Tag Archives: Book Collecting

Soil, Not Gold, Is The Best Investment

earthworm in the hand
Hans / Pixabay

Robert Rodale was a pioneer in the fields of organic gardening and local food production, as well as a giant in the publishing world. His words often ring more true today than when he wrote them, which is a gift in itself. I have reproduced some excerpts here from a small volume in my collection, which hold even more power given the fact that they were written in 1981.

For many, those bad times have visited their neighborhoods already, so they definitely hit a little too close to home.

For example:

“…we are heading into a soil and food crunch. I am convinced that the days of surplus farm and food production are almost over. My guess is that you haven’t heard or read about that possibility anywhere yet, except right here in these pages. But it is bound to happen…”

“The disruption of normal social and economic activities caused by a worldwide food shortage would probably increase the attractiveness of both gold and soil as investments. But I feel that if you compare the relative merits of each, soil is clearly the winner. And because of the shortage of food that is likely to occur within this decade, soil will soon replace gold as the most talked about and symbolic thing of enduring value.

This is going to happen because people have always put a higher value on things that are rare. Gold has always been rare, and will remain so, even though more is being mined all the time. But soil has never before been at short supply on a worldwide basis. Erosion and encroachment of deserts have ruined the soil of large regions, and their have been famines caused by bad weather. But never have people had to contend with the thought that, on a global basis, there isn’t enough soil to go around. Within a few years that will change. Soil will, for the first time, become rare.

A new symbolism of soil will develop. Until now, soil has symbolized dirt in the minds of many, especially city people who have little or no feel for the tremendous productive capacity of good soil. I think we are going to see that attitude change rapidly. Access to good earth will become the greatest of all forms of protection against inflation and a much stronger security blanket than it is now…”

“When you spend gold, it is gone. Soil properly cared for, is permanent…”

“I want to make one final point. Suppose you do have a hoard of small gold coins at home, and a food shortage develops here in the U.S. Hopefully, the cause will not be war, and it may not even be an absence of food in central storehouses. The shortage could be caused by transportation breakdowns, most likely a lack of fuel to carry food from farms to processing plants to supermarkets.

Where would you take your gold coin to buy food? In postwar Italy, as in this country several decades ago, small diversified farms could be found near all towns and cities. There were even truck farms within the city limits of New York. All are gone now. Many americans would have to walk or ride their bicycles for hours to get to a farm, and then likely would find an agribusiness operation with bins of one or two commodities on hand. Spending your coin would present a real challenge.

So the best fall back possession is not gold, but a large garden and a pantry of home-produced food.”

From the introduction by Robert Rodale, in the book titled “Fresh Food, Dirt Cheap (All Year Long!) by The Editors of Gardening Magazine.

“I wish to have an intimate relationship with earthworms, and soil”.  – Michael Patrick McCarty


earthworm castings
Hans / Pixabay


You Might Also Like: A Simple Act of Protest 


Thirty Years of Books…And So Much More

A Day Well Spent


This March marks the 25th year anniversary of our launch into the business side of the world of used and rare books. And what a big, big, wordy world it is.

Along the way, we found out what it was like to run a mail order business with its printed catalogs and pay by good check, long before “Google” was a household name. We discovered the skills needed to successfully operate a brick and mortar bookstore on main street U.S.A., never imagining that such a hopeful enterprise would run into the concrete walls of the big box stores and mostly go the way of the dinosaurs. We rode the wave of Ebay, Paypal, and the internet bookstore, and watched the book world change in so many ways that it’s sometimes hard to remember why we became booksellers in the first place.

It has been a unique and rollicking adventure, though not recommended for the faint of heart. You might say we’ve handled a lot of books in those two decades, and I’ve got the creaky and complaining back to prove it. I don’t mind telling you that it is not an easy way to make a living, particularly in a world of ever-increasing electronic distractions and a struggling world economy. It is not a place for anyone wishing to avoid a challenge, or face a steadily rising and unending learning curve. A great memory doesn’t hurt a thing either, especially if you can keep it.

I can also say that I would not have changed a thing about the journey. We’ve met a lot of great people along the way – people who love the books as much as us – and more. Our conversations within the limitless universe of mind bending ideas and printed happenings have been epic, and I can still hear many of them reverberating in my head from days so long ago.

“Wow, you must get to read a lot”,  is an oft-repeated phrase. Well, don’t we wish.

