My penchant for used bookstores in general aside, I also have a weakness for buying duplicate copies of the books I love. Generally I will buy a duplicate copy if I find it in hardcover somewhere. Other times I’ll buy a duplicate simply because I like the edition.
Let’s have a look, shall we?
- 2 copies of A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, one mass-market paperback (MPB) and one hard-cover (HC).
- 2 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, one older MPB and one HC.
- 2 copies of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, one tade paperback (TPB) and one Modern Library mini-HC.
- 2 copies of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, one old MPB and one old, battered HC (these duplicates are probably the most pathetic, since I haven’t read the book yet. But the HC looks nice on the shelf).
Add to this various duplicate university books and text-books, resulting from either my wife and I taking the same class, or my premature purchase of a novel for a class and the prof using a different edition (it sounds kind of silly, but it’s nice if your page numbers correspond with the prof’s).
I guess the above doesn’t look too bad, but it gets worse. Much worse. I call the following my “Tolkien Collection”:
6 editions of Lord of the Rings (various editions, various bindings).
7 editions of The Hobbit
3 editions of The Silmarillion
(Plus a couple of biographies, critical works, maps, and the complete 12-volume History of Middle Earth).
The sad thing is that a couple of years ago I decided that collecting really doesn’t make sense. All a person can really do with a collection of any kind is look at it. Collections aren’t very functional. So it’s starting to bother me that I have all these various editions when I only need one, or at the most two. I don’t know why dupliactes have started to bother me–I can barely stand to have more than one pair of shoes. It may have something to do with the recognition that I have a lot of clutter in my life. Anyway, I’m thinking about auctioning off some of the Tolkien stuff on Ebay (at least the stuff that wasn’t given to me).