Exploring My Bookshelves…for Fragile Books

Exploring My Bookshelves For EveryoneI’m jumping into a new-to-me bookish meme this week, Exploring My Bookshelves hosted by Addlepates and Book Nerds.  Each Friday, bloggers are invited to post a picture of their bookshelf, and write in response to a prompt about said-bookshelf.

Today’s prompt is…a book you don’t want to read for risk of damaging it.

I actually have four books like that, so I’m taking “bookshelf” slightly metaphorically, hauled all four off of their various shelves and took a photo of the group.  Pay no attention to the carpet.


I actually am willing to read three out of four of these…just very carefully.

The Catalogue Raisonne of William Bouguereau is by far and away my most expensive book…but it’s a gorgeous collection of paintings by my favorite artist, and is pretty much the definitive book on his work.  It’s huge and shiny and gorgeous, and it’s the only book I have a conscious, self-imposed rule about not eating while reading it.

That slim green book is Nature and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1884 edition–and it was weirdly cheap for that!  Even though it didn’t cost a lot, it feels valuable just for sheer age.  It’s holding up pretty well, but the spine is a little iffy and the pages are getting crackly, so it requires careful reading.

Poems by Browning and The Joy of Cooking are both books that belonged to my grandma, and both are a bit delicate.  Browning is holding up as readable, but I really am afraid to turn the pages in Joy of Cooking, so that one’s strictly decorative at this point.

Do you have any books you’re afraid–or at least cautious–about reading?  I’d love to hear!

2 thoughts on “Exploring My Bookshelves…for Fragile Books

  1. dianem57

    You have some amazingly old books! Where did you get the 1884 Emerson book? Was that at some sort of book sale, or does Amazon sell books that old? I am impressed that you have books like that. I think it’s impressive that you have a book from your grandmother, too. If it’s that fragile, it must’ve been well-used in her day! 🙂

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