The life of a book dealer is a full one, and the motto “So many books, so little time” is the Bookman’s lament. We make a living one book at a time, and every decision to buy is based on our knowledge and experience and the ability to find a buyer and turn a profit, each and every time. Buy wrong, and die.

No wonder that “No pain, no gain”, and “risk it all” are the rallying cries of the fiercely independent.

Small matter, I say. It is the tightly focused hunt in the dimly lit bookstalls and the love of carefully bound volumes that drives us before the hounds. Perhaps you know just exactly what I mean.

To all of our customers and the cherished book friends we’ve made over the years – Thank You – and best wishes from the deep well of our book loving souls. It is your love of words and unquenchable thirst for knowledge that keeps us doing what we do. For that, we are most eternally grateful.

Here’s to another 25 years of black ink and the printed page, and the people of the book – God willing….

Michael Patrick McCarty                                                                                                      


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.                                                              Frederick Douglass

Some people will lie, cheat, steal, and back-stab to get ahead…and to think all they have to do is read.                                                                                                              Anonymous


* You Can Browse Our Book Catalog Here.

We never tire of talking books, so please let us know if you don’t see what you are looking for in our catalog.

A Book of Home – And Life

“…We have not only regarded home itself as an institution of nature, but in the treatment of almost every subject we have tried to involve the exposition of some related natural law, because every relation of the home life is the outgrowth of some law of our nature and our surroundings. It has been our aim to make this book a scientific treatise on the various phases of the home, and in this respect, so far as we know, it stands alone.” – From The Preface


Front Cover Our Home Or, The Key To A Nobler Life. By C. E. Sargent
Come On In


Here Offered:

Our Home Or, The Key To A Nobler Life. By C. E. Sargent. Published by King, Richardson, & Co., Springfield, Massachusetts and Des Moines, Iowa, 1889. About 6″ x 8″, with 432 pages and several full page illustrations.

With chapters on the nature of the home, influences, childhood, home training, rewards and punishments, amusements for the home, education of our girls, and boys, books for the home, self culture, resolutions and individual rules of life, manners, family secrets, duties, economy of home, courage to meet life’s duties, leaving home, the widow’s home, the old-fashioned home, and much more.

Bound in decorated cloth. In Very good condition, with some general rubbing and cover wear.

$50 plus $4 shipping U.S. 


Front cover decorations Our Home or, The Key to a Nobler Life Sargent, C. E.
A Nobler Life


Illustration Our Home or, The Key to a Nobler Life Sargent, C. E.; The First Botony Lesson
The First Botany Lesson


Illustration Our Home or, The Key to a Nobler Life Sargent, C. E.; In the Library
In The Library


Illustration Our Home or, The Key to a Nobler Life Sargent, C. E.; The Shaded Retreat
The Shaded Retreat


Books Spoken Here – and Writing Too!

See our Catalog of 7,000 Used, Collectable, and Rare Books Here

You can search by author, title, or keyword, and more.

View  the complete list Here.

Still can’t find it? Please let us know. We may have it, in the backroom.

Michael Patrick McCarty, Bookseller

Paypal or Personal Checks accepted.

Prepper Pete – A Book For Kids

A Simple Message

“Prepper Pete Prepares” by Kermit Jones, Jr. is the first prepping book written exclusively for kids. “Designed to educate children in a language where they can be taught and entertained at the same time, this series highlights a handful of reasons to prepare in a simplistic, non threatening manner”.

It’s never too early to begin to teach a child a little independence and self-reliance. Wonderfully illustrated, it is a great read and a great way to help children understand prepping in fun and thought-provoking terms.

Preparedness is the key!

Read More About Pete’s Adventures Here.


Food Freedom – and Prepping Too!

Michael Patrick McCarty


Mr. Jim Kjelgaard – Patron Saint of Dogs, Boys, And The Outdoors

Big Red - Big Friends
Big Red – Big Friends

I often wonder where I would be were it not for a man called Jim Kjelgaard. Chances are you may not know him by name, though his reach and influence continues to this day. His work influenced a generation of young boys, soon to be men, searching for the soul of adventure and the heart of the wild outdoors.

Wikipedia defines Mr. Kjelgaard as an American Author of Young Adult Literature, which in my way of thinking is like saying that an ocean of water is very wet. As an author of forty novels and countless short stories and other works, he was certainly that, and more. Much, much more. He meant everything to a young boy bursting to learn what lived beyond the outer limits of his own backyard.

