Thursday, February 26, 2009

Booking Through Thursday--Collectibles

Here's today's Booking Through Thursday question, entitled "Collectibles":
  • Hardcover? Or paperback?
  • Illustrations? Or just text?
  • First editions? Or you don’t care?
  • Signed by the author? Or not?
I don't have many collectible books. I did post about my one nice copy of Jane Eyre, from 1857, here and here. I love hardcover books, and I like first editions. I like beautiful illustrations, and I'm thrilled to get an author to sign a book. But these are just aesthetic things that I don't truly care about, when it comes down to it. I choose books because I want to read them, and if I can't find an edition that is aesthetically pleasing, I don't really mind.

That said, I'm happy to go to the Huntington Library in Pasadena and while away a couple of hours looking at the rare books and manuscripts, some of which are truly amazing. They have the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (c.1410); a Gutenberg Bible (c.1455), and a bunch of lovely early Shakespeare.

I do have some pet peeves as to cover art. For example, I'm not a big fan of the "movie" editions of books. And I'd rather have a nice, heavyweight paperback than a mass market paperback, mostly because they're more durable.


Anonymous said...

I'm not really a collector, I'm a reader. I've been asked the paperback vs. hardback question so many times so I'm not doing a separate post for BTT this week. Unless otherwise stated, or gifts, I only buy trade paperbacks. they are easier to carry and lug around. I also like the look of books in even sizes on my bookcases. :)

Gentle Reader said...

matt--I second that--I'm a reader, not a collector. LOL about the even sizes of books on your shelves--you are probably much neater than I am :)

Jeane said...

I don't like movie images on the covers of books, either. I collect my books to read over and over, so I don't go out and buy the expensive ones- but at the same time I love beautiful leather bindings and linen paper... but it's just a dream to own a library full of those.

claire said...

I love hardcovers and trade paperbacks but not mass market, too.

Bybee said...

Paperback, but sometimes, I want to read the book so badly, I can't resist hardback.

Just text is fine. Illustrations are gravy.

I tried to be a collector, but I love reading too much.

Back when I was a collector, I got some signed copies by Updike, McMurtry, Tyler and Amy Hempel. I'm happy with those; I don't need more.

Gentle Reader said...

Jeane--My dream library would be full of the most beautiful books, too! But I'm happy with the hodge-podge I have :)

Claire--the mass market paperbacks are so flimsy, and usually they are so much less attractive :)

Bybee--I find that the only things I buy in hardback are books for my book group, because I just can't wait for paper. Otherwise, it's mostly paper here, too :)