Fear in Writing: Book Plates and Angel Trees

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Plates and Angel Trees

It is the time of year when mailboxes overflow with eye-catching catalogs. Your orbs nearly salivate with longing for juicy Christmas baubles and the softest cashmere throws imaginable. Every store seems to have them, and they thrust them right into your hands in the form of glossy, colorful, irresistible catalogs.

My husband and I have a deal. If he gets to the mailbox first he can throw out any non-subscription magazine he finds. This is good for our bank account and my sanity. My wish list remains reasonable and I stay out of the funk of longing. We also keep our kitchen island free of dog-eared clutter. "I must keep it for future reference!" I often argue. This is a lie. I must keep it for my own greedy viewing.

This year a new catalog came my way, and I got to the mailbox first. Honestly, I'm not sure how it found me because I am not a stamper or scrapbooker. Maybe if you have kids and/or are female they automatically assume, but it is by the website Expressionary.com and they have something I want very, very badly.

I should delve deeper again here: this is not something I need. In fact, there is nothing I need this year at all. My parents, sister, husband and I have decided to adopt and Angel Tree family together and, instead of buying each other gifts, buy gifts for this family. Do you know that the number of families applying for gift programs such as Angel Tree nearly doubled this year? It's horrific and indicative of the great need.

I digress...Back to me, of course.

I want book plates. Beautiful, unnecessary book plates. I want to put them in the front of all my cheap paperbacks and all my larger classics and claim them once and for all as mine. Do my books ever leave my house? Hardly. Will my collection ever pass on to a library and risk being separated, therefore needing ownership labels? A definite no. But they are mine and they are the objects in my house from which I get the most enjoyment.
Of course they can't all have the same labels. And Expressionary.com doesn't have just one option! Perhaps the Fashionista book plate for my Eat Love Pray and Elizabeth Spann Craigs, and the Bella Bird for my classics. There are even Disney for my children, and the dreaded word "Tween" for their eight through thirteen years.

How much money I could waste! How beautiful the inside covers of my books could become! How marked and owned my non-appreciating collection would be! My sister and parents would know exactly where to return the books they borrow!

I do make fun of myself, but beautiful, feminine things catch my eye sometimes. And when they're related to books they almost always stick to my heart like Post-It tabs, marking something to which I must return in the future. This year the money goes to Angel Tree. And they're not getting book plates.


  1. I understand your consumer hunger and congratulate you on not indulging it! I try to buy presents that are wanted or needed and try very hard not to buy for the sake of buying. That said, of course, if anyone cared to buy me a pair of Manolos or Jimmy Choos, I would find it very difficult to to accept them!


  2. Buy the bookplates you want if they give you that much joy.You deserve them.

  3. Catalogs should be banned! :) We're all susceptible, aren't we? The Angel Tree is a wonderful place to direct your giving...great idea!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. Lew - Ah! But do I deserve them? I already bought the books! THAT was an indulgence! And welcome, Lew.

    Elspeth, I second the shoes comment! Maybe I'll accidentally bookmark your comment on my husband's computer...

    Elizabeth! You're supposed to be resting! Thank you all for taking the time to read my thoughts.


  5. BTW, Lew, these aren't the kind of priceless printing bookplates people collect. These are meaningless nameplates that say "Library of..." I see you are a true collector and I applaud that! I look forward to perusing your blog and those you follow.