A Digression: Creating a Legacy


This is a digression from the normal course of this blog, but one that I hope visitors will appreciate.  For me, it is an important thought — and also a tribute to a number of fellow literary bloggers whose thoughts I both enjoy and admire and who have inspired me.

ambergs-sixThis particular story starts a couple of days ago in the comments section of Trevor Berrett’s site regarding his review of The Great Gatsby. John Self from theasylum drew attention to a special Penguin series of six leather-bound copies of six classic novels  including Gatsby, Room With A View, Brideshead Revisited and others.  Pictures are attached, details here and they are on special at an incredible 60 per cent discount so you might want to consider — shipping to North America is quite reasonable.   Mrs. KFC and I immediately ordered a set and an email today said they are on their way.

amberg-tiffanyI did feel just a little bit guilty — spending $45 a book on books I already own, just because they come in wonderful leather covers with handsome jackets.  And then I realized there was another motive, beyond my selfish one (which I fully admit) that was at play.

On her very popular website recently, dovegreyreader unlocked not one, but two, Pandora’s boxes.  This post is an attempt to put those two boxes together — using my recent experience inspired by John and Trevor as the example.  It is outside the normal mode of this site, but I think it does speak to all book lovers and especially those who visit KevinfromCanada.


The first of those boxes was dovegreyreader’s Inner Child project, where one weekend a month she revisits the literature of her childhood – think Edith Nesbit and The Railway Children, if you will.  The wealth of comments – and suggestions – that followed served as ample proof that many adult readers still have an Inner Child, eager to return to those first books.  They also want to share their own childhood experience.  It is a sentiment that I share, but since I have no children it is one that had less immediate meaning for me.


foliorajAnd then the Folio Society, which publishes high-quality, well-designed, hardcover reproductions of classics from all kinds of literature (albeit expensive), wanted access to her audience and offered her some volumes.  (If you don’t know them, browse away — it’s great fun even if you don’t intend to buy.  And this is not a promo — I’ve paid for all my volumes.)  Her first post immediately generated another host of responses.  I am a Folio Society member and fan and not just of their work because there are certainly other publishers producing volumes of similar quality.  But I do salute any effort to reproduce excellent works of literature in an equally excellent physical volume that heightens the reader’s appreciation of the work and that is designed to last for several lifetimes.  In addition to adult classics, they have a most impressive collection of beautifully-designed works for younger readers.  I’ve included just one sample of each to show the “outer” quality of their books — you cannot believe how impressive they are when you actually have them in hand.


folio-childI would like to suggest a personal project – or at least one that I have undertaken – that pulls together my recent experience inspired by John and Trevor (they are both young fathers) and those two incredibly strong themes that DGR (she is a young mother with adult children) has opened.


Any serious reader knows that one of the most important factors in creating a literate adult is to read to a child.  And then to move on to introducing books to the child.   And to keep that process going.  We all have our own Inner Child; as adults we need to create others.


So, if there is any kind of child in your world – it doesn’t have to be a daughter or son; a niece or nephew or grandchild, or even neighbor is every bit as good – one way to help this process along is to begin by “gifting” them truly good books.  Affordable volumes are certainly the centre of this but, as special treats, the children’s classics that Folio (and others) publish in heirloom volumes are the ones that I would like to address here.  If you want, in the traditional sense, it starts the process of assembling a generational library of excellent books, published in excellent editions.  One hopes that they will be passed on through a number of generations, not just one.  Journeys Through Bookland is still part of my family — it was one of the most important parts of the house where I was raised.


The second part, in a selfish way, is perhaps more exciting – well, at least in the self-serving short term.  One of the threads in the comments following DGR’s introduction of Folio works was that second-hand bookdealers sometimes regard them as expensive versions of Reader’s Digest condensed.  That’s understandable – they aren’t, by definition, first editions; they are expensive, compared to the alternatives; and, except for collectors (that would include most of the people who might read this), they don’t represent good value.  As a monetary investment, they don’t make sense.


