07 December 2012

Favorite Thing No. 91

Ever since I was a child I have loved book plates.
I loved the sense of ownership it lent a book.

 My first book plates, purchased by my mother,
still appear in books I received as a child,
my name written in her careful hand
on the scroll beneath the ship's port-hole.

As a teenager I began a life-long love affair
with Antioch Book Plates.
This one—a tree's roots entwined around a book—
was one of the first ones I bought myself.
My name is in a rounded signature that I barely recognize today.
This was followed, in my twenties, by a plate 
that brought reading nooks in English cottages to mind,
and my writing grew more similar to what it would become as an adult.
The book plates of my thirties bore images of a library
that I hoped to replicate in my own home one day.
By now my name was in a hand I recognize:
artistic, almost draughtsman-like, and yes, slightly illegible.

As I grew older I discovered an evocative silhouette
that reminded me of the tree I would sit in as a child.
It was comforting to remember being buried in my favorite book,
surrounded by the scent of lilacs from a nearby hedgerow.

In my dotage, I have reverted back to book plates that are fit for a child,
of anthropomorphic creatures drinking tea in their bathrobes
whilst reading by a fire.

And so the wheel turns.
But at the heart of it are the book plates I've loved
and the possessiveness I feel
when I hold one of my books in my hands.


  1. Very neat post! Believe it or not-- I've used both the book nook plate and the man on the ladder! Right now, I have Snoopy plates! Hmm...

  2. Oh my, those are so fun to look at! And I feel the same way about book plates, which is what brought me to your blog. :-)

  3. Dear Haworth,
    This is a most interesting post.
    I am not familiar with the term 'plate'. do you mean the cover of the book.
    forgive my ignorance.):
    our books are part of our life and history.
    some super images here.
    I often regret my mother giving away many of my childhood books.
    wish i had them now.
    happy weekend

  4. Book lover here and I love this post! Thank you for sharing your charming book plates with us.

    Happy reading!

  5. Fascinating. It is wonderful that you still have all of them. I have had a few because I love books too.

  6. I loved the way you took us back to your early days and then forward to today through your tastes in bookplates. I always love it when I find a used book and there is a book plate in it.

  7. That last one is my favorite!


  8. I love bookplates. This is such a great post for it brings back memories of bookplates in my past. I had the second one from the top and placed it in many books. Then my mom gave me one of those gadgets that impress your name and From the Library of...on the page. I have no idea where it is now!

    Thanks so much for joining in this week!


  9. I remember having book plates as a child. I wish I had them now. Your examples are beautiful!

  10. I love bookplates! I ordered some for my Grandson so he can put them in his books for many years to come. hugs, Linda

  11. I don't know when it started, but I love book plates too! I like all your choices. I like that the fanciful world returns after a long too busy life. I feel like I have more time to enjoy the same pleasures as when I was five again! haha! Thanks so much for all your visits and comments. I appreciate you stopping by the new blog while I get things sorted out.

  12. Thank you to everyone who commented here! I'm so glad so many of you remembered bookplates and could recall your favorites. Val... a bookplate is a little sticker that you place inside a book on the first blank page. Most of them say "This Book Belongs To....." and that is where you write your name. I believe it started as a way to remind borrowers where they should return a book you'd loaned them!