September 15, 2015

The Adventure Continues

As you might know, one of my favourite places in Baltimore is The Book Thing, the place where you can get as many free books as you can carry… in you book bag or in your tractor trailer!  I hadn’t been in a few weeks, mainly because it’s not air-conditioned and it’s in a one-level, flat-roofed warehouse and it’s hot enough to make you pass out. Not a fun experience. Of course, it’s not heated, either, but I can deal with that!

As I poked around, I had a feeling I might find something good. As I turned to look at the one odd shelf of biographies, I spotted a zebra in the midst of all of the books. image

It was the famously zebra-covered book, I Married Adventure. But this one had part of its original book cover, something which I’d never seen before. ith thIMG_5294

Actually, as I have since found out, this is the back cover of the book. Of course, I realized immediately that only half of the cover was with the book, and I searched around for the other part of it, to no avail. Both of the inner flaps were there, as well as the back cover, not even attached to anything.

When I got home, I did a little research and found what the original cover looked like. There’s barely anything to let you know about the sublime cover lurking below the blue and green. image

There is another cover, which is much less awful, and was from one of the early editions. image

The newest editions feature a completely different cover, but still with the same image of Martin & Osa Johnson on the cover. image

In searching, I found that there was a movie made of their adventures, and because the Johnsons were film-makers, much of their own footage was used. image

Earlier this year, on the 75th anniversary of the original release of the movie, it was re-issued on DVD with this cover. image

And then to keep things really classy, there’s an advert that Osa did for Blatz beer!image

The Book Thing is one of the many things I love about Baltimore!


  1. None of that joy on a Kindle! Three cheers for books.

  2. Hello Meg,
    Thank you for your great post about Osa Johnson's I Married Adventure!
    Conrad Froehlich
    Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum

  3. I can't wait to visit this place the day i ever get to Baltimore! oddly I have never seen the book's dustjacket!!!

  4. can't wait to visit + what a simply fascinating pair

  5. Oh Meg you are so fortunate to have the Book Thing!!
    You know how much I want that book!!

    The Arts by Karena
    Featuring India Hicks!

  6. Hi Meg, Probably no one recognizes the jacket is because the binding is so striking that the insipid jacketed ones are passed by.

  7. A great book indeed! And a true find!
    I have a book with the original cover. My husband purchased it for me knowing I wanted it. The title of the book is so appropriate for us that it actually deserves a space in our home! LOL!

  8. Is this not a coincidence. I was at an estate sale and found a copy of I Married Adventure. The Books on the shelf in the case looked as if they had not been touched in decades. The cover has suffered some, the title on the spine has flaked away due to age-- it was not free I paid two dollars for it -- but thrilled. Meg How many copies do you Own??? I do not have a Book thing and well, I have been looking at estate sales ever since you first mentioned the book . Perhaps I may come across another copy I will keep my eyes open for such a thing. I blame temperature and humidity and Florida bugs to the condition my copy came from the Baylor estate-- yupp that Baylor!!!

    1. Well done! I have two copies now, and then one of the giraffe book.

  9. Does the Book Thing know how desirable this book is?? Do they take bets as to how long it will stay on the shelf? LOL I know you gave a copy away back in 2007-- but do you know the number of copies printed a history, well researched ha! would be appreciated. Why are not more book covers as inspired should we design our own book cover apps to suit our lack of luck har har.

  10. Oh, My! All the garish glory of those "forbidden" books in the grown-up section of the library! And the spine-thrill of those moments when the "Movietone News" reel gave way in the dusty dark Saturday-afternoon theater to Jungle Jim and the Leopard Woman---will he escape for yet another week, or will he get out of the Cock-a-Doody car? These are magnificent memories of that library Promised Land I aspired to in those years of the small chairs and being relegated to the Little Golden Books and the wonderful vanilla adventures of Pooh and Maida and Understood Betsy.

    How I longed for those wonderful daredevil pursuits lurking just there inside those inviting covers---they were like the territory between the smash-pow of comic books and our neighbor's coveted National Geographic, and I LONGED to get my hands on one. Even hiding my small round self in that far-back corner with a filched copy of BURMA SURGEON or a Frank Buck, whilst Mrs. Ashford waited on the long line of after-school returns and check-outs, could never last long enough to get into those glorious exploits.

    I've never heard of the famous Zebra Cover, nor of this apparently-famous pair, though she does bear quite the Ethel Merman fervor over that Blatz, but the covers---oh, the gaudy, overdone, too-much--sugar-for-a-dime covers! Those would have called to me from the farthest, dimmest, hottest depths of that big warehouse, way back beyond the piles of Shalimar-scented Sackville-Wests and beneath that stack of drugstore detectives. I think they'd have shone like beacons to some personal homing device implanted on those long-ago Saturday afternoons at the shoot-'em-ups and kindled with every library and bookstore visit.

    What a Saturday-morning treat, yea these many decades later, and what a lovely memory of my young, adventure-hungry small-town self.

    Thank you!


  11. Hello, I volunteer for Lab Rescue of Maryland, DC & Virginia I am sure we can find you a wonderful dog. The website is

  12. What a great stack of books! Even Sister Parrish and Mary Randolph Carter are there. They lounge on my book shelves also--after, of course, I have read them. Not quite the bargain you found, but I lucked up on my copy of I Married Adventure for the princely sum of $5, and I enjoyed every word. I'd most certainly look for the Book Thing if I ever get to Baltimore. It sounds like a real treasure trove.

  13. Today is October 2 and I purposely went back to your blog on this date. I think you comment about slapping someone who was clutching a mason jar was a bit harsh. Maybe it wasn't your style but it must have been hers 20 something or not. Maybe the things I collect would not thrill you but I almost float when I find something I love. Just my opinion but I guess my opinion should count too.


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