Wednesday, February 10, 2010
On owning multiple copies
I’m sure I’m not the only person who owns more than one copy of my favourite books. Sometimes it’s because I find a more attractive copy than the one I already own. Sometimes it’s because I buy an omnibus (which can be awkward to read because of the size but it was the only way to get hold of the books at the time. My Barbara Pym omnibus is a case in point). Sometimes it’s because I buy a beautiful Folio Society or Persephone or Virago edition of something I already own just because the newer book is beautiful to look at & hold (Folio editions of my favourite historical biographies, Nancy Mitford, A S Byatt’s Possession). Sometimes it’s because I’m collecting a series like the Persephone Classics even though I already have the original grey Persephones. Sometimes it’s to replace an ancient, well-loved copy that’s falling apart but I can’t part with it because of the associations of where or when I first read it (Jane Eyre & Wuthering Heights, The Daughter of Time, Testament of Youth, The Return of the Soldier). Sometimes it’s because I want to read the introduction or new notes (pretty much any classic novel). At the moment I’m loving the new OUP World’s Classics & have quite unnecessarily bought extra copies of some Austen & Bronte novels. Sometimes it’s because I forgot I owned the book in the first place (Frances Partridge’s Memories). Do you have the same habit? What’s your excuse?