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Archive for the ‘Book Collecting’ Category

There was a package with books inside which I got a few years back, which I had stuffed in a remote corner of the house, out of sight, because there was no other place to keep it, at that time. Today, I took that package out, and looked at what was inside. I was very surprised and excited at what I found!

I always knew that I had got Claire Tomalin’s biography of Charles Dickens sometime. So, it was nice to see it again. I read the first few pages and it is beautiful. So tempted to drop everything and continue reading it. But I am in the middle of German Literature Month and so this will have to wait.

I’m very excited about the Fitzgerald collection. It has all the novels and many of his short stories. I’ve read The Great Gatsby before. I’ve always wanted to read Tender is the Night. So inspired to get started on this. Have always loved Fitzgerald’s prose.

I was happy to see Dubliners in the James Joyce collection. I haven’t read that yet. I can read it now. I’ve read Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Hope to read Ulysses someday. Just checked the first few pages of Finnegan’s Wake in this volume. It looks unreadable. I don’t know whether I can get through 500 pages of this.

The Lewis Carroll collection was the biggest surprise for me. I don’t know why I got it. I already have beautiful editions of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I like Carroll but I’m not a passionate fan like other readers are. But when I browsed the book, it immediately pulled me in. There is a two novel series called Sylvie and Bruno which I’ve never heard of before, which looks very appealing. Carroll’s poetry is very beautiful and readable. And there is one story in the book, which has a mathematical puzzle at the end of every chapter. It looks very fascinating! Why didn’t I know about this before?

I don’t know which book I’ll start first. The Dickens biography and Lewis Carroll are pulling me right now. But I’m so happy that I found these treasures today. As the old story goes, sometimes we search for treasure through the whole world, and at the end, we find it in our own garden. Life is endlessly surprising 😊

Do you like finding surprising treasures in your own home? Do you like these writers? Have you read some of these books?

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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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