy cutting out the prices. Then I came across the companion book. Oh no! I thought this doesn’t look anything like the quilt on the book cover. I had one third of the quilt cut out and even had a few of the block sewn by then. What do I do now? With that much time already spent on the quilt and that fact that in my mind I could not see the quilt any other way, I finish my quilt and gave it to my daughter (Summer) who is very please.
    For Summer. See I don’t give all my best work to someone else.
    With all my Love, MOM

    • Emilie Richards on September 2, 2014 at 10:17 am

      What a wonderful label, and yes, yes, please send a photo so I can post this on my blog. I know others would love to see it. The former director of the Virginia Quilt museum was making a hand-pieced Lover’s Knot quilt from 30s reproduction fabrics, and I want to do one of these, too. Such fun and so beautiful when completed. A perfect project for next summer, now that I think about it. So inspire us all, please.

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