But, for someone who is willing to create a Legacy Project, none of those things are relevant.  Those of us who buy a lot of books are making an investment that is not expected to produce monetary returns but returns of the mind.  And, if we have a young person – or more than one – in mind, what could be more appropriate than beginning now to build a library of truly wonderful classic books, wonderfully published, that would be part of our legacy for that child?  They don’t have to be Folio books by any means – but these exceptionally well-produced volumes are a good example of what the project would involve.  Revisiting children’s classics has enormous value in itself – as someone who has an Inner Child, can you imagine what it would have been like to be presented with unaffordable Adult Volumes as a legacy?


I will be the first to admit there is definitely a selfish aspect to this.  Books like these are expensive and there are other alternatives – on the other side of the coin, the added pleasure of reading such a superbly done physical book has its own attraction.  And there certainly is an element of not just enjoying (again) the particular book, but knowing that others will be following behind me.  For my part, I don’t feel the least bit guilty that for a decade or two I will be enjoying the legacy of a collection that I intend to hand to my now eight-year-old niece or perhaps her brother or perhaps both – we’ll see who the reader is.  And when she or he is ready to read those adult books – and have them on her shelves even sooner if she wants – I will be more than happy to begin the transfer, always of course with the proviso that I have return lending rights.


This idea had been percolating in the back of my mind for a while.  It was only when I saw the outpouring of comments on DGR’s site – and when the post about the Folio Society books produced such a quick response – that the two streams merged as one (the Ohio and Missouri became the Mississippi, if you will).  Maybe spending money on six leatherbound novels that I already owned was a factor — it certainly entered my thinking, but I don’t think my decision. 



All serious readers know about the great historical family libraries which can never be recreated.  We are in a different world now.  One of the things that exchanging thoughts about books and literature on the net does is give us the chance to begin creating our own.  We have so many more friends to give us advice on what should be there.


Thanks everyone.


61 Responses to “A Digression: Creating a Legacy”

  1. Children’s Classics Books Blog » A Digression: Creating a Legacy « KevinfromCanada Says:

    […] View post: A Digression: Creating a Legacy « KevinfromCanada […]


  2. Trevor Says:

    Kevin, this is a great post! Timely for me. My wife and I frequently talk about our own experiences reading as children.

    The other day I was with my son in the bookstore (that’s actually where he asks to go – everyday – all day) looking through some childrens classics I hadn’t seen since before I turned seven or eight. Took me right back!

    To help our children, my wife and I have a few approaches. We make sure we read to them every day, a few times if possible, and from various sources. My wife makes sure she’s reading a classic children’s book to them – right now it’s Pinochio but frankly we don’t really like it, whether it’s the translation or not I don’t know.

    Also, we try to get pretty editions for special holidays (just bought a few on Valentines Day). This began even before we had children. The first year we were married my wife got me a wonderful complete classic Winnie the Pooh, helping me bring out my own inner child and I guess preparing for our own. We agree with the “outer” beauty of books. Furthermore, I try to excuse my own book buying by arguing that the children will grow up seeing shelves of books that they want to read someday, just as I did when I was growing up.


  3. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Trevor: Thanks for the thoughtful reply — your occasional references on your site to reading while rocking a can’t-sleep child certainly were part of my inspiration to write this post. As was John Self’s new gravatar — when Ireland’s number one cultural blogger uses his new son’s image as his gravatar we know he has already found a way to link the next generation with this one.

    The Pinnochio reference is interesting. I hadn’t realized until reading a recent review of a new translation that this is another one of those gruesome adult fables that got cleaned-up (and in this case Disneyized) into children’s literature. Maybe that’s what your wife and son are discovering.

