Lehman died in 1966, and the book passed to his own widow, also a writer and an editor. She lived till the age of 93. In March of this year, she died, and The War of the Worlds was packed into boxes with her other books. Weeks later, as her grandchildren sat on the floor sorting through them, they found it. They read the words from Uncle Spud and Robert and Esther and Milton, and realized what it was. Or, I should say, we realized what it was. I am one of those grandchildren, and the book sits on the table in front of me.

What do we lose as we bid farewell to what may turn out to have been a brief period in which common people owned physical books? 

Among all the gifts of the electronic age, one of the most paradoxical might be to illuminate something we are beginning to trade away: the particular history, visible and invisible, that can be passed down through the vessel of an old book, inscribed by the hands and the minds of readers who are gone.

-excerpted from Will Your Children Inherit Your E-books?, by Amanda Katz

A first edition of The Jungle Book (1894), complete with a handwritten inscription
by author Rudyard Kipling to his youngest daughter…
“This book belongs to Josephine Kipling for whom it was written by her father,
May 1894″

Additional physical info and images of Kipling’s book can be found here at Abe Books

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