I have always been a reader, blessedly so, and born for it I suppose. I took to books like black ink yearns for the creative freedom of an empty white page. My face became well known in any library I could enter, until I had read most everything I could find on animals and fishing and all things outdoors from their limited selections. And then an angel of a librarian handed me a copy of Stormy, a story about an outlaw black Labrador Retriever and his owner written by this fellow with the strange name. It was nothing like anything I had ever read and I was hooked like a catfish on a cane pole.

I was to discover very soon that dogs were a prominent feature in a Kjelgaard story. It’s easy to see why, since there is something completely natural and magical about young boys and their dogs.Dogs are loved when they are properly trained. You can also click here now to train your dogs .The combination just begs for adventure and open space to run and roam. They encourage each other on and on, over the hill to the next discovery,  past the bend in the ever beckoning road. Together, there is nothing a boy and a dog can’t do especially when it goes to Spectrum Canine Dog Training – professional dog trainer to get in good shape.

I have read a little about the author’s life and I am convinced that he understood and loved the outdoors with a passion that even he could not convey. You can feel it on every page and in every character of every sentence. He had a remarkable ability to put you in the moment, in and of the scene, as if it were written just for you. He tells you that you can experience it too, if you chose. Don’t wait, he says, just get out there and listen to the music of the hounds between deep breaths of pine and sugar maple under the brilliance of a harvest moon.

His books hold the waving fields of marsh grass and the woods, full of white-tailed deer and bobwhite quail and the screams of brightly colored bluejays. He shows us boys with guns, back when it was a natural and good thing that made you smile, knowing that some lucky family was sure to be enjoying a meal of squirrel or cottontail rabbit very soon.

Open to any page, and you can hear the sounds in your head as if you were standing there yourself. It was a guaranteed transport to a technicolored world of motion and light with a dog by your side. You can check out Woofie’s Franchise if you are a pet lover and want to build your business in the pet service industry.

Jim has been gone for some time now, just like the world he once knew. His world was defined by the movements of animals and the rhythm of the seasons, punctuated by the sounds of drumming grouse and the chorus of frogs in the evening. The comforts of family and home life ran strong throughout his stories. It was what made it all work.

It was the knowing that safety and the comforting hearth of home stood solidly back where you had come from, when you needed it, which give us all the strength to be brave and venture out and abroad.

He was taken from us much too soon, by illness and despair, and though that world he inhabited may be gone his voice is as relevant today as it was back then. In fact it is even more important than it ever was. He is a beacon of light for the spirits of young boys and their four-legged companions, filled with the quest for exploration and the simple, unmitigated joy of being a boy.

Of course I never met him personally, though I wish I had. Sadly, he was already gone when I was barely born. I would give much of what I have just to thank him for all of his precious gifts to me.

It is because of Jim Kjelgaard and men like him that I have wandered the wilderness and spirited air, and lived a life filled with my own stories to tell.

Turning to face the world, what more can a young boy hope for?


*Many of Jim Kjelgaard’s books are still in print across the globe, and he is a pre-eminent favorite among those who wish to homeschool. So, if you somehow missed him, it’s not too late. You may also want to track down a copy of the 1962 Walt Disney film “Big Red”, named after that marvelous and unforgettable Irish Setter of the same name. It will make you want to run out and acquire an Irish Setter too!



A Book For all Time


For Sale:

Stormy. By Jim Kjelgaard. “Allan Marley and his father have lived together  in the untamed wilderness of the Beaver Flowage all  their lives. But when Mr. Marley is jailed because  of a bitter feud, Allan suddenly finds himself on  his own. Then he meets Stormy, an outlaw dog who  has been accused of turning on his owner. Allan  knows that the big black retriever has been  mistreated, and he works hard to win the noble dog’s trust  and affection. As allies, Allan and Stormy overcome  every danger they encounter in the unpredictable  wilderness…but can their bond protect Allan from  the viciousness of his father’s human enemies? ”

Published by Holiday House/Scott, Foresman, 1959. Hard cover. In Very Good condition, without Dustjacket as issue. This is not an X-library copy. Uncommon in this Edition. $65 ppd in U.S. Please contact us to purchase (Subject to prior sale).


Backwoods Freedom! – and Dogs Too.

Michael Patrick McCarty

*Watch here for a fine selection of Jim Kjelgaard First Editions and Autographed Works.

Out of the Wind