A Hankering for Bookends

I hadn’t thought of bookends for years but, for some unknown reason, they came flooding into my memory today.

The ones I had were china with dogs on them and they guarded my precious books in the various houses that we lived in. Once the bookends and my books were in my room, as well as a green bedspread that I still have somewhere in the house here,  I felt I was where I should be.

While the bookends were very precious, having been given to me by my grandmother, Jean, one Christmas when I was about 7, I gave them a rough time over the years expecting them to hold firm on the edges of bedroom mantelpieces that were part of the bedrooms of bank houses that we lived in. (Yes, there were fireplaces in the bedrooms of the bank houses ~ we were never allowed to light fires in them, though. I wish now that I’d lit at least one fire in all those years but …)

I have spent the last while searching for images of bookends that were like mine and this pair are the nearest match I can find:

Photo: http://www.etsy.com

My love of bookends always stood in stark contrast to my feelings about book endings. I couldn’t but be a young reader, given the family I grew up in. I was the youngest and the others always had their heads stuck in books. Readie-bones, readie bones … I would nag and nag until one of them eventually put their book down and played with me.

But, deep down, I knew what it was to love reading and to become immersed in the worlds of books like Little Women, What Katy Did, The Nancy Drew Series, anything written by Enid Blyton ….. I would read the same books over and over and over again and I never wanted them to end. In so many ways, it was as if I wanted books to be circular in the same way that I wanted my bookends to somehow manage to hold the ever-increasing row of books on those mantlepieces without  ever falling and breaking into smithereens. .

The bookends did their best to survive but eventually I pushed them too far ~ even Dad’s strongest glue couldn’t fix them.

Like many a dog owner, who has lost a dog, I couldn’t face having new bookends as the pair I’d had seemed to be irreplaceable and I couldn’t see that maybe I would fall in love with a new pair in a different kind of way as I watched them doing their work from my comfy bed with the green bedspread.

I wonder is it time to think about getting a new pair or is it too late?

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

32 thoughts on “A Hankering for Bookends”

  1. It’s never too late unless it is to tell someone who has died that you love them, forgive them, or ask them to forgive you. Let me share my favorite bookends–I will put them on a post!

  2. Lovely! I have an addiction to the little shelves that sit on a table or desk. I’ve found them in thrift stores over the years. They solve the problem of ends that get pushed off, but most are not so charming as your bookends.

    1. Hi CM, I’m glad to report that I haven’t resorted to digital books as I love the feel of real books too much. But, I’m beginning to feel that I’m a bit of a dinosaur in that regard. We simply can’t let bookends die, can we?

    1. Thanks so much, Agnes. No, I’m afraid they finally got broken from too many falls as the books pushed them off the edge.
      Granny was wonderful at choosing present that left their mark.

  3. You and I sure have a lot in common. I have a little book collection. I take after my grandmother in that regard. When she passed away I kept a lot of her old books and many of her interesting book ends. And I have purchased a handful of other new and interesting ones over the years. They bring me happiness and I don’t even know why. Sadly though many of the really cool ones go for rediculous prices in antique stores and fairs. My favorites are probably a set of old Chinese peasants holding my books up and Mayan faces made of some sort of green stone. And actually I recently purchased some very old Buddhas we think are from Thailand and I am using one of them to hold up some of my books in a case.

    I’ve always dreamed of having a study with walls of books and a book ladder. Silly in this day and age in a modern house but I still love it.

  4. I think we grew up on many of the same books Jean! I’ve had a few bookends over the years, though none as loved as yours – now my shelves are so full of books that I wouldn’t be able to fit bookends in!

  5. I think the trick may be to go for some bookends but don’t try to recreate the exact dog ones. This way you’ll get some of the lovely feelings of the past without them having to live up to the precise memories. They are also a great way of keeping just a few books close by in a particular room, don’t you think? I’ve just started blogging, perhaps you’d like to take a look at the books we received in our stockings at The Snug for Christmas https://thesnugonline.com/2016/12/28/a-book-rich-christmas/
    Lou x

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