By Deborah Raney
“. . . he who destroys a good book kills reason itself.” ~John Milton
There is something about books and bookshelves lined with favorite books that just make a house feel cozier and more welcoming. But books don’t have to be only for reading. As a writer of books and an avid reader of books, I’ve begun to look at books in a whole new way, thanks to the creativity of my crafty daughters and daughter-in-law.
If you cringe at seeing books “destroyed,” you might want to close your eyes at a few of the photos to follow. But if you love the idea of repurposing something that has outgrown its usefulness into something fresh and creative, you’ll love this unusual look at books.
My oldest daughter, Tobi, started it with this precious Mother’s Day gift several years ago. A carefully chosen title (the more worn and ragged, the better) became a scrapbook of treasures—photos, and memories, all tucked into the pages of an old book.
Then, my daughter-in-law, Jenica, whom I love dearly (and I thought she loved me too!) asked me how upset I would be if she ripped one of my books to shreds. As soon as I found out she wasn’t speaking metaphorically and had no intention of giving me a horrible, no-good, very bad review, I was delighted.
Turns out, Jen was doing a Pinterest project that involved making a wreath from the pages of one of my books (two copies of the book, as it turns out). Since Jen’s last name is also Raney and the title of the book she wanted to use was A Vow to Cherish, it was a great choice for a wreath to hang in their home.
Jenica’s question didn’t totally take me by surprise. A few years ago (before Pinterest existed), I’d come across a gorgeous book wreath on a writer’s page. When I complimented the author on the wreath, she told me she was worried the author of the book she’d “destroyed” might be upset. I assured her that if it had been my book, I would have been honored!
So I said an enthusiastic “yes” to Jenica. The books I gave her to craft with were the very first edition of my very first book, and those almost twenty-year-old pages were yellowed and aged to perfection. The finished wreath looked wonderful in Trey and Jen’s living room.
Fast forward to a Father’s Day weekend a few months later when all our kids came to Kansas for a visit, and Jen brought the supplies to make a wreath for me while she was here! This time she used the second novel in my Hanover Falls Novels series, Forever After. Again, a lovely title when the phrase will be seen
repeated again and again in the wreath. An added bonus: the interior design of my Hanover Falls novels is so beautiful, with pull quotes and chapter headings in a lovely font and scroll-y designs throughout. That wreath hung in our house for several years and I just loved it.
Alas, the wreath got crushed beyond repair during our last move, but I’ve since come to love and appreciate the creative ways crafters use books and pages. Tobi made this darling planter by cutting a hole in a book and fitting a planter inside. Charming!
And no books were harmed in the making of this bookish Christmas tree I created from my own books for my office a few years ago.
What do you think about the John Milton quote at the beginning of this post? Did you cringe to think of books being destroyed for a craft project? Of course, the best use of a book is still for reading a great story. But if you agree with me that such artful pieces honor the place of books and writing in our society, do a Google or Pinterest search for “repurposed books” and your imagination will soar.There is something about books and bookshelves lined with favorite books that just make a house feel cozier and more welcoming. @authordebraney #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet I’ve begun to look at books in a whole new way... @authordebraney #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Deborah Raney’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Forty books and numerous awards later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. She and her husband are recent Missouri transplants and enjoy traveling, e-biking, and Friday garage sale dates.
Books aren’t just for reading,
I’m sure you are aware.
If it’s a fix you’re needing
for a broken-legged chair
a stack of books can serve quite well
as I’ve so often proved,
though to the sitter I do tell,
“This chair must not be moved!”
And then the plague of rural house,
the rodents from the prairie…
my wife has given to a mouse
an ending kind of scary
and devoid of doubt or mystery
with an unabridged dictionary.
OH! Delightful, Andrew! That really made me smile. You have SUCH a talent!
Deborah, thank you so much! You made my day.