    And I love the Pooh reference (he was Canadian as I am sure you know). My own Pooh story comes from when I was the very left-wing editor of a university newspaper during the 1960s. To offset our continuous calls for anti-capitalist revolution (no one paid attention, alas) we ran a two-page excerpt from Pooh, featuring Eeyore, who was not only my favorite character but my role model. It was by far the most popular feature we ran all year. I don’t have a Pooh set (my sisters got the family one because they have the children) so I can’t post a review. If you do (and I think you should consider it) I promise to comment from memory because much of what Milne has to say has definite adult implications.


  4. Mrs. Berrett Says:

    I agree with Trevor. Wonderful post! Trevor is currently indulging my love for kid’s books by expanding my picture book library. I have to say that I enjoy them much more than the kids do, but it’s nice to be prepared for when they’ll be more interactive with our reads.

    Like Trevor said, we always look for “pretty” editions. I must say I’m a stickler for aesthetics and some of the classic staples have been neglected due to ugly covers. Maybe the folio society will change that.

    Also, I’m jealous you’re buying books for an eight-year-old girl. Trevor has stopped many a feminine book choice due to the extensive testosterone in our home.


  5. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Mrs. Berrett: We did give Shannon the Folio Sir Gawain and the Green Knight for Christmas this year — it is one of those books that can be read and reread every year for decades and still not be completely understood.


  6. herschelian Says:

    I don’t have any grandchildren (yet) but I do have several Godchildren. Many years ago I decided that to make life easier for myself I would adopt a strict gift giving policy of a book each birthday and each Christmas until they reached the age of 18, by which time each would have the nucleus of a library. The beautifully produced Everyman series of books -see them here -http://www.randomhouse.com/knopf/classics/about.html were ideal. I did not choose children’s books because I thought they would access those at school/home/library, but I did choose the titles carefully for each Godchild. They are now all in their twenties, and recently one of them said to me “when I was seven I thought you were my mad Godmother who always gave me boring grown-up books, but now I love them, have read most of them and they look so smart on my sitting room shelf, people always comment on them”. Each child ended up with 20 books, and I reckon it was the best thing I could have given them.


  7. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Your reference to the Everyman series opens yet another Pandora’s box for me. It was three years ago that I found myself very grumpy about the state of contemporary fiction and wanting to return to some of the classics that I had read in my youth. We had also just moved into a new house and for the first time had a proper “upstairs” library.

    Fortuitously, I happened across an Everyman’s Library edition of Camus’ The Plague and remembered that in my youth I, like Annie Dillard, knew that anything from EL was worth reading. A little web research showed that a) it had recently been relaunched and b) was celebrating its centenary. To make a long story short (and I do intend to post on this with pictures sometime in the near future) there are now more than 120 EL editions in my library (and I’ve actually read more than half of them already). They are a tremendous value — classic works in wonderful hardcover editions that cost half what a new hardcover book does. With introductory essays that for the most part are excellent. I think your project for your Godchildren is a perfect example of what I was trying to talk about in this post. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Isabel Says:

    First of all, KFC, this is your blog and you can write about what you want. It doesn’t have to be strictly book reviews.

    Second of all, don’t feel guilty about spending money for books. It’s money well spent. If you buy alcohol or too much food, you enjoy it but it’s gone after a few hours. If you buy clothes, they will eventually wear out.

    If you buy books, you can re-read them and find new insights.

    I hope that Mrs. KFC comments. I love hearing from Mrs. Barrett and Mrs. Self.


  9. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Yoicks! Clothes wear out? I may have to revamp the entire budget.

    Thank you for the kind thoughts. And it is true that while I may feel just a little bit guilty when I spend money on a book or books, I never regret it once I have the book. In fact, The Raj Trilogy that I used to illustrate this post is something I have been thinking about buying for a while but didn’t realize the Folio Society was publishing it until I researched this post. I ordered it this morning.

    I’m pretty sure Mrs. KFC will comment once she returns from her travels. I too will be interested in what she has to say — it was her mother who gifted us with Damon Runyon (stay tuned for a post on him) and wonderful, aged volumes of Maugham.


