Karen Kolavalli is our guest blogger today:
Mom and Dad have been on my mind a lot lately. After they passed ten years ago, I acquired most of their extensive book collection. In the years since they’ve been gone, the books have mostly stayed in boxes as I moved around the country, but recently I’ve been working to get them ready to sell. The bulk of their collection consists of well-read turn-of-the-century novels, with “well-read” translating to heavily used, worn, and sometimes just barely holding together! Booksellers will often list these as being in “rough condition”. Indeed. 😉
As I research the books, I’ve been surprised to find that many of them are quite rare and would command very nice prices–if only they were in better condition. I spent a number of years as an online sales volunteer for a large Friends of the Library organization. I had been a hobby bookseller online for a long time, but I definitely upped my game with the bookselling skills I developed working with the high-volume Friends operation.
I started teaching myself how to do minor book repairs as a volunteer. After I “retired” from volunteering and put more energy into my online bookselling business, I got serious about doing a better job on book repairs. With the onset of the pandemic two years ago, I’ve had even more time to devote to restoring/conserving my folks’ books.
One of the first of those books was actually one that my paternal grandmother, Cora Joy Martin, had given to her mother, Marie Kennedy Joy. It was then handed down to my dad, Clyde Martin. Before I noticed the family connection, the book was headed to the donation box because it was in such bad condition. But when I saw the personal inscriptions, I decided to give it a second chance. “Helen of the Old House” was written by Harold Bell Wright. Mom and Dad had a large collection of his books; Mom was proud that one of the characters in Wright’s “The Shepherd of the Hills” was based on her mother’s cousin, Fiddlin’ Jake Vining.
Riddle me this–exactly how many copies of “The Shepherd of the Hills” does one family need, even factoring in the family connection to one of the characters?!
Another project. Mom and Dad were huge fans of the western author Zane Grey.