Western books are, quite obviously, relished by lovers of westerns. But did you know they also make great decor for the “farmhouse style” as well as in real ranch-houses? Add them to a man’s shelf or nightstand for a masculine stack of books…
For those shopping for western books as Christmas gifts I’ve created this page of hardbacks currently available in the shop.
They are arranged chronologically and all are pre-1949, with most of them being from the 20’s and 30’s. Dates are listed above each photo–just click on the photo to see more details!
Give a trio of these together for a great start of a western library, or bundle one with an old western film for a perfect gift! They make great gifts, and because they are antiques, which appreciate in value with each passing year!
P.S. I’ve already sent out many books on their merry way to be placed under Christmas trees across North America…and once I’ve sold out, they’re gone. So if you have your eye on any of the books, I’d encourage you to grab them while you have a chance!
Here is a list of vintage books I’ve selected from the shop that would make great Christmas gifts for the youths in your life! Give them hours of entertainment and a piece of history which they can be proud of adding to their library!
They are sorted by decade so you can pick your favorite era of children’s stories! Simply click on the photo to go to that book in the shop!
Vintage Books From the 1950-60’s (approx. 60 years old)
Vintage Books From The 1940’s (approx. 70 years old)
Vintage Books From The 1930’s (approx. 80 years old)
Vintage Books From The 1920’s (approx. 90 years old)
Vintage Books From The 1910’s (approx 100 years old)
Vintage Books From The 1900’s (approx. 110 years old)
Vintage Books From The 1800’s (over 116 years old!)
P.S. I’ve already sent out many books on their merry way to be placed under Christmas trees across North America…and once I’ve sold out, they’re gone. So if you have your eye on any of the books, I’d encourage you to grab it while you have a chance!
As all readers know, books make some of the best gifts. But when it comes to vintage books, there are even more reasons why they are an excellent choice to give as gifts:
It appreciates in value. In 20 years it will be worth more than you paid for it. Need I say more?
Every vintage book has a history, and is part of our history. Giving them to people who appreciate them helps preserve that history. You’d be surprised how many old books get thrown in dumpsters and tossed out with the trash. I’ve rescued many antiques, rare books, and quite valuable works that are an important part of our history. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. Forever. I could write a whole blog post of stories about this…
Vintage books tend to be more ascetically pleasing, and double as quality decor. The sewn bindings, cloths and leathers, cover tones, illustrations, matching sets, and thousands of other little details make them pieces of art that tell a story. A story of the quality craftsmanship of the generations before.
So, I’m publishing a few Christmas gift guides for Box 13 shop over the next days:
Youth/Children’s Vintage Book Gift Guide For The Shop
Vintage Western Novels Gift Guide For The Shop
Box 13 Christmas Gift Guide: Vintage Books (novels and/or non-fiction)
Agent Box 13’s Personal Favorites; A List Of Vintage Books Gifts
Keep your eyes out for them this week!
P.S. I’ve already sent out many books on their merry way to be placed under Christmas trees across North America….and once I’ve sold out, they’re gone. So if you have your eye on any of the books, I’d encourage you to grab it while you have a chance!
“Six fairy-tales you thought you knew, set against a tapestry of historical backgrounds.”
I dove into this book with mixed feelings. On the one hand I was quite excited to read Elisabeth Grace Foley‘s story that I had been eagerly awaiting for many months.
On the other hand, I tend to gravitate towards old books whenever I’m looking for a fiction book to read. And though there are a handful of modern authors I enjoy tremendously, I tend to shy away from most modern fiction because it is usually lacking in either good craftsmanship, or in good plot/worldviews/morals/meaning/substance/etc.
I needn’t have worried. 🙂 Each of these six stories was fresh and new, and mostly of top-notch quality. The stories had similarities to the originals, but were far more than your average adaption/retelling. Each one could have stood on it’s own merit and been enjoyed, without leaning on the readers’ knowledge of the tale it was based on.
I enjoyed reading this collection of novellas, they are the perfect length to read in one sitting and full of fun, mystery, revenge, plot twists, and quite a unique look at traditional folk lore.
Now a little bit about each of them individually:
I have a predilection for westerns (as you know if you’ve visited my artist site!), and The Mountain of The Wolf is an excellent little western novella. It’s a retelling of the 10th century folk-story Red Riding-hood, set in the canyons, wide open skies, and dusty lands of the American West. It starts out in a leisurely way, with hints of the ominous purpose of Rosa Jean—a young lady who lives alone up in the mining country. A strange man, Quincy, rides up one day with a hidden agenda, and the suspense builds as his plans interfere with hers…It’s a delightful tale, with a great climax, and one of my favorites in this set.
