Vegas. That one word conjures up so much imagery—bright lights, gambling and hot summer nights. Not things you would associate with your typical little bookworm such as myself. When my husband suggested he’d like to take a trip to Vegas for his 50th birthday, I smiled sweetly and thought, “O-k-a-y….”
After all, it was his birthday and how many times do you turn 50? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Just once.
I know what you’re thinking—What does any of this have to do with a book blog? Trust me, I’ll get there!
I’m a very reserved blackjack player at best! Over the years on the limited trips we’ve taken to Vegas or Tahoe, my gambling budget is typically no more than $50.00 and then I cringe when I lose it. Instead, I prefer to invest my capital in a sure thing, not on the turn of a card or the roll of the dice. However, I reconciled our upcoming adventure with the fact that we could enjoy a couple of shows, eat lots of yummy food, do some sightseeing, and make ourselves available to the bevy of shopping opportunities. I never dreamed I’d stumble across…
A Rare Find
Imagine my surprise as my family strolled along the Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes and came upon this beautiful sight:
Baumans Rare Books. Yes, those three words alone deserve a period. A pause to reflect. At first I stood outside staring through the glass window displays and the rare books they showcased. Knowing my daughter would not need any prodding, I turned to my husband and gave him a winsome smile. He just chuckled and said, “Go ahead.” That was all the encouragement I needed! I quickly ducked inside. And once again—I paused to take in the beauty of the leather bound books and the smell. I love the smell of books, especially old ones.
The first novel my daughter took note of was Toni Morrison’s first edition, signed book, Beloved. My daughter studied Ms. Morrison’s work in her African American lit class during college. The curator noticed her reaction—okay, his official title is probably a salesperson, but anyone who has custodial care over these rare beauties is a curator in my mind! The gentleman asked if she would like to peruse the book, which earned him a rather big smile from my daughter. It wasn’t long before I had a huge smile on my face as I watched my daughter carefully turn page after page. The curator knew we wouldn’t be taking the volume home with us, but his kindness was rewarded by our sincere appreciation. If anyone is interested, it is still available for sale here as of the release of this article.
Let the Drooling Begin
And then I discovered the children’s books. Yes, there were ooohhs and aaahhs as I looked through the protective glass displays. It took a lot of restraint not to press my face up against it, but I am an adult after all. I do possess some self-control.
These classic tales instantly took me back to my childhood. Especially, Charlotte’s Web. The friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte still warms my heart at the thought. This book teaches young minds about the gift of true friendship and the sacrifices one sometimes makes to help a friend in need.
Although children’s books, don’t expect any bargains here! These first editions are a pretty penny. But if you’re an avid collector and looking to take a walk down memory lane these rare beauties would be the perfect showcase piece.
One for the Wish List
Let’s be truthful, I’d put any of these books on my wish list! However, how many times growing up did I read the adventures of Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn? If you’re anything like me, probably more times than you can remember! This beautiful volume—has anyone kept count of how many times I’ve used the word “beautiful” in this article?—is the price of a fully loaded Smart car! But can you really put a price on Mark Twain’s classic tale? Apparently, so! At a mere $18,500 in store or $20,000 online, this first edition, first issue can by yours. Now you know why I say it is one for the Wish List! Although, it’s time to face reality. As much as I loved looking at these first editions and would be over the moon to own one of these cherished childhood titles, I don’t think I would. Should I ever be lucky enough to be in a position where I could actually afford one of them, my heart would send me in a different direction. For me, I would feel guilty owning such a piece and hiding it away in my own personal library. As awesome as the idea might seem, it gave me such enjoyment to just gaze upon them that I would want others to experience that same feeling. And, for the investment, I could purchase a lot of books and distribute them to underprivileged children. So should I ever decide to gamble and try to win the lottery, I daresay I won’t be bringing home one of these books despite their historical or emotional significance. But it sure was nice to dream about it, if only for a moment.
Thank you for joining me today. I hope this article helped you to reflect back on some of your own favorite childhood stories and how they made you feel not only then, but now. And if did, let it be a reminder to you that you have the power to help instill that same love of literature in a child today. Be a mentor. Promote literacy. Make a difference.