Discussion Post: Sentimental Attachment to Books
Every year, as the holidays approach, my sentimental side kicks in and I start thinking about special gifts that I’ve received over the years. Gifts from my son, gifts from my husband, and gifts from my parents are normally the first ones that come to mind, just because they’ve spent more time with me than anyone else and they just know what I’m going to love and treasure. This year, however, the special gift that came to mind was actually a book so I thought it would be fun to share the story of this gift on the blog.
As a lifelong avid reader, I’ve of course received tons of books as gifts over the years. I’ve received new releases, gorgeous hardcover editions for my collection, books that friends and family have loved that they think I should read, gift cards to go shopping for books of my choice, etc. The bookish gifts are endless and I love them all.
All of that said, however, my all-time favorite bookish gift is actually a ratty old copy of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird that was given to me by my reading teacher when I was in the eighth grade. We had just finished reading the book and doing a whole unit on it in class. It was the first real “grown up” book I had ever read, and to this day, I still remember just how much the story and its themes resonated with me that first time I read it. Once the unit was over, the teacher told us that it was her all-time favorite book and that she hoped we had loved it as well. Then she told us that the copies we were reading from were ours to keep. I had never owned a “grown up” book before so I was just tickled to death to take home my very own copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and put it on my shelf.
I’ve since added much prettier editions of the book to my collection, but I still have that ratty old paperback sitting on my shelf. I’ve read it and re-read it so many times over the years that I’m amazed it hasn’t disintegrated, but no matter how ratty it gets, it will always be my favorite edition of the book because of that sentimental attachment.
Question: So, how about you? Have you received any special books as gifts over the years?
Maybe this explains my current love affair with audiobooks but one of my most memorable books was given to me on vinyl. My parents gave me a book on album called Greyfriars Bobby and I remember listening to that record incessantly. Even now, I can hear the ditty in my head. I couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old.
I also remember being thrilled with every Nancy Drew acquisition I received from my parents. I had quite the collection that I ultimately gifted to a relative…wish I had them back.
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That’s so cool about the book on vinyl. I don’t think I ever had one of those.
When you said “ratty old copy” I expected to see a REALLY beat up book, but it looks in good shape from your photo! I love that story, I’m sure I can dig deep in my memories and come up with a memorable book story, but first, more coffee😁
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I think it looks better in the photo than it does in person. Some of the pages are hanging on to the spine by a thread, lol.
Aw, I love this story. I feel like so many of the books I’ve been given were just books that I already wanted. Granted, I still remember the Christmas I was given the 2nd and 3rd Harry Potter books. I was so excited!
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Right? This was probably one of the only books I’ve ever been gifted that I hadn’t specifically put on a Christmas list and wished for.
Aww, your reading teacher was awesome. My 5th/6th grade teacher gave us books for Christmas. I think I was the only kid who actually read them. I don’t have those books anymore, but I do have a few books that my parents gave me.
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I love it when teachers give out books as gifts. My son has several already and thankfully he is sentimental like me and takes very good care of them.
Oh, I love that story, Suzanne. I would save that copy forever, too. I hope the teacher knows how meaningful that was for you and probably hundreds of other students. The power of a book! I have received gifted copies, too, and one was Tuesdays with Morrie from a professor who had a huge impact on my professional and personal life. She wrote inside it, and it’s so special to me! Wonderful post!
I love that she wrote in your book. I’ve always wished that I had gotten my teacher to write a message in mine.
That’s so sweet! I treasure the flipbacks that I mentioned in my last posts because they were a birthday gift. Someone dear to me wanted to give me something original, that I didn’t have already and I was sooo happy with this cool gift. I haven’t read them all yet even though I have them for 10 years but that doesn’t matter.
I just read your post about the flipbacks. I had never seen a flipback before so I thought your post was very interesting.
What a beautiful memory! That’s so great how your teacher brought this “grown-up” book to your class and it really resonated with you and stuck with you for your whole life! What a great teacher.
I have a leather-bound copy of all Shakespeare’s plays. My mom bought it for me a long time ago, after I really enjoyed my freshman English class where we read a lot of his stuff. It was just nice that she noticed how much that class meant to me and wanted me to have this beautiful book for my collection.
Awww, that’s so sweet. I would treasure a book like that as well.
That is such a lovely story and memory to have!
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This is definitely one of my favourite books, too! I don’t have a special copy of it, but I can see why yours holds so much meaning to you. Most of mine are MG books that I have held onto from my childhood. Old, weathered copies of Charlotte’s Web and Pippi Longstocking that were my first chapter books. 🙂
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Awww, yes, I have some of those as well. When my son was old enough to start reading them, I ended up buying him his own copies so that mine wouldn’t accidentally get destroyed, lol.
When my husband and I first started dating, he bought me all of John Green’s books (some of them were signed) and I still have every single one. I already owned a copy of Looking for Alaska, and it’s one I’ve read many times, and I love my worn copy just as much. I love books that look and feel used, because that means they’re being read a lot. I also enjoy pretty new books that look lovely on my shelves! 😉
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬
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Awww, that was so sweet of your hubby. I would cherish those as well. 🙂
Lol I think I also had that same version of To Kill a Mockingbird when I read it in school. Sadly, a bunch of my books got really yellow and musty over the years and with much sadness I decided to recycle them. But looking at that cover brought me back!!
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Yes, it’s hard to tell from the photo but this book is in pretty rough shape. If it didn’t have such sentimental value for me, I would have recycled it as well.
Awww I love the story of your first grown up book. I’m sure the teacher would be so happy if she knew how much you still cherished it!
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Yeah, I think she would too. 🙂
I am not a big keeper of things, but I do have my grandfather’s Bible (which is in Polish), my grandmother’s prayer book (which is in German), and a book given to me by one of my favorite teachers, who passed away many years ago, Winnie Illegitimates Pooh (Winnie the Pooh in Latin). They all definitely have a lot of sentimental value for me.
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Those sound like books I would treasure as well.
Great teachers can make a difference.
My favorite book I’ve received was a copy of Dragons of Autumn Twilight from my boyfriend. I read it over Christmas break when I was visiting my family. Later, we got married, and we named our kids after characters in the books. We’re reading the series together as a family now.
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Awww, that is so sweet. I’ve never read that book before but you have me curious about it now. 🙂
Love the story about your sentimental attachment to your first “grown-up” book. 🙂 I have some books that were my mom’s when she was younger. One of them is a bit battered, but I hold onto them for sentimental value for sure.
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Oh, that’s so cool. I don’t think I have any books that belonged to my parents when they were younger. If I did, I’d totally hang on to them though.