  10. Trevor Says:

    Review Winnie the Pooh? You bet! Sounds like fun. Plus, while I finished Lark and Termite several weeks ago, Jayne Anne Phillips has yet to send me the answers to my interview questions (she’s been responsives, just busy with her book tour), so I’ve got to keep pushing that review back.


  11. blithespirit Says:

    Great post. I’d like to address what is perceived as the “expense” of books, even Folios. The average Folio (including shipping) is probably around $60.00 – some are cheaper, some you can get on sales etc, but that would be average. That book will last decades, and I love the idea of it being passed on through generations. What will $60 buy? Dinner for two at a decent restaurant (maybe). One ticket to a major theatre show. A cheap seat at the ballet or the opera. Four movie tickets. Three DVDs (depending). A shirt and a pair of pants (maybe). An oil change and some washer fluid. One and a half tanks of gas (approximately). All worthy things – I’m a big theatre goer and never grudge the price of tickets. I recognize the value of arts and the costs that go with it. My point is, books – even Folios, especially Everymans – ARE A BARGAIN! Especially the children’s books (Everyman has a very affordable children’s line too, as does New York Review of Books). How many times in my life have I read and re-read Winnie the Pooh (countless) or The Secret Garden or Jane Eyre or Austen and they continue to give me endless pleasure. I think beautiful editions are the most thoughtful gift to give children in your life (and cheaper than many of these plastic toys or video games).


  12. Trevor Says:

    And I love the Pooh reference (he was Canadian as I am sure you know).

    Do you mean A.A. Milne? I read this and thought, no, I didn’t know that! But then I looked it up and he seems purely English. I think I’m missing something.


  13. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Not Milne, but Winnie the Pooh, Trevor. On their way to WWI troops from Manitoba picked up a black bear which they named Winnipeg as a mascot (you certainly see that they had no idea the horror that awaited them). As things like war got tougher, a bear for a mascot was not on and Winnie was donated to the London Zoo. Christopher Robin fell in love with Winnie there, Edward Bear was renamed and Milne went to work. Full story http://www.just-pooh.com/history.html.
    Sometimes, Trevor, your lack of knowledge of these absolute basics quite astounds me :).

    blithespirit, of course you are right. In some ways I was probably just hoping someone would do exactly what you did so I could say “see, Kevin, you were right all along.” As noted in a comment above, I was so impressed with my own post that I ordered the Folio Raj Quartet yesterday. And don’t feel the least bit quilty — well, maybe just a touch since those Penguin leatherbounds haven’t even arrived yet.


  14. blithespirit Says:

    If I didn’t already have nice editions of some of those Penguin leatherbounds, I’d be totally hooked too. Enjoy them (guilt free!)


  15. Fran Says:

    I would like to think that something I have been doing for years is, in a small way, a legacy to children, and maybe encourages them, in later years to make their own collections. My job is with families, both new ones and those who already may have a child. I live in for the first few weeks after a birth-[in the old days I would have been called a monthly nurse.] Over the past sixteen years I have cared for well over one hundred babies and when I leave I buy each newborn a book as a small gift. For years these were of the “board book” variety, although I was choosy about the ones I selected. Good artwork such as Lucy Cousins or childhood picture book classics such as Pat Hutchins’ Rosies Walk were amongst my choices.
    A few years ago having seen the book collections of many families I was aware how few children had “classics” on their shelves. So I started to buy each baby a Beatrix Potter book. The families I work with are able to afford to buy their children plenty of books and as we know the book market for small children is huge, but only rarely did I notice these classics gems of BP on the shelves of the older children.
    Moreover I now am finding I have to search for the small original books. Many of the chain bookstores may, if I am lucky, have one or two, perhaps Peter Rabbit or Jemima Puddleduck but on the whole I will have to order them in. There are larger, gift book collections of all the stories together, board variations, the animated spin offs from the TV adaptions but rarely do I find an orderly row of small white dustjacked books on the shop shelves. They bring to mind Persephone books, in a child sized version.
    I usually choose one of the above two, Mrs Tiggywinkle, Mrs Tittlemouse or the The Two Bad Mice. All seem a suitable introduction to a classic storyteller, who in my mind should have a part in every childs life. Her turn of phrase may be slightly old fashioned- “soporific bunnies” feature and may need to be explained. I have yet to find a small child, usually around the age of three who is not entranced by these stories, loves the accesibility of the small format and asks for many repeated readings.
    I will follow this thread with interest as books and their place in a childs life is a subject I have studied over the years. These fine editions that are being built into collections must surely help to foster a lifelong love of books, both for their contents and also their visual image.