I was not really fond of the story She But Sleepeth, but I found the historical note at the end fascinating. History and fiction were woven together seamlessly and with such talent, that I had no idea just how much truth there was to the story. The author makes dead royalty so real and alive I thought they were fictitious! And it does makes one want to visit Romania.
Rumpledwas quite a change from my usual fare. I’d never read anything in the steam-punk genre, previously, but it was enjoyable and I thought it was far better than the original Rumpelstiltskin story. The ending is certainly more satisfying! It’s a sweet story of trust broken and webs of deceit woven for personal gain, but the girl’s conscience will not be silent, and her slow-growing love for her husband only accentuates her agony…
Poignant and realistic. That is what describes the story of the girl with matches in A Sweet Remembrance. As an amateur historian, lover of WWII history, and historical reenactor I especially enjoyed this story. It is a story of a war torn country, and of families under Nazi occupation. The author doesn’t mask the sadness or the realness—and it reads like many of the true stories I’ve been told of the hard life during the war. Stories where agony and separation called forth little unexpected deeds of kindness, nobleness and generosity. Where beauty abounded in the midst of ashes and devastation…
Death Be Not Proud is a fast read. One of those fun thriller-mysteries that has you grinning and turning pages as quick as you possibly can. 🙂 I do love a good mystery, and this one was short and satisfying (not to mention that it made me so curious about a certain scientific medical-phenomenon that I just had to research it!). A mystery, an island, and the tale of a prohibition era jazz singer with a dark past….who could ask for anything more? Suzannah Rowntree, the author, said that is was written in homage to Mary Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock. Now, I must confess my ignorance of Mary Stewart, but it does capture the suspense, murder, mystery, and mayhem that makes it reminiscent of the 30’s and 40’s film noir, of which Alfred Hitchcock was the master. Great fun all around!
Rapunzel was never a favorite fairy-tale of mine, but this retelling, With Blossoms Gold, is a fine story of courage, love, heroes, and of conquering the selfish tendencies of isolation and safety—of a girl who challenges herself to strike out with courage and devote her life to others instead of herself. Of denying your feelings in lieu of your duty. It is the most traditional of the six, and takes place among the realms of knights, kings, and castles.
If you are looking for an evening of fun retellings of classic folk lore, take a look at “Once” over on Amazon!
I’m spilling over with gratitude for SO many things this year, however, this list is confined to a few of the vintage-book related things that have delighted me through this year of reading and working with old treasures.
I’m thankful for a sweet little Canadian woman who penned words and shared them with the public, so that over 100 years later I could read them and delight in the sheer loveliness of her stories, and become inspired by the way that she points out the breathtaking beauty in the ordinary world, relationships, and life.
I’m thankful that I live in an era of internet—an era where one can find almost any old book, and have it appear in your mailbox within a matter of days.
For the cozy, quiet books I traveled through this year with, likeMrs. Miniver, the down-home poems of Edgar Guest,David Harum, and the charming story of Jane Of Lantern Hill.
For the volumes that fire the imagination and stir the blood like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
For the tales of mystery, daring, and thrills, whose pages I flipped rapidly, and which kept my mind sharp and on it’s toes–The 39 Steps, Death On The Nile…and the list goes on and on.
For the wide open spaces, fresh air, courage during hard times, justice prevailing, pluck, quick-shooting cowboys, and tales of wrongs righted in the vintage western books of yesteryear. Books where the righteous are still hailed as heroes and their land is blessed, while the wicked and their plans come to naught in the blazing masterpiece of a sunset and dusty winds.
For friends who listen to me discuss the books I’m reading, and add their commentary which unearths important points and sharpens my mind.
I’m thankful for each and every one of you customers in my shop, who have allowed me the privilege of being your personal book-hunter, and have helped me be able to do the work I love. I’m so grateful that I have a job where leather bindings, antique pages, and unearthing long forgotten volumes is a part of the daily work. It’s a study of artifacts and cultural history that never grows old.
For the ecstasy of opening an unpublished manuscript that came in the mail, and the kindness of the author who allowed me to read the rough edit.
John Buchan, my new favorite author. And the dear friend who introduced me to his amazing books.
Mr. Standfast, a fine novel if there ever was one.
The dormant lines that I gleaned from vintage novels, and reintroduced to our culture—by quoting them. I often wonder if the author could have guessed which lines would stick out to the readers, and that they would be quoted by folks over 100 years from then.
And the list could go on.
I have plenty to be thankful for (and this list doesn’t even mention non-fiction!).
What books are thankful for this year? What are you grateful for in the literary world?
I love to collect poems, and have a particular fondness for the American poet Edgar A. Guest. But there is one “sub-genre” in poetry that I especially love, and that is the poems about literature, books, and reading. This is one of those poems.
By Edgar Guest
Upon my shelf they stand in rows,
A city-full of human souls,
Sages, philosophers and drolls–
Good friends that everybody knows.
The drunkard shoulders with the saint;
The great are neighboring with the quaint
And they will greet me one and all
At any hour I care to call.
There’s Dickens with his humble crew
That has no end of joy to give.
With all his people I can live
By moving just a foot or two.
Or should I choose to sail the sea,
Stevenson there will pilot me,
While jovial, lovable Mark Twain
Waits patiently my call again.
Sometimes a friend drops in and looks
My little sitting room around
And, in a manner most profound,
Remarks: “Your shelves are lined with books!”
And men to cling to or despise.
Vast peopled cities, calm and still;
For me to visit when I will.
While my choice of authors differs from Guest’s, I fully share his fondness for books, and the satisfying pleasure of having my own volumes about me!
Finding the time to read is an oft encountered challenge for many of us, and I’m certainly on that list. Things pile up, and books get set to the side…
Then there are men like Theodore Roosevelt. Whenever I read about him, I come away resolved to read in the midst of a busy life; that it can indeed be done.
Below is one of the quotes about his life that never ceases to inspire me, another great quote about his reading accomplishments is in the article on Summer Reading.
“Once upon a time in the dead of winter in the Dakota Territory, Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat down the Little Missouri River in pursuit of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized rowboat. After several days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then Roosevelt set off in a borrowed wagon to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. They headed across the snow-covered wastes of the Badlands to the railhead at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, the entire 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in Roosevelt’s eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina. I often think of that when I hear people say they haven’t time to read.” ― David McCullough
“…and realize that a day without a chunk or two of solitude in it is like a cocktail without ice.”~Mrs. Miniver
Not all great books are majestic, triumphant, outstandingly written, well-known, and follow a well-crafted plot. Or filled with action, adventure, thrills, or excitement. Mrs. Miniver is none of those. And yet, it is a great book. It is like a cup of tea–warm, quiet, cozy, and filled with everyday moments recounted in a telling way– without being the least bit imposing.
It’s extremely seldom I come across a fiction book of this kind. Or rather, a fiction book of this kind with this kind of caliber. Of course, there is the famous Goodbye, Mr. Chips, which is also a simple, heartwarming tale of everyday life, but even that acclaimed book doesn’t measure up to Mrs. Miniver’s insightful loveliness–in my humble opinion.
Mrs. Miniver offers a glimpse of English life during the 1940’s, and it was said by the New York Herald Tribune at the time (1940)
“All that was best in English life is in this book.”
It is certainly unassuming though. Each chapter is a short 3-4 pages. Nothing big happens. Buying a doll. Cleaning an old orchard. Purchasing a new planner for the year. An evening at dinner. A car ride. Listening to windshield wipers. Those are what the chapters are made up of. Life is quiet. The family small.
And yet, after reading it I found that it had touched me more than I first realized. I started becoming a Mrs. Miniver in my own life. For you see, the book leaves you with your eyes wide open to capture the simple pleasures that slip by everyday. Not that they are great discoveries you may have never seen before, because often you have seen them hundreds of times. But, as Holmes was always telling Watson, you can see something every single day of your life and never really observe it.
I found this book to be one of those that wakens you to observe, ponder, and really notice the everyday things and people in your life. To remember the little gestures, personalities, choices, pleasures, words, and memories you make with your family. The kind of things you will treasure and be so glad for should you ever lose a person close to you, or move away from your homeland and the familiar country and grounds. As a matter of fact, if I could journal like Mrs. Miniver I’d sit down and chronicle the treasures of all my everydays right away!
But here I am raising your expectations of the book to such heights that you will surely be disappointed and think “She got all that from those simple–plain stories!?!” For they are simple and many may find them dull. But persevere with an open mind and you may surprise yourself with the fondness you will have for Mrs. Miniver, and your appreciation for her wisdom growing by the end of the book, as happened to me.
Title Mrs. Miniver
Author Jan Struther
Date Originally Published: 1939 (from Newspaper articles published 1937-1939)
Book in Photos: published 1940
To read the great review on Goodreads by author Elisabeth Grace Foley that made me want to read the book click here.
One more note before I leave: Mrs. Miniver the book, and Mrs. Miniver the famous WWII film that was so highly acclaimed by Winston Churchill are not similar. The film was good in it’s own right. So was the book. But there is almost no comparing them as they are only ever so faintly connected. So just enjoy each one separately and don’t worry about their differences and connections! Neither are perfect, but both are worth pursuing!
This book is a beautiful glimpse into old English life. A book that sharpens your sense of gratefulness, wonder, and joy in everyday life.
“It oughtn’t to need a war to make us talk to each other in buses, and invent our own amusements in the evenings, and live simply, and eat sparingly, and recover the use of our legs, and get up early enough to see the sun rise. However, it has needed one (WWII in England): which is about the severest criticism our civilization could have.” ― Mrs. Miniver
I’ve been enjoying learning more about photography this year. My skills are not very great yet, but I’ve been learning. Earlier this year my book photographer moved suddenly, and I found out my ignorance of cameras during the next week. I scrambled around as I attempted to learn everything at once.
At first I simply tried to replicate his photos, and make mine turn out like his did. Lately, I’ve been considering changing the actual style of product photos in the shop. I’ve found that I really enjoy taking other photos in different settings, environments, and light, and love playing with the different elements. I’ve been posting a few of them on my instagram account @boxthirteenbooks .
For example, when I photographed “The Six Gun Code” in my beginning days I was using my old method. A while later I photographed it and found that I enjoyed the other settings far better.
My question to you is: which photo do you think looks better?
And, which kind of photo (disregarding the vast quality difference!) do you like better for presentation of books in the shop?
The solid background that is uniform (as I’ve always done), or the outdoor shots?
Cabin fever is one of those diseases that plague folks all over the world, and Bud Moore is no exception. An ex-cowboy turned stage-driver (of an auto stage!), he has been married just over a year, and lives in a nice, sturdy house with his wife and baby. Now, the bad news is that Bud is not the only one in the house to have “cabin fever,” his bride Marie has a severe case and is even closer to committing a desperate act than he is…
This book is a “light-reading” type of story that follows the wanderings of Bud as his marriage breaks apart and he is thrust out in the world with only a ten-spot to his once-prosperous name. Taking a job working for another man, he innocently ends up deep in the midst of a crime…and wanted by law officers in several western states.
The characters in this book have been developed more fully than many in Bower’s western adventures. It is a stand alone story, and has no connection to her more famous series. It is simple in plot, yet original enough to be interesting. Her writing style is simple as well, but she usually has a point that she makes with the story—in this one it has to do with the issues of compassion, understanding, the utter silliness of pride and it’s damaging repercussions, and the theory that “change is as good as rest” (as a side note; Winston Churchill wrote an excellent little book on that subject titled “Painting as a Pastime”).
The book starts with these ominous and intriguing words:
There is a certain malady of the mind induced by too much of one thing. Just as the body fed too long upon meat becomes a prey to that horrid disease called scurvy, so the mind fed too long upon monotony succumbs to the insidious mental ailment which the West calls “cabin fever.”
True it parades under different names, according to circumstances and caste. You may be afflicted in a palace and call it ennui, and it may drive you to commit peccadillos and indiscretions of various sorts. You may be attacked in a middle-class apartment house, and call it various names, and it may drive you to cafe life and affinities and alimony. You may have it wherever you are shunted into a backwater of life, and lose the sense of being borne along in the full current of progress. Be sure that it will make you abnormally sensitive to little things; irritable where once you were amiable; glum where once you went whistling about your work and your play.
It is the crystallizer of character, the acid test of friendship, the final seal set upon enmity. It will betray your little weaknesses, cut and polish your undiscovered virtues, reveal you in all your glory or your vileness to your companions in exile—if so be you have any.
If you would test the soul of a friend, take him into the wilderness and rub elbows with him for five months! One of three things will surely happen: You will hate each other afterward with that enlightened hatred which is seasoned with contempt; you will emerge with the contempt tinged with a pitying toleration, or you will be close, unquestioning friends to the last six feet of earth– and beyond.
All these things will cabin fever do, and more. It has committed murder, many’s the time. It has driven men crazy. It has warped and distorted character out of all semblance to it’s former self. It has sweetened love and killed love. There is an antidote– but I am going to let you find the antidote somewhere in the story.
Her antidote is is comprised of several things, which I will also leave you to discover in the story. 🙂 The resolution of all the problems wasn’t quite satisfactory to me.
Least you get the idea that Bower turned from her traditional western novels and started in on moralizing, preaching, and making profound social observations, let me put your mind at rest. “Cabin Fever” is just like her other books: full of dialogue, a fun story, humorous moments, and a little action (though not as much in this one as her other novels). This tale has quite a surprising twist at the end! I thought I could pretty well predict the way the story would end, but I didn’t anticipate how the plot would spin at the last minute!
“Cabin Fever” details:
Originally published in 1918
Written by B. M. Bower
The book in these photos: published in June 1945 by Triangle Books
291 Pages in length
“We all realize keenly, one time or another, the abject poverty of language. To attempt putting some emotions into words is like trying to play Ave Maria on a toy piano. There are heights and depths utterly beyond the limitation of instrument and speech alike.”~Cabin Fever