Sunday, October 16, 2011

Simplifying My Life

My goal for this winter is to simplify my life and get rid of stuff that I haven't used or looked at in over a year. I'm starting with the attic. So today I hauled boxes out of the attic, one at a time. They've been stored in there since we built the house in 1994. I was actually doing quite well until I got to the horse books and the model horses.

The model horse in the picture below was from a kit in which you put the horse together and painted it yourself, complete with mane and tail. I loved this particular model more than any of the dozens of Breyer horses who graced my bedroom shelves as a kid. Notice, I even made a double bridle for the horse. I can't remember what I named him/her, but I suspect this horse had more than one name. I couldn't bring myself to throw him away even though he only sports one good leg. So I put him in a Rubbermaid bin along with a few toys I can't part with either.

The next box presented even more problems. It was full of horse books, most of them out of print, some of them belonging to my older sister which makes them quite old.

Below are photos of one box of the books. There are a few more boxes. If you click on each photo, you can see a larger version of it. Many of them are by Marguerite Henry and C. W. Anderson. There are so many old favorites here, books that kept me company, books that fulfilled my fantasy of owning a horse, books that transported me to other places on the backs of beautiful animals. How I loved those books.

Here's my dilemma. What do I do with these books?

I'd gladly give them to a child who is as horse crazy as I was, but I don't know one. Neither of my step-granddaughters are passionate about horses like I was. They wouldn't appreciate these books like I did. I thought about offering them for sale on eBay, but I simply do not have the time to put them out there or handle all the overhead that goes with selling adn shipping on eBay.

Would a library take these books? A women's shelter? A hospital? Yet, I hate to see them ruined by careless children in a group situation. I want them to be treasured, loved, and passed down to another generation of children.

I even considered giving them away to readers of this blog, but I simply don't have the time to organize a project that large, nor could I figure out who to make that work without creating a lot of overhead for me.

There are so many old favorites among these books:
  • A Horse to Remember by Genevieve Torrey Eames
  • Rufus, The New Forest Pony by Jean Rowan
  • Several versions of Black Beauty
  • Famous Horse Stories library of books
  • And the list goes on
So I'm open for suggestions. What should I do with these timeless horse books, many of them are no longer available?

On a book-related note, my equestrian romance, "The Gift Horse," is a retro release at Bookstrand publishing this month. You can purchase it from Bookstrand for 50 percent off through November 12 by clicking this link:


Linda Benson said...

Oh gosh, Jami. That is me, also, although I keep collecting these old horse books - buying them whenever I find them at garage sales! They mean so much, especially the ones I loved as a kid.

I can tell you from working as a librarian that libraries won't take used books, unless as a donation to sell as used books. You might sell them as a collection on e-bay, or give them away to horse lovers. They probably mean the most to vintage horse lovers like us (and I mean that in the nicest possible way.) Young girls today probably have new horse books to drool over and collect.

Lots of people (like me) still love the Marguerite Henry and C.W. Anderson books.

Readers and followers - what are your suggestions?

Laura Crum said...

Jami--My kid would love those books. Not that I need any more books, mind you. My little house is overflowing with books. But my son really loves horse books. He is currently reading Alison's "Risky Chance", and he absolutely LOVED Linda's "The Horse Jar." So, if you can't find a better home for them, we'll sure be glad to take some. I read many of those books as a child, but somehow they disappeared over the years. I guess my parents were good at purging stuff. Me, I have a very hard time getting rid of books. I guess if I were you, I'd keep them. But yeah, my house is overflowing with books. I don't get rid of them easily.

Unknown said...

I recently donated books like these to a third grade teacher. Third grade is all about getting kids excited to read, horse books could make a real difference. Yes, they have a school library, but many good teachers keep a set of books in their room for the precocious readers.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

what a neat horse you made. I love the bridle!

Such a treasure trove of books. Does your sister want them back? School is a good suggestion, or Laura's son.

SunnySD said...