  16. KevinfromCanada Says:

    What a wonderful post, Fran. Thank you — both for your project and for your desciption of it. Kevin


  17. Sheila o'Brien Says:

    Well, I am MrsKFC, and happy to have the chance to weigh in. I am thrillled that we have bought more lovely books – KFC has a beautiflul library overlooking our garden, and he spends many happy hours there. I love to look at the walls of beautifully bound books, and realize that there is a world of words available to me just for the asking. Since I am very lazy, I just ask KFC for a recommendation – as in ” I feel like reading a book set in England in the ’70’s that is insightful but not depressing that will make me laugh”. In a mere moment he produces several choices, all perfect.
    The downside of making a request of KFC is illustrated by a recent experience we had. I travelled to Croatia with friends, and became very interested in the history of the region. I emailed KFC to see if he could find me a book. To my chagrin, when I got home he had sourced for me 5 books, all huge ponderous volumes outlining the Balkan conflicts from Day 1 of their Troubles. Be careful what you ask for (although the Balkans are so complicated it does take some explaining)
    I have learned to just ask KFC to explain such things as the Balkan conflict to me when i happen upon them – he knows all this stuff, and it’s a lot easier on my back than humping huge great volumes around.


  18. Trevor Says:

    Thanks for clearing up my Winnie-the-Pooh problem, Kevin! I’m glad that you were right all along; I was a little worried about your knowledge on Canada 🙂

    By the way, my ignorance astounds me too, though less and less each time I display it 🙂 .


    • KevinfromCanada Says:

      Since you have put the ball on the tee, Trevor, I can’t resist swinging for the stands:

      “I have been Foolish and Deluded,” said he, “and I am a (Berrett) of No Brain at All.”
      “You’re the best (Berrett) in All the World,” said Christopher Robin soothingly.

      We all have our gaps. At least you have Mrs. Berrett in the role of the very sensible Kanga to help you out.



  19. Sheila o'Brien Says:

    Mind the gaps, Trevor and KFC.


  20. Mrs. Berrett Says:

    How telling that I get to be Kanga when we have just dubbed our eldest son roo. He has somehow come to the conclusion that he is a “jumping wangawoo.”


  21. KevinfromCanada Says:

    It would seem that “roo” is ready for Pooh. Good luck, Kanga.


  22. Trevor Says:

    Okay, Kevin, review of Winnie-the-Pooh is up. So much to say, so little space – and so little capacity! It was hard to express how such a simple-sounding book can be so profound.

    Look forward to your story about the sixties, leftism, and Pooh.


  23. dovegreyreader Says:

    Kevin, we demand pictures of that library forthwith. I suspect it is far more orderly than mine:-)
    I hope all these Inner Child deliberations here will lead to regular reviews on favourite children’s books, they make for such interesting insights from the grown-up perspective, besides I’d love to know, what did US & Canadian children read?


  24. KevinfromCanada Says:

    DGR: The library is going to have to be reported on in stages, but it will be done. First post will be about the KevinfromCanada Everyman’s Library project, by way of offering a promo. Date to be decided. As you are aware, we have winters in Canada so the current view isn’t much. We’ll see what the KFC graphics editor can come up with when she is over next week.
    You are certainly right about revisiting children’s books. I have to admit that Milne and Pooh are what I remember best and I can’t top Trevor’s review of that one. I’ll keep thinking.


