Tuesday, September 12, 2006

To Read or Not To Read

While I am not a serious collector of books, in the past couple of years I would say that I’ve graduated to amateur status. I’ve got a handful of nice limited and special editions, a few first editions, and quite a few autographed books around the house. In the past I’ve generally paid the lowest price for a book, then I started to prefer hardbacks as I’ve seen my paperbacks start to fall apart and my income increase, now I see limited or special editions and my mouth waters a bit and I will even consider a purchase if it’s not too high in cost.

But, I still believe books are for reading. I don’t have the space or income to support buying two copies of books – 1 for reading and 1 for keeping nice, shiny, and new (not to mention the reaction that might provoke from my wife). So, I do read these nice books that no serious self-respecting collector would. Am I alone out there?

Of course I’m gentler with these books than I might be with others and I’m certainly not going to travel with one. But neither will I have books on my shelf that are untouchable and unreadable. My books are my trophies, and I have to read that book to earn the trophy.

Yeah, I know that this post was a bit pointless, and bit about me showing off a couple of the books I’ve got (I know that many reading this have much more impressive stuff), but the main point was to address comments that may come in light of some of the reviews I’ll be posting in the near future from limited or special editions.


Danae said...

I dream of owning nice books. Right now I can't afford them, and in any case space in my room is limited and I'm leaving home....

...but one day I will have a job and if I am lucky/good at said job I will have a home and I will buy, of often as is feasible, nice books.

And then I will read those books. If I have those books in a less-nice format I will sell - or give away - the less-nice version.

It's not just that I agree with you - books should be read - but I'll admit to a mildly peurile pleasure in holding a nice book and reading it. (It's how I got through the original Shannara trilogy - the omnibus I'd borrowed was a hardcover with the author's signature.)

Anyway... I believe I will never have pristine and untouched books, just as I knew I would never leave my Barbies in the box. The answer is always "to read". :)

Frank J. said...

I once bought two copies of each book, keeping the hardcover new while wating for the paperback version to arrive in order to read the story.
Unfortunately, somehting along the way happened, I ran out of room in my house, causing me to box up so many copies that I don't any longer get a chance to view and enjoy. Last count I had approx. 8,000 volumes in my house, and a wife readt to divorce me, why don't they get it?
In any event I have been forced to become more selective in my purchases, only keeping the pristine versions of those books I know I will love.

Imani said...

I think it's wonderful that part of the way you treasure your books is to read them. There is nothing so sad as shelves and shelves of book whose owner has no intention of reading them.


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