Ah, the memories! If you don't want the hassle of e-bay, you might try a book exchange like BookMooch where you send them off to someone who really wants them and in return gain points toward other books you'd rather have. (That's how I replaced my copy of Old Bones not that long ago.)

A used bookstore might take them, if you have one in your area and they're in good shape. Or you could try listing them on Alibris or Amazon.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could split them between Laura and I? :)
My son and daughter both ride and zealously read anything horsey or to due with animals. My son just finished a book about a young Canadian boy that goes to Europe during WWI to find his horse and it was the first book he read that really touched his heart. I guess having his own horse made it really real to him.
My daughter is seven so she loves stories like Cindy Ellen: A wild Western Cinderella and Bubba the Cowboy Prince:)
I would even pay for the shipping!! All our books our kept mostly because I like to go back and read my favorites from when I was young.

Alison said...

Jami--I love this blog, because like Linda and the others, I have hoarded everything horsey, including my Steiff pony, which looks as if the dogs chewed it up.
It looks like you have takers--and mommyrides is even willing to pay postage! Sounds like a win-win.

How in the world did you make such a realistic bridle for your model? Mine were usually string . . .

Dreaming said...

I'm so glad that you are keeping your horse! I had one similar to that. Mine was black. I played with him, along with my Breyer horses. Sadly, he did suffer a leg fracture - too much cantering across the carpet!

Your books took me on a lovely trip down memory lane! I had several of those titles! I agree with Breathe about third grade being a wonderful time to encourage reading. I taught 3rd grade for quite a few years and that is really the pivotal year in learning to read. If you had the time to visit a class, share your enthusiasm for writing (and reading) and give the books... you'd make a difference in quite a few kids' lives, I'm betting! If you decide to do this, you may want to consider a slightly older group of kids as the books seem to be for more capable readers.

Amanda W. said...

I had the same horse, I played that boy to pieces! I know of a couple kids (a few related, a few not) that would LOVE!!!! to have those books, not to mention, I would I collect old horse books, have a few that are actually worth something, I think. I am holding out for the boys to have a horse crazy little girl someday (preferably AFTER they're married). Better yet I am not far away and would come take them off your hands with no hassle for you!

The Village Queen said...

Oh I have many of those same ones too. I can also tell you that you would be shocked at some of the prices they go for on Ebay and other vintage used book sites. All of us older women whos moms tossed our childhood books and toys are now buying them back!
I have a neat horse too, learned to sew making blankets for my Bryers, stood me in good stead as thats how I make a living now. I hope you find a good home for the books, they are to be treasured.

Petsitr said...

Well, I too have many of those same books; a full collection of M. Henry, etc. I never read the Rufus book, though- now I have to track down a copy! I re-read my British Jill series by Ruby Ferguson just recently.

Here's what I'm considering doing with my duplicate paperbacks and the ones that I got, read, and decided were just not well-written enough (sorry, Saddle Club); a local Pony club or 4-H horse group. They often have year-end banquets with silent auctions or need prizes. Some of those older books deserve to be enjoyed by a new group of readers.

Jami Davenport said...

Laura, Amanda, and Mommy Rides, let me go through the rest of them, which will take me a while to get to them, and I'd be glad to ship some your way.

As far as the bridle, I learned to make them via a model horse club I was in. Craft shops used to sell all the stuff because people used to braid it to make bracelets. I have several I've made over the years.

Jami Davenport said...

Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas. I now know my books will have good homes with adults/children who will cherish them as much as I did.

2horseygirls said...

One last suggestion is to donate the books to a local horse rescue as a silent auction basket for an event. You know the person who buys them is a horse person who will love them.

I know I have scoured the internet looking for out of print books - maybe taking them to an eBay store would be worth it? You will put the books out there for a wider audience, and the small fee would be worth the savings of time & packaging & mailing for you. I used to sell Pampered Chef, and I had a ton of PC products to offload that were discontinued, etc. I know people look for them but didn't even want to think about wrapping stoneware for shipment. Hubby took it all to the local eBay store for me, and I think it was a 40% store/60% me split. Which was better than the nothing I got for it sitting in the basement!