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Essential Titles That Read Well Through Ages

February 20, 1993|KATHY BRYANT

A good functional library in a home could take up as few as three shelves, said Marianne Mackenzie, library assistant in the Main Street Branch of the Huntington Beach Library.

"If there are children in the home, the World Book Encyclopedia is a good beginning for a library, along with the World Almanac, which can also be used as the annual supplement to the World Book. They are easy and good for all ages."

"Other reference books you can use are a good dictionary, atlas, home repair book, Bartlett's 'Quotations,' a thesaurus and a medical encyclopedia," she said.

Mackenzie also recommends a secretarial handbook for a guide to writing business and social letters, an etiquette book and a manual of prescription drugs and their effects.

An annual movie/video guide is also a good choice.

After the basics, books are usually bought depending on the reader's interests, subjects such as cooking, gardening, art and so forth.

Children's books that are particularly good reading are the Newbery Medal winners, distinguished books of American literature, and the Caldecott Medal winners, distinguished American picture books, she said.

Some designers buy books according to color and shape to give rooms a particular warmth--an approach eschewed by true bibliophiles, who are always looking for the perfect volume to add to their collection.

"You can learn a lot about people by looking at the books they own," Mackenzie said.

Buying fiction is up to the individual, but libraries are a good place to keep up on the latest bestsellers. That way money can be spent on books that are important to have at your fingertips when you have a question or need information quickly.

As Walt Disney said: "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life."

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