Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do You Collect Books?

I read a lot of books, and I buy a lot of books, but I never really thought seriously about collecting books per se. I mean, I've collected the occasional series, manga especially, but I've never really collected just to collect.

Awhile ago, I saw the movie "Definitely, Maybe," which featured a character who collected various editions of Jane Eyre, because she loved the book and because she was looking for a particular lost volume of her own, given to her by her late father. I loved this nerdy, bookish touch in an otherwise by-the-numbers romantic comedy and it reminded me that for a while when I was a teenager I had my own collection of old copies of Jane Eyre. It was my favorite novel (still is) and although my collection reached a grand total of three copies I still treasure those books.

(The week after I saw the movie, I saw a pretty illustrated edition of Jane Eyre on sale for cheap at a local used bookstore and now I have four!)

As I was setting up my new home office over the past few days, I noticed that I've developed a little collection of signed books- about 50 so far- that would be nice to gather together on the bookcase I have in the room. I organized them alphabetically and they look nice! I'm sure I'll continue to add to that little collection as time goes on.

When I attended ReaderCon this past summer, I went to a session on collecting, starring a man who's collected hardcover first editions of every Hugo Award winner. He talked about the thrill of the chase, dealing with ex-library copies and other pitfalls and pleasures of collecting. I thought it was funny but then he sort of inspired me, and I thought about starting a collection of first editions of Booker Prize winners, since I love the Booker Prize. Some quick searches on online showed that, apart from a few early winners that cost in the hundreds, it's actually a relatively accessible collection to start, with many winners available for under $50 in good-quality condition. I have a few- I have Wolf Hall, The Blind Assassin and Possession, and I actually bought another the other day, Life of Pi, in anticipation of an upcoming local event with Yann Martel.

What do you think? Do you collect books? Do you want to?