A recent tweet from a friend:
suggests that it’s worth going into a little more detail as to what I do with the fancy, schmancy books I buy. Though I am generally being more restrained these days; living with a mortgage will do that to you. I s’pose it harkens back to the argument we often see with print (p) vs electronic (e) books; Look and feel vs bits and bytes.
As I’ve commented elsewhere, I have a kindle (version 2, US wifi only) which is now my primary reading device for all the stuff I used to buy in paperback. For example, I’m currently reading the Miles Vorkosigan series, the e versions of which I’ve bought via Baen (no DRM and all major formats supported). I’m reading a couple of books a week at the moment this way.
However, there are some books I’d like to read in a nicer edition. This might be long sought after items, or classic tales, or favoured authors. Despite my addiction to e, I also enjoy a nicely bound book; I have a bit of fetish for leather, limited editions, and signed copies (though I can’t decide whether I prefer signed or unsigned). These too, can be very addictive and I seem to have amassed a tidy collection of such. Recent arrivals include: John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar (Centipede Press, no.108 of 300), Carlos Zafon’s The Angel’s Game (Subterranean Press, no.200 of 750), and Arturo Perez-Reverte’s The Club Dumas (Subterranean Press, no.182 of 500).
All these books are kept on regular bookcases and do get dusty. I don’t keep them in a special cabinet nor handle them with gloves. It’s only a matter of time before I spill wine or coffee on one, and thereby adding to its uniqueness :-) I buy special editions because I like to read them; I like the feel of them in my hand and enjoy a good paper stock. Growing up, hardcovers were a rarity and even as a young man (old fart that I am now), I devoured lots and lots of science fiction, bought cheaply secondhand. These days I can afford hardcovers and I can afford to buy them new…some of the time anyway :-) Instead of buying lots of hardcovers, I’m buying a few nice ones.
No book is too special not to be read.
you should buy one of those frosted glass door bookshelves and protect these precioussssssss smeagol ;)
I’m sure I’ve seen them at Ikea
I already have 12 bookcases in my flat…I’m trying not to add more :-)
I just finished Angel’s Game two nights ago. I read it on my Kindle but it took me ages – not sure why. I liked it but not as much as Shadow of the Wind.
Since I’m a bit of a transient, the Kindle is a godsend to my shipping costs!
totally agree with your last line
Your attitude to your special eds is like my attitude to my fountain pens. I am a little careful with my $600 maki-e Danitrio fountain pen (eg I don’t lend it to just anybody) but I use it and enjoy its feel when I hold it.
Your fountain pens are a good comparison. We both buy nice things, so we can use them :-) Similarly, I am careful when showing my books to others.
The Martian chronicles – nice. :D
My partner has only child syndrome and finds it hard to share sometimes. When we were first together he would visibly hesitate before loaning me a book from his collection until… the day when he was reading whilst walking (a habit he picked up from me) and walked straight into a telegraph poll and nearly tore the middle clear off the hardcover. After that he had no one to blame but himself.
I am a strong believer in using the nice things in your life. Otherwise what are you waiting for?