Archive for the ‘Book Collecting’ Category

I haven’t read much in a while now, because I got into a reading slump for some reason, and then I started watching tennis, and this time of the year is always busy in the tennis calendar and I couldn’t get back to reading. But today, I looked at the most recent book I’m trying to read and then decided to post something.

I used to collect hardbacks once upon a time. I used to go to my favourite bookshop every Saturday evening and buy books, some of which were hardbacks. One of my favourite hardback editions was Everyman Library Editions. Everyman books were beautiful to look at and hold and a pleasure to read.

I think the first Everyman Library Edition I got was ‘The Tale of Genji‘ by Murasaki Shikibu. That is how I discovered Murasaki Shikibu, through a trip to the bookshop. She wasn’t famous then, but was known only in a small literary circle. These days she is a legend among literary fiction readers. I tried reading it a couple of times and got to the first 100 pages. Hoping to get back to it one day.

Later I got ‘Confessions‘ by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It was recommended to me by one of my first online friends and I got it years back. I just started reading it and it is very interesting. It must have been quite controversial during Rousseau’s time, because it is a confessional memoir, and Rousseau didn’t publish it during his lifetime.

First Love‘ was one of the first Ivan Turgenev books that I’d read, when I was in college. When I saw an Everyman edition of it, I couldn’t resist getting it.

I have read R.K.Narayan’s books as individual editions before, but when I saw an omnibus with his first four novels, how could I resist? I have read three of them before and they are very charming. I haven’t read ‘The Dark Room‘ yet.

I love stories set in the sea with ships and sailors and storms and so I couldn’t resist getting ‘Stories of the Sea‘. It has Ray Bradbury’s famous short story ‘The Foghorn‘, which is a beautiful story about a deep sea being.

I discovered three poetry collections with Chinese, Persian and Russian poetry and they looked so beautiful that I couldn’t resist getting them. I love the poetry of Li Bai, Wang Wei, Rumi and Maria Tsvetaeva and was hoping to read more poetry. I have dipped into these collections and they are nice. The Chinese collection is called ‘300 Tang Dynasty Poems‘ and it features all the greats and it is a classic.

Lolita‘ was gifted to me by one of my favourite friends. It is one of the books in this collection that I’ve actually read. Nabokov’s prose is beautiful but the book was hard to read because of the theme it covers. I discovered one of my favourite lines ever when I read it – “And the rest is rust and stardust.” It gave me goosebumps when I read it the first time. Still does.

I read Edmund Blunden’s First World War memoir ‘Undertones of War‘, and loved it, and so I decided to get Robert Graves‘ more famous memoir of the war, ‘Goodbye to All That‘. Have read the first few pages, and it was very good. Hoping to get back to it soon.

Last Christmas I got into a major Thomas Mann buying spree. ‘Joseph and his brothers‘ was regarded by Mann himself as his greatest work, but it had a complicated publishing history and was not easily available. I discovered that a new translation of this epic has come out recently and one of my friends helped me get it. It is the size of ‘War and Peace‘ and so definitely epic, and I don’t know when I’ll get to it, but I hope to, sometime.

So, that’s my Everyman Library collection 😊 These days I don’t collect books in a conscious way and I just get what I hope to read. Most of the time these days, it is Kindle editions, because there is no space at home.

Do you collect specific editions of books? Which is your favourite edition?

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