Friday 10 August 2007

Booking Through... some day or other...

I do wonder if I'll ever manage to do Booking Through Thursday on an actual Thursday... signs aren't good. But they say that any day can be Thursday, so far as Booking is concerned, and I couldn't resist this week's set topic. Here it is:

Do you have multiple copies of any of your books?
If so, why? Absent-mindedness? You love them that much? First Editions for the shelf, but paperbacks to read?
If not, why not? Not enough space? Not enough money? Too sensible to do something so foolish?

Being a twin, duplicates are a necessary feature of my everyday life. And there, dear reader, I may have found the world's worst excuse for buying too many books. What did I just say?! Too many books! Must wash my mouth out with soap.

It will probably surprise none of you to discover that I do have mutliple copies of some of my books. And not a small number. They fall into three rather specific categories, which are helpfully illustrated by photographs. The first is connected to Persephone Books; as you may remember, I've been a fan of their lovely books for a few years - and, as a complementary collection, I often buy earlier editions of their reprints. Only if they're cheap, mind. I may be book-mad, but I set myself some (very flexible) limits.

Category number two happens to be AA Milne - one of my favourite authors, especially when I was starting to buy books at an Olympic rate. Somehow I've managed to accumulate quite a few duplicates here, usuall
y because I like the covers, or the newer one is cheap, or I want to keep an uncut version of Michael and Mary, or Snow Books print a lovely new edition of one, or... you see, always a reason.

And the final category just happens to be... er... miscellaneous. Books I love.

Miss Hargreaves couldn't just possess one corner of my bookshelf, could she? And I bought a second copy of The Waves because my first fell apart, but I couldn't bring myself to throw away the first. Hostages to Fortune just kinda happened, and I 'needed' a second copy of Portraits because I'd scribbled notes in the other. The Mapp & Lucia series - well, I'd coveted the Folio editions for a while, but decided I couldn't afford them and collected the Black Swan paperbacks, but later found the Folio ones for, erm, not a huge amount of money...

My plea is guilty. Any one else want their crimes to be taken into consideration?


  1. So glad to know you're a Mapp and Lucia fan!! Those are particularly the books I have multiple copies of: reading/marking copies, good/clean copies to keep, inexpensive copies to collect and give away - plus, British editions for the covers. My others are American - the Moyer-Bell ones are the "good" copies. A friend gave me the (his?) boxed set. The Alan Furst espionage books are others I buy sale copies of to use as loaners. I know there are others but those are the ones that came most to mind.
    Looking forward to reading about your library experiences. Nancy (spouse of a retired academic librarian)

  2. Oh yes, multiple copies of Puck of Pook's Hill, Wind in the Willows, The Hobbit and so on. I can never resist an extra really nice copy of a favourite.

    I'm ashamed to admit I've never read any of the Mapp and Lucia series (I suspect I would like them) but I am a fan of E.F. Benson's ghost stories. Though it's many years since I read them, I seem to recall some beautifully atmospheric tales.

  3. How many of these books have you bought when I've been next to you, telling you it's a waste of money?

  4. You used the word 'crime'. Duplicate books do NOT fall into this category Simon, I am amazed at you....:)

    OK last count, 4 copies of The Secret Garden (different illustrators); 4 copies of Wind in the Willows (ditto reason) Duplicates of Dorothy Whipple and Mollie Panter Downes, Richmal Crompton, Noel Streatfield, Monica Dickens (to go with the latest Persephone editions); all Jane Austens in triplicate (Folio, lovely paperback and then tiny handbag size); Ditto Brontes; Lots of duplicate Edith Whartons (new and old Virago editions) so you are not alone!

  5. Too many books? If I didn't have my glasses on, I would have thought I was seeing things!

  6. Do you keep your duplicates all together, or do you shelve them according to publisher? Yes, I find this sort of minutiae interesting. If I have duplicates it is because I sometimes can't remember what I have (very bad of me, I know, but after a while only so much will fit in the brain it seems--and always better to err on the side of caution and get it just in case). I have duplicates of classics, but I have been slowly getting rid of the mass market editions and keeping the nice trade sized ones due to a lack of space. Oh, to have a bigger book room...I love those old Penguin editions by the way!

  7. Hi Danielle - I keep all my Persephones on a separate shelf, and my Woolfs on a separate shelf, and the Folio Mapp and Lucias stand along elsewhere - so the few duplicates that remain are kept next to each other!

  8. I love seeing all the photographic evidence of your multiple copies. I love those old Penguin orange and white covers and wish I owned some. Were those published in the 60s?


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