By Suzanne Welsh
Recently I made two discoveries that have thrilled me both as a reader and a book collector.
For years I’ve been searching for a copy of a book I read in my early high school years. It’s titled “Black Horse Tavern”, by Janet Louise Roberts. I adored this book. I’m a re-reader—meaning that if a book captures me, I’ll happily read it over and over and over again. That’s the reason I have two copies of Julie Garwood’s “Saving Grace”. So when I had my original copy of “Black Horse Tavern”, I literally wore it out.
It’s a great story about a girl who lives in her creepy stepfather’s tavern during the Revolutionary War. Only she knows there’s a secret exit from the tavern, and uses it to spy on the redcoats and her stepfather. Then she gives the information she learns to the Sons of Liberty and the hero of the story.
As an American history buff even at the age of 15, I loved this whole book, but somehow lost my copy. Then I couldn’t remember the author’s name. About four years ago I managed to learn the author’s name through some sleuth work and a few good google sites. Finally, last week I found a copy on line in good condition and bought it! When I got home from the RWA National conference with 3 bags of books, my old favorite was waiting in a mailer for me.
The other find was a complete surprise to me. The week before the RWA National conference I always clean out my to be read (TBR) pile and my already finished pile (AFP) of books, this year to the tune of $35 at the half-priced bookstore nearby. But while going through the mountain of books I found a 1989 copy of “The Copeland Bride”, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. You know, the book she and her friend wrote before SEP went solo and became a NYT’s best seller. Imagine my amazement! I truly had no idea that book was in my possession. When I googled out of print books, I discovered that little paperback is now worth $50!
So, tell me, what books are on your keeper shelf? Any rare or out of print books? Is there one book you'll read over and over, maybe as a yearly ritual?