Monday, October 23, 2006
A Room Without Books....
Okay, I read a lot.
Okay, I've got about 30 boxes of books downstairs in the crawlspace that I have no room for, and my #1 criteria when we are finally about to buy a house is "lots of room for books."
Our budget doesn't allow me all the new books I'd like. I can't quite bring myself to use the library, because I hate to take a book back. I don't just read, I re-read, over and over again. I do a lot of shopping at our local used book store, but it's always agonizing when I've discovered a series and read up to the point where I have to wait for the next one to come out plus several months for it to show up used. I also have a terrible time picking books to turn in for credit. I've kicked most of my packrat habits, but I just can't shake hoarding books.
One of the problems is when one's best-loved books go out of print. As a teenager I fell in love with Jo Clayton's Diadem series, it's spinoffs, and the Skeen trilogy. Ms. Clayton succumbed to cancer many years ago, and there's no whisper of republishing the series. Not only have I got all my original Clayton paperbacks, but I was fortunate to find duplicates helping someone clean out their storage area. Some of these I've literally read to pieces.
Then there's fun things like authors (or their estates) republishing a manuscript in its original, un-edited form. A great example of this is Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. The original version was very long (for the time) and, well, racy might be a bit mild for the time. This books was so influential that it accidently started a religion! After Mr. Heinlein's death, his wife Virginia found the carbon of the original manuscript decided if was much better as he wrote it. One thing led to another, and the unabridged version was released. I have the "as written edition", and not one but two copies of the "as originally published" version.
I've got my original boxed paperback set of C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia . Those really are falling apart, I've had them since 6th grade or so. I've also read the oversized omnibus edition my sister got me enough that I've had to repair the binding. We loved Narnia. My sister has a poster-sized map of Narnia that would be a collector's edition if we hadn't put stickers on it.
I've just realized that I could go on forever here, and my best-loved books wasn't even what I intended to write about today! Expect to see more book talk soon.
I'll leave you with a quote, generally attributed to Cicero:
A room without books is like a body without a soul.