  25. Myrthe Says:

    Kevin, I only just now read this post due to traveling and other things taking much time off my blog reading recently, though I have read references to this post on other blogs.

    I don’t have children of my own and it is highly unlikely I will ever have them, but I have worked a lot with children in Armenia, where I now live. Your post made me think about something I am trying to accomplish. One of the things I do there is working with an NGO of friends that operates ‘out in the woods’, ie. in a small town in ‘the regions’ (as opposed to the capital where most of the money in general and also most of the NGOs in this country work).

    One of the things I am working on for/with this NGO is creating a small but qualitatively good library of books in other languages than Armenian and Russian (the second language in this part of the country) especially for students of foreign languages and children of school age who learn foreign languages at school, but are not motivated and have no opportunity to use them. Good books are fairly hard to come by in Armenia, especially outside of the capital (but even there the choice is limited).

    Also, more in general I want to give young people more opportunity to read, to stimulate their love for books, because that is not at all stimulated in the huge majority of families here, partly because of poverty (no money, other worries, books are not urgent) and partly because reading is ‘so not cool’ (whereas making money, the latest mobile phone are) and studying and learning are not considered ways to a profitable career or to earning money in general (corruption and crime are).

    If and when I leave Armenia, I plan to donate all the books I have gathered there to that library I dream of or else some other project that stimulates reading.

    I guess that library and my efforts to stimulate reading can be called my ‘reading legacy’.


  26. Myrthe Says:

    I forgot, Kevin: If all your digressing post are like this one, bring them on! I loved the post and all the comments.


  27. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Myrthe: Thank you so much for joining in. I certainly appreciate your thoughts, your personal commitment and your challenge. Given where you are, have you read The Bastard of Istanbul and do you have an opinion? — I found it to be a most interesting book, that got overlooked in most of the critical reviews. Please keep contributing comments — they are most welcome. I promise to keep digressing on occasion, I hope with as much success in provoking interest as this post did. Kevin


  28. Myrthe Says:

    Kevin, I did read The Bastard of Istanbul and I had mixed feelings about it. This is the link to my review: http://armenianodar.wordpress.com/2007/12/24/the-bastard-of-istanbul-by-elif-shafak-sunday-salon/
    I enjoyed the family’s story, but I thought Shafak tried too hard to get all the different opinions on the issue of the Armenian genocide represented in the book.

    I have another Elif Shafak on my TBR-pile, to which I am looking forward.


  29. Colette Jones Says:

    Well, I joined the Folio Society today, ordered my four books, at which point the New Year sale was opened up to me. Today is the last day of the sale, so I made some impulse purchases, some for the kids, some for me. I didn’t think I’d find that much that I wanted but I can’t resist a bargain.


  30. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Colette: My particular Folio Society favorite is Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy — yes, I’m being very Canadian in saying that. Watch for it on a sale, though, — it is an excellent trilogy and the illustrations in this edition are fantastic. I’m certainly aware of how grumpy people can be about the Folio Society, but I enjoy being a member.


    • Colette Jones Says:

      Aha! The Deptford Trilogy was in the sale and it is one that I ordered. It was £19.95 (£20 off!)

      Now, how do I take delivery of these enormous books without someone noticing… someone who thinks we have too many books…


      • KevinfromCanada Says:

        I am so glad that you bought the Deptford Trilogy. I think it is a wonderful novel (well, three novels) but I also think the illustrations — and endpapers which explain them — in this edition are magnificent. Enjoy!!!


  31. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Myrthe: Thanks for the link. I too had mixed feelings about this book. It was one of those books that seemed to be getting close to being a very good book and then never quite got there, as your review indicates. I am certainly glad that I read it, but I think there was a better book possible.


  32. Myrthe Says:

    Kevin, I agree with you. Somehow The Bastard of Istanbul ended up not being quite what it could have been.


