Loved Literature Lost

I may shake my fist at the pillaging Vikings, break my heart over burned libraries, and wring my hands over the fact that books have been lost—are being lost— by the ravages of time.  And yet, I will still seek that sort of information out.  Lost literature interests me, even as it saddens and infuriates me.  Like a legend of buried treasure, I like to dream of these missing books being found again.

  Although not as old or important as the rest of Homer’s epic chronicle, I have my own list of lost literature: 

The Old Comics

We used to have an impressive collection of old comics.  Donald Duck, Richie Rich, Beetle Bailey, Tom & Jerry, etc.  I say this not to boast, but to lament.  We didn’t take very good care of them.  The comics, old as they were, often came to us in fairly bad shape already.  But then Misty, just a puppy at the time, got into the collection.  We managed to salvage a few, yet others were chewed up beyond rescue.    

The Hawaii Books

Long ago, my grandparents came back from a Hawaii trip with picture books.  One was a book about a blue turtle and a little clam-like creature.  I remember very little about the plot—I believe it involved friendship and some sort of danger.  But the illustrations were adorable, and I think it was this book that taught me how to draw turtles.  Another book was a mythical story of how the rainbow gave up his colours to make the world bright.  It was sweet, but I always thought the rainbow had died at the end… we don’t see him again after he gave his last colour, blue.   My mother also claims there was a book about “Pu-pu and nene”, but I remember nothing but maybe a vague picture of a goose—the ‘nene’ (I have no idea what a pu-pu is, or how to properly spell it).

The Timeline Book

My aunt had this book, and I liked to borrow it (auntie always had good books, and was very generous).  Though it was clunky for carrying around, it was impressive to lay it down and stretch out the timeline across the floor.  I don’t remember exactly where it ended, perhaps somewhere around the 1800s.  I vaguely remember referring to this timeline when going through Story of the World Vol.3.  Much later, I tried to get a giant timeline book of my own.  To my frustration, this new one went only went up to 100 AD. 

The Poetic Dog Book

I don’t fully remember the title.  Finder’s Tale?  Or was it Keeper’s Tail?  Something along those lines, anyhow.  The character and plot idea were more memorable.  The story follows a stray dog who makes up poetry as he searches for a home, like a canine wand’ring minstrel.  This was a library book, but it doesn’t seem to be in the system anymore.  Would be easier to find if I could just remember the title. 

The Japanese-Canadian Book

Another library book, the name of which is long forgotten, but the characters and plot made a deep impression on my young mind.  The story follows a little girl living with her family in Vancouver, B.C. until WWII comes, and the family is separated and sent to interment camps due to their Japanese heritage.  I remember this story not only for its tragedy, but also for its faint hope and bittersweet ending.  The theme I picked up on seemed to be about maintaining what is good and beautiful even in difficult conditions, and not allowing bitterness to ruin one’s life. 

For some of these, I think I will simply have to accept that they are well and truly lost.  But I am still holding on to the hope that I will see, at the very least, a couple of these books from the past.  After all, there have been stranger stories of lost literature being found, especially when more people join the search.  But even when the search dies, it’s nice to keep the memory alive.

5 thoughts on “Loved Literature Lost

  1. Dearest Shennachie, These all sound lovely ~ very much treasured books, beloved literature. Might the Japanese~Canadian story be Obasan by Joy Kogawa, or possibly the child’s version of Obasan, Naomi’s Road?


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