Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Shared Love for Books

Photo credit:  Larry Fenwick
On a recent trip to Fort Worth my husband encountered this sculpture of Mark Twain, and knowing how much I would enjoy seeing it, he paused for some photographs.

Among the many books in Isaac Werner's library was Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad.  On February 24, 1871 he recorded in his journal:  "Wrote and ordered again a copy of Innocents Abroad...,"  but it was clearly not the first copy of Twain that he owned, for on March 2, 1871 he wrote in his journal, "During eve boys standing round store reading Mark Twain and general fun."  The copy that he had ordered arrived March 10, 1871:  "I received for express a copy of Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad."  Isaac's last entry about the book was made on March 18, 1871:  "During day I read Mark Twain's description of Cathedral at Milan, just feeling interested to read up about that building."

Early edition
Innocents Abroad was published in 1869 and is an account of Twain's traveling with a group of Americans in 1867 aboard a chartered vessel called the Quaker City.  The book was the best selling of all of Twain's books during his lifetime, and it remains one of the all-time most popular travel books.

Stone plaque
Near the statue of Twain was this plaque, which reads:  Given to the Families of Fort Worth for the Joys of Reading Together.  The donor was identified as "Red Oak Books."  Of course, my curiosity lead me to research the donor, and I learned that in 1991 Jon and Rebecca Brumley established the Red Oak Foundation intended to encourage reading to young children.  As part of their mission Red Oaks Books gives over 37,000 new, hardcover books to disadvantaged families each year.

Photo credit:  Larry Fenwick
One of the first things that attracted me to Isaac Werner was our shared love for books.  Not only do we both love books, but we both value the importance of building a personal library.

Clearly Jon and Rebecca Brumley share that love for books and realize not only the importance of reading to children but also the importance of each child having books of his or her own.

Someday I just may join Mark Twain on his bench, and if no one is nearby to laugh at the silly lady talking to a statue, I might even tell Twain about the homesteader on the Kansas prairie who loved books and who read Innocents Abroad with his friends. 


Carol,Starr said...

I reread Innocents Abroad not long ago. Hope to see you at the Byers School reunion.

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

Loved visiting with both of you, and of course, Larry loved sitting with a fellow pilot!

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

L. K. from MO wrote: "I enjoyed your Mark Twain pictures and comments. Mark Twain was an interesting man. He looked very comfortable and relaxed on the bench. ...Isaac appeared to be a gifted man and a scholar. I wonder why he stayed on the prairie alone. Perhaps his books kept him company and sane."