  33. Colette Jones Says:

    I can see a major addiction coming on with this Folio Society thing! What wonderful books. I will be collecting any Booker winners printed and all the Graham Greene I can get my hands on. I am also watching out for Myths and Legends of any region for my son.

    Booker winners I’ve bought so far: Possession, Remains of the Day, The Siege of Krishnapur. They are publishing soon: Oscar and Lucinda, The Sea The Sea, Midnight’s Children, and Schindler’s Ark. These do not appear on the web site yet but are discussed in a folio magazine (Issue I, 2009). I received a completely different folio magazine with one order which does not have any issue number / year. Strange!

    Have there been any other Booker winners printed that you know of, Kevin?


  34. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Colette: You are right about the “major addiction” angle — if you like well-made books, the Folio Society can be a problem because once you start, you just keep buying.

    I’m a recent convert, so I don’t know a lot of history about the imprint beyond the obvious. My own bias is towards some of their collected series — I’m waiting for the Raj Quartet to arrive, have the Durrell, DuMaurier and Fitzgerald on my shelf.

    I understand they have a shop in Covent Garden where I expect you can find (I’d bet at a premium) some of the volumes that are now out of print. I will be stopping in on our next trip.


    • Colette Jones Says:

      Is that the same as the Member’s Room? I’ve read a bit about that on Library Thing (“Folio Society devotees” group). I have a day scheduled in London in May and thought I would take in the member’s room (and this shop if they are two different things).


  35. KevinfromCanada Says:

    It is — and I may well be guilty of confusing Member’s Room with bookshop. Alternately, I may also be confusing the London Review of Books shop (it’s in Bloomsbury) with the Folio Society Member’s Room. If you could report on your findings, I would certainly appreciate having my confusion sorted out. Thanks in advance.


    • Colette Jones Says:

      I visited the Member’s Room yesterday. It was very pleasant and nice to view the goods. I resisted buying any, but The Sea The Sea looks very very nice.


  36. Sherry Says:

    Trevor and I have a favorite book/family blog that does book reviews every Monday. The format is a bit different: the father interviews his children about the book when their done. It’s very cute and even though they are using mostly contemporary picture books I think it’s a good way to make a reading legacy.
    FYI: they are currently on a review hiatus due to technical difficulties, but they are still posting.


  37. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Sherry: Thanks for the link. I am not a parent, so it doesn’t have a lot of meaning for me but I think it is exactly the right kind of initiative for people who do have children. Kevin


  38. Mrs. Berrett Says:

    I’m Sherry, thus the Trevor is the one you know (or at least read). It doesn’t matter, but I’ve grown to like my screen name of “Mrs. Berrett.” I don’t really hear that title anywhere else.


  39. KevinfromCanada Says:

    I actually did know that, Mrs. Berrett — I thought you were working in reverse by posting the Sherry name and abandoning the Mrs. Berrett tag. Sheila quite likes being known as Mrs. KFC but hasn’t figured out how to get that name in the comment form yet. She will eventually — oh, and for those who look forward to her comments, she is off to go trekking in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for the next couple of weeks so you will just have to hold your fire for a while.


  40. A.A. Milne’s The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh | The Mookse and the Gripes Says:

    […] a bit redundant—but I certainly don’t believe that.  The other day Kevin from Canada had an interesting post on creating a reading legacy.  There Kevin puts two dovegreyreader posts together: one on the inner […]


  41. Colette Jones Says:

    The four new Booker winners appeared on the folio society site today and I took an intake of breath. They look fabulous, but I think I’ll wait to see if they feature in the next sale. There is an offer of 6 Folio notecards with a purchase from the selection. Somehow that is not enticing me – notecards?


  42. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Colette: My experience is that you get sales offers that are worthwhile (as opposed to notecards) within a year. Given that you have probably already read the books, I’d monitor offers instead of buying now.


