Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mother Culture - 2 hours, $20 and 20,000 books.

Tonight was my tri-annual evening of Mother Culture as I headed to the Berkshire Athenaeum's Used Book Sale. This time I went with my friend, Erin, who came fully armed with her lists from Ambleside Online.

Not knowing if we will be living in a yurt within the next few months, combined with books yet to purchase for Year 2 meant a self-imposed budget of $20. This actually added to the excitement - you'll remember, these book sales are already somewhat of an extreme sport.

I always bring the boys each a gift. For Luca, One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey. The story takes place about a hundred miles from where we will be camping in August. Max received Mother West Wind's Neighbor by Thornton W. Burgess. Peter Rabbit is well loved during the school year and Burgess' other books are favorite 'free reads' for Max.

Lots of large format artist books with pullout posters for picture studies.

For me. Illustrating Children's Books, History, Technique, Production by Henry C. Pitz, who is an accomplished illustrator in his own right. This book is a survey of some of the greatest children's books illustrations from the Middle Ages to the book's publication in 1963. 222 illustrations and 19 color plates. Heavy sigh. There is also a detailed analysis of book structure and design. I'm probably most excited to read about Howard Pyle, Brandywine and his talented students, which include N.C. Wyeth. Yes, I have Maine on the brain as we will be camping a stones throw from the Wyeth residence.

The books have to be worthy of the space they take up in our home and I was happy to add Russian folk tales and fairy tales to our collection. My favorite find though - We, the People by Elizabeth Yates. An imagined (but true enough) story about a young homestead family in New Hampshire during the American Revolution. Yates writes, "They did no particular acts of heroism, except as the living of each day was heroic in itself."

As the volunteer added up my purchases I was busy trying to figure out which books I would put back if I ran over budget. "Twenty dollars," the kindly gentleman smiled, "I'll throw that last one in for you."


Erin Neiner said...

:) I have been enjoying looking over & over every single book I purchased and the boys are also thrilled. The stack still resides on our bench to paw through. They keep giving... I think there are a few I didn't even get to show you that were slipped in my pile. A copy of Pied Piper written by Robert Browning, illustrated by the great Kate Greenway...remind me to show you that one! It's a beauty! Thanks for the company! It was fun...though my head was spinning! :)

Nick Manson said...

The "Wonders of Tutankhamun" reminds me of looking out the window of our room in the Essex Inn at the line around the block at the Field Museum's King Tut exhibit circa 1976. Remember bellboy Ian?

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Nothing like a good used book sale to get your blood pumping!

You found some great books and I love the art print books!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Richele said...

It was an adrenaline rush - though this time I think I was more excited that Erin is embarking on her homeschooling journey.

Nick, I have vivid memories of that trip. Cubs vs. Red Sox, riding the elevators and escalators, Bellboy Ian, and King Tut being just out of reach.