One of my favorite poets is Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I read about her in a book in high school and then in 12th grade did a project about her life. I love her poems and the love letters written to her husband Robert.
When I was at the used bookstore a couple months ago I found a copy of “Sonnets from the Portuguese” that I adore. Granted, I already had a copy but this one was used and had a beautiful covered. Used books scream treasured and special to me. I love them.
And so I bought the book. Two copies can’t hurt, right? When I opened it up later I found this inscription written before the first page:
“1957. Dear Jean, May this birthday and all your days be filled with happiness and love, and especially love which I shall let this book represent to remind you. -Deedee”
I was touched. This book has to be at least 52 years old! How neat. And it was given as an act of friendship. It leaves all sorts of questions in my mind. Where did Jean live? How long did she know Deedee? Was Jean married? How old was she? How did her book end up in the used bookstore?
Every book contains a story not just on the inside of the pages but from the people who hold it and treasure it. There’s a couple of quotes that I think sum it all up nicely:
A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it. – Samuel Johnson
No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning herself.