  43. Tom C Says:

    I am a bookaholic (or something like that) but also a chronic de-clutterer. This means that I give away or sell any book which I don’t think I’ll read again. I should have thousands of books on my shelves by now, but I think its probably about 250 in total. Generally, I’m not fussed about the binding, and I prefer pbs to hbs, because of the advantages of portability.

    I totally agree about providing books for other people and pay a monthly sub to the reverse book club


    Great post – your blog is really interesting


  44. Trevor Says:

    Kevin, I was just browsing the Folio Society website again. Is it just me, or have they really picked it up this past year? I was impressed before, but it appears that they are getting several beautiful editions of more contemporary classics, like the Booker winners, etc. I’m not a member yet, and don’t think I can justify the four books in four weeks thing this close to Christmas, but someday . . .


  45. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Trevor: My impression is the same — over the last two years, I think their new offerings have improved substantially. As for joining up, my advice would be to find four books you want and then sit back and monitor regularly for joining up offers. Not surprisingly, they don’t have any in the pre-Christmas period, but if I remember correctly there will be something very attractive in the first quarter of the year. My other advice would be if you find more than four books you want, put the others on hold, again waitiing for bonus offers. I’m only guessing but I suspect sometime in 2010 both the four volume sets of the Alexandra Quartet and A Dance to the Music of Time (I bought both when they came out) are likely to show up as free bonuses if you buy two or three other volumes. It took me a year or two to learn it, but some strategic buying can effectively cut your prices by more than half. And you have the whole children’s collection to choose from as well.


  46. Colette Jones Says:

    The secret with the Folio Society is patience. Wait for a joining offer you really like, buy four books (or a set) you really want, and wait for the sales for everything else (some of the deals in the sales are fantastic).

    I haven’t been a member for long, but there’s a librarything group called “Folio Society Devotees” which helped me see how to do it to maximum effect!


  47. Trevor Says:

    Thanks for the tips! And, Kevin, you’ve put your finger on two of the sets I’d be most interested in.


  48. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Excellent advice, Colette. With just a little bit of patience and a buying strategy, most books can eventually be acquired at about half the listed price. That makes them competitive with new hardbacks in the stores and the physical quality is well beyond that.

    There has been a New Year sale every year since I joined — I’ll post a comment and link here when I get the email announcing the 2010 one.


  49. Trevor Says:

    Just a question, then, when you join you commit to buying four books at full price in four weeks, right? And then you can participate in the great sales. Is my understanding correct?


  50. Colette Jones Says:

    Yes, I think that is correct. I bought my four all at once when I joined in January this year, and suddenly the current sale showed up.

    I’m going a bit slower with my renewal – I purchased two and have until March to purchase the other two. What I do not know is whether I still get the sale showing up if I haven’t purchased the other two yet… I will find out when Kevin posts his comment, and if I don’t get the sale showing, you can bet that my other two committed books will be purchased right away.


  51. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Colette: When I renewed last fall, I was eligible for whatever sale was going on then — in fact it was some books in the sale that my wife wanted that provoked me to order four of the books that are being published in the current year. They are very good about sending you the free ones, even though you haven’t yet paid for the ones you ordered.


  52. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Trevor: I forget about the origiinal order — if I were you, I’d send them an email expressing interest and asking. I know I joined off some special brochure that came in the mail with introductory benefits, so it is probably worth contacting them.


  53. Colette Jones Says:

    The New Year sale is showing up, at least on the UK web site. It’s not extremely tempting though.


  54. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Thanks, Colette. Sale is up here also and I agree there is not much on offer this time around.


  55. Colette Jones Says:

    Ordered two for my son:
    Great Military Leaders and Their Campaigns
    (the last one is not an FS title)

    and for myself:
    The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain and Ireland (not FS either, but only £5 and sounds interesting)

    Tempted on Rulers of the Ancient World set for my son also, but watching the pennies at the moment.


  56. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Colette: I can’t find anything that I want (except maybe for Birdsong) — although there are some good bargains on volumes that I paid full price for. Which is the problem of Folio Society sales.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: