Two Thousand and Seventeen

Happy New Year!

Thank you to all of the the wonderful customers who have supported my book shop, Box Thirteen, during this past year. I appreciate your business very much and am grateful that you chose to shop in my corner–out of all the places in the vast online world! You folks make it possible for me to do what I love: hunt for old books and help you build your library.

I am looking forward to serving this year!

May we all build grand libraries and fill our homes with the handsomely bound volumes from generations past!



Vintage Western Novels Gift Guide For The Shop

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!

1897~ Wolfville

1913~ The Heart Of The Desert

1914~ The Way Of The Strong

1916~ The Border Legion

1917~ The Vengeance of Jefferson Gawn

1918~ Six Feet Four

1918~ The Man From Bar-20

1920~ Oh, You Tex!

1922 The Man In The Twilight

1922~ To The Last Man

1923~ Iron Heart

1923~ The Luck Of The Kid

1930~ Outlaws of Eden

1932~ The Six Gun Code

1933~ Hell’s Desert

1933~ The Invisible Brand

1933~ The Drift Fence

1945~ The Flying U Strikes

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!

Youth/Children’s Vintage Book Gift Guide For The Shop

hollytreechristmasvintagebooksgiftlistMerry Christmas Folks!

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)

sand-dune-pony-1950s1964-the-power-boys 1961-the-rebel 1959-the-happy-hollisaters 1953-further-chronicals-lm-montgomery-christmas-gifts


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)

ethel-morton-1916 the-go-ahead-boys-19161910-sams-chance1900-frank-on-a-gunboat1919-larkspur

Vintage Books From The 1900’s (approx. 110 years old)


Vintage Books From The 1800’s (over 116 years old!)

frank-in-the-mountains-1896 the-steel-horse-1888-castlemon1877-elsies-children

And…there are more in the shop HERE!

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!

Box 13 shop~Vintage Book Gift Guide 2016

vintage-books-christmas-gifts-guide-2016As 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:

  1. It appreciates in value. In 20 years it will be worth more than you paid for it. Need I say more?
  2. 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…
  3. 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!


Once-(Six Historically Inspired Novels) Book Review


“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.

On top of that, modern “retellings” are not a favorite of mine either, and I tend to be very wary of them. The reason being, that they tend to end up as no more than a watered-down, abridged, emotionalized, or in some cases”sanitized” retelling of what used to be a strong, rich story with good vocabulary and hidden meanings.

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.

Rumpled was 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!

12 Vintage-Novel Related Things This Gal is Thankful For in 2016



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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. For the cozy, quiet books I traveled through this year with, like Mrs. Miniver, the down-home poems of Edgar Guest, David Harum, and the charming story of Jane Of Lantern Hill.

  4. For the volumes that fire the imagination and stir the blood like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. For friends who listen to me discuss the books I’m reading, and add their commentary which unearths important points and sharpens my mind.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. John Buchan, my new favorite author. And the dear friend who introduced me to his amazing books.

  11. Mr. Standfast, a fine novel if there ever was one.

  12. 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?

“Books” by Edgar Guest

Edgar Guest on the radio 1935

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!

Encouragement From Theodore Roosevelt

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

Mrs. Miniver~Vintage Book Review


“…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.


Book Details

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

Photography and The Photos In My Shop


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?  

Cast your votes in the comments!