Free books? Sure!

Local school libraries in my area have been purging their stacks recently, asking folks to give the books a new home.  I have acquired quite a few delightful hardbound books recently.

First up is the OXFORD BOOK OF ESSAYS.


I almost passed on this, but the “Oxford” sealed the deal; when a book is tagged as such, it has been meticulously edited for content.  Remarkably, this book is brand new, having never been checked out of the library.


I often purchase used books through Amazon, and the vendors will let you know if a book has been circulated out of a library- I love those!  They are invariably in fine condition, often have the rugged plastic cover protectors, and the stamps and card pockets make them unique.

I recently had some friends over to the house, and one of them picked this gem up for me from a library culling:


I have never known of this book’s existence out in the real world.  Some remarkable information in here.  I was 13 years old when this was published (1974).  It appears that this title was checked out a grand total of two times.



Turning real pages, flipping through a book and skimming physical pages – these are things you simply can not do with a kindle or an iPad.    ~TH~


Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic

I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for this book since finding a 1948 copy from my parent’s house (or was it Laurie’s parents?  Well, anyway…).


I just received this copy in the mail.  It’s in much better shape than our first copy, and has the dust jacket!

The book really shines on the front end, with chapter subjects for professional bartenders.  Titles such as “Phonies, Check-Dodgers”, “People That Bartenders Have Learned Not To Like”, and “Bartenders That Customers Don’t Like”.   If you are a contemporary mixologist or a patron of various upscale bars, you would do well to read these chapters.  They are humorous, but accurate.


I also admire the language of the day used in the book.  From the chapter People That Bartenders Have Learned Not To Like:

“No matter how carefully you watch it, someone is bound to get drunk and get out of line. Blackjacks, wooden mallets, beer bottles, rubber hose filled with buckshot, brass knuckles are all definitely no solution to the problem. A rousting through the front door usually works, but there’s a technique for this treatment which should be learned and used at all times.  The recipient of the jostle should never be allowed to get set but should be taken unawares and kept on the move until he’s out the front door. Once he grabs onto anything, gets his feet set, or falls down, you have to tackle the problem from another angle”.


Proper glassware for the appropriate drink, proper mixing techniques and signature garnishes make a tasty drink an event.


There are later, re-edited editions of this book.  Don’t buy them- they eliminated all of the humor and useful information from the original edition.

BARTENDER’S GUIDE by Trader Vic – Illustrated by Ray Sullivan – 1948


Typography, Accidentally

I just picked this book up from a local used book shop – Type And Typography by Phil Baines & Andrew Haslam.  Now that I collect typewriters, I’ve accidentally gained an interest in the kooky world of typography/written language.


The information and photos are great, though I doubt I’ll be setting my own type anytime soon.

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A monotype machine.  And you thought typing was tricky!


Ah, a small bit on typing, with a nice Olivetti Lettera 22 postcard.



Horsefeathers And Other Curious Words

Here we have another rescued book from the local high school library.  Word origins and regional words are an interest of mine, so I’m pleased that my wife saw fit to grab this book during last year’s library purge. The publisher page places this printing from 1986, with the original publishing date at 1958.HF_full cover

It was written by Charles Earle Funk- you might recognize that name because your family (like mine) may have owned a set of Funk And Wagnalls Encyclopedias.  If you’re too young to know what a set of Encyclopedias is, well, it was a set of books that were purchased for the home- a set of references that are now completely archaic thanks to our ability to grab any information immediately from the internet.

bindery sticker

I especially like the sticker pasted to the lower left corner of the cover.  It reads “Crawford Bindery, 2249 14th Street, AKRON OHIO.”  The book does appear to have been rebound. The endpapers do not match the page papers, the cover boards are in gorgeous condition, and the cover was obviously cut from the old cover and adhered to the front board.  My only guess is that this copy of the book was donated to the library after it was rebound in Akron- I doubt any library would have gone to the expense of getting this particular title rebound.

Digging a little deeper I found a great many listings for the Bindery company online.  I called the phone number but alas, it is disconnected.  I assume the business is now shuttered, but I did run across a pertinent obituary for Mary Crawford stating that the Bindery was established in 1954.

publisher page

The book itself is a delight.  I always appreciate any tome that can be thrown open to a random page, thus providing a small nugget of wisdom or a brief chortle.  It is still in paperback print, but it may be worth seeking out a hardbound copy at your local used book shop.  Leave it out on the kitchen table for guests, you will definitely have something to chat over as you sip your tea.  ~TH~

Scouting For Books

Here we have three rescued books involving boy scouts.  Scouting has seen a number of changes over the years to suit the political and religious changes of the successive eras.  I believe today’s badge for Tracking was original called Stalking.  Scouting may have shifted away from overt military and religious messaging over the decades, but the concepts of dignity, morality, respect and honor are still in place.  Passing through the ranks and becoming an Eagle Scout is still seen by colleges and employers as a sign of discipline and achievement.

scout booksThe Scout Field Book and the Handbook For Boys were both published in 1948.  Even though the center book for Wolf Cub Scouts is mine from childhood I still consider it rescued (none of my comic books made it this far).  It was printed in 1969.  I never did move into boy scouts.  My son did though, he’s a proud Eagle Scout.

Girard PA History, Dan Rice

photo (16)Here is a book by John C. Kunzog, originally of Jamestown NY, titled “THE ONE-HORSE SHOW: The Life And Times Of Dan Rice, Circus Jester And Philanthropist”.  The book is a signed copy and appears to be self published, with a copyright notice of 1962.  If you’re interested in the history of Dan Rice and/or Girard PA, this is a fine book for you.  This copy is in very good condition.

NOTE:  This book was ‘rescued’ from the Fairview High School library when they were purging old titles that had not been checked out in years.  When the power grid goes down and we’re all reading by candle light again, feel free to stop by.  We might just let you borrow a book.  ~TH~photo (17)


Rescued Book: Foxfire 4

My wife Laurie works at a local public high school.  The library is thinning out their stacks and getting rid of the older books.  Since everyone in our family enjoys reading, Laurie (and our son Owen) have been going through the “decommissioned” books and bringing them home.  Some of the more fascinating books will be featured here as Rescued Books.  Come and enjoy the journey with me!  ~TH~

recued books - foxfire 4


This is a series of books that I have never heard of.  The series collects stories and day-to-day techniques for simple living- information collected by high school students.  From the Foxfire website we get this description:

With nearly 9 million copies in print, The Foxfire Book and its eleven companion volumes stand memorial to the people and the vanishing culture of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, brought to life for readers through the words of those who were born, lived their lives, and passed away there—words collected by high school students who wanted to be a part of their community and preserve their heritage. All 12 volumes in the regular series are anthologies of Foxfire Magazine articles written by Rabun County high school students over the magazine’s 40-year history, usually expanded through follow-up interviews and other research.”

The hardbound edition shown here is from 1977.  The books are still in publication. I don’t plan on taking up fiddle making anytime soon, but it’s certainly an interesting book to thumb through.  ~TH~