Monday, September 10, 2012

Remember this?

This is my precious set of World Book Encyclopaedia. They are so old... (how old are they?)... they are so old that my dad actually bought them from a door to door salesman in 1974. No word of a lie. He bought them so that his precious children could get a leg-up in the world.

My brother never showed much interest in them but I loved them so much. I have looked at every page of every volume at least 3 times. I loved the sound of the spine cracking when it first opened and the sound of those "gold" edged pages turning. I loved the article on the first page of every book that talked about the evolution of the letter. Oh those crazy Phoenicians. I loved that even before I had cable and watched Wheel Of Fortune, I knew that R-S-T-L-N-E were the most common letters. I loved those books. When I moved, even though they were a bitch to carry, I took all those books and even the "handy reference guide".

These books are the sole reason I know the difference between a greyhound and a whippet even though I'm not a dog person. I loved that I knew the variety of moths and spiders that were scaring the living shit out of me. The human body and the Canada articles were the most awesome, using transparent pages to overlay organs or our geographical history over the years. Fantastic.

Every essay I wrote between 1974 and 1984 was either partly or entirely (heh.) copied from those books. Every science fair project came out of those books. Have I mentioned that I loved those books?

All that to say that last week when I went to the library to get some French picture books, I saw this:

Do you believe this? In this day and age? I was shocked and delighted that maybe some little kid out there could get the sheer delight and joy those books gave me. No amount of 3G, LTE, JPGs and interwebs (am I showing my age here?) could ever take their place. Okay, they can but look how cool. I wonder how many I can take out in one go? My set doesn't have a listings for the Montreal Olympics or Crocodile Dundee...

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