Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book multiples.

A few weeks ago, I bought the first two Anne of Green Gables books in these editions. (No, I'm not reading them yet, but I will.) I took my thrift store copies to a Little Free Library. I've been doing that some this year...buying prettier editions of books that I already own. I think it's my way of still getting that awesome book-buying feeling without actually making my to-read pile any larger. :)
{Next on my list of victims is my cheap B&N copy of Northanger Abbey. When I first started reading Austen, I bought most of her books in the cheapest editions I could find, and I'm sort of regretting that now. This is the loveliest edition of Northanger Abbey I've ever seen.}
Getting those new copies of the Anne books made me think about books that I own multiples of and why I own more than one copy of them. In general, I'm pretty good about getting rid of my old edition of a book if I buy a new one...but there are a few exceptions. Mostly because I'm a sentimental sap when it comes to books. :)
Here's how I rationalize owning more than one copy of these books...

Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie. I bought the Borders edition on the right years ago, and it's a pretty nice copy in itself. Then last year I found the gorgeous Puffin edition at the bargain bookstore and couldn't pass it up...I mean, it has pirate ships! :) I had every intention of donating my first copy, but then I realized that it has two extra short stories that aren't included in the Puffin one. So, I obviously had to keep it. :)

Emma, by Jane Austen. I bought the B&N copy when I first started reading Austen. Emma has been one of my favorite of her novels right from the start. I remember reading it on the floor of my grandma's back porch, leaning against the dryer, because that was the quietest place in the house...I had never been exposed to the story before and I couldn't believe certain plot twists. :) A couple of years ago I bought the Penguin Threads edition, because I'm an embroiderer and it's just so beautiful. I can't seem to get rid of the old copy, though, because it's the first one I read.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Even though P&P is my favorite Austen novel and one of my absolute favorite books ever, for years I only owned one copy of it. A couple of years ago, we randomly stopped by a little bookshop and I found a 1945 edition that was beautiful (despite the smudged cover)...for only $1.

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. This is one of my favorite books, and confession: I own four copies. The tacky paperback came first (I haven't gotten rid of it yet because it was my first copy, but eventually I might be able to let it go...maybe someday I'll give it to someone who has never read it before?). Then the little green copy from 1946, which still has the original owner's name and address written inside (I'm a sucker for that sort of thing). After that was the clothbound Penguin one. It was lovely...and I convinced myself I needed it because the 40s one felt a little fragile to read and I was planning on donating the paperback (and you see how that worked out). The gorgeous 1940s copy with the creepy engraving illustrations came last...I found it for $2 at Goodwill.

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. These are my favorite books. I collect them because I have this irrational fear of something awful happening to all of my copies and never being able to read these stories again (because apparently in this nightmare Amazon and bookstores are extinct?). I don't even know...just don't take my Narnia books away from me. I own multiples of all but Prince Caspian, The Magician's Nephew, and The Last Battle. The Silver Chair is probably my favorite, and coincidentally (or not), I have three copies of that one. (And yes, the white 1970s ones are probably the ugliest editions ever, but I'm so attached to them and hello, original publication order!!)

The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis. I already had a copy of The Great Divorce (I used to love that one more than The Screwtape Letters, but now I can't decide). Then I bought that big bind-up, mostly for Mere Christianity, but also for the other works it included. Later, in the last year of high school, I studied The Screwtape Letters, so the homeschool program sent another copy with my textbooks. I kept the two individual copies because they're easier to carry around than the big collection.

A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd. I received an ARC of this lovely book earlier this year. I recently bought a copy because I had planned on buying one before I got the proof copy. The hardcover is just so cute (it's yellow and purple- my two favorite colors!) and I wanted to support Natalie and her awesome book (seriously, it's my favorite book I've read this year). Plus, I know there probably isn't much difference between an "uncorrected proof" and the real deal, but I'm curious, anyway. :)

Christy, by Catherine Marshall. I read this book for the first time at my granny's house. When I was a teenager, she had gotten to the point where she couldn't live by herself, so the family alternated weeks staying with her. Granny didn't have tons of books (well, novels anyway), so I had always noticed this little paperback on the shelf. One week while we were there I finally picked it up and read it. I'm glad I have this book, even though it's a cheesy TV edition (no, I haven't seen the series but I will after I reread the book) and the paper cover has actually come loose from the binding, because it reminds me of my grandma. Since the paperback is in such rough shape, I picked up a hardcover copy at the library book sale last year.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling. With the exception of these first two books, I had collected the entire HP series in hardcovers as they were released. I owned these in paperbacks, but I went on a mission to complete my series. I found the two first edition hardcovers at thrift stores...but of course I can't part with my old paperbacks. I've had them forever and they were my first introduction to the HP world.

When We Were Very Young, by A.A. Milne. While I much prefer the actual Winnie the Pooh books, Milne's two volumes of children's poetry are pretty good, too. I had the pink copy first, and I've kept it because it matches the covers of the rest of my series. I found the vintage copy (from 1933 or 1936, I think?) in the thrift store and it is so, so pretty. (And it has an inscription inside. Sold.)

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers. I bought the adorable little vintage reproduction copy years and years ago. (I want to eventually collect them all in that format because they're so charming.) Later, at Goodwill (are you starting to see a theme here?) I found this 1960s copy of the first two books. (The cover is dirty and water damaged, but the pages are in perfect condition.) Even though I already owned the first book, I didn't have the second one, so it worked out nicely.

I told you I was hopelessly sentimental. :) Bookshelf space is precious, but holding on to books full of memories is totally worth it.

Do you own multiple copies of certain books? Why?


  1. I go thrifting a lot and over the years I've gotten a number of multiples in my book collection. :) I really should keep a running list with me, but since I own 700+ books compiling a list would be pretty impractical.

    1. It seems like thrift stores are responsible for a lot of my multiples, too! :) Maybe you could keep a searchable list on your phone somehow, so you could type in a title to see if you owned it or not? I'm not a cell phone person so I don't know if such a thing is possible, but it seems like it should be. :) My collection has grown to about 500 books, but I have a pretty good memory when it comes to which books I own.

  2. I think the book I have the most copies of is Pride and Prejudice- I had the Bethany House paperback and then one year for my birthday I got one of those gorgeous Barnes and Noble "Jane Austen: Seven Novels" copy. Then, we've had people give us boxes of books..and somehow P&P always managed to be in their. So I think we own four copies now. :)

    I really need to get rid of some of my books though- I have so many that I got free for review but ended up not liking enough to keep, so I'm hoping to replace those with some classics.

    1. That's definitely a good book to own multiple copies of. :) I know what you mean...I've been trying to go through my shelves every couple of months and weed out books that I don't want anymore. I've donated a couple of review books this year, too!

  3. Fantastic post!! I can totally relate. Like you, I get these irrational fears that somehow, someday all the bookstores will be destroyed and I will have to solely rely on my own personal library for the rest of my life. :) Obviously, in a situation like that, one would want to have as many copies as possible of old favorites!! I've got multiples of the Narnia books as well - three copies each of Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle.

    This may sound a little egotistical, but while we're on the subject of Narnia, have you read my short-story Sherlock Holmes case involving the characters and events from The Magician's Nephew? I just thought you might like to read it. If you're interested, you can find it on my website. I was reading the line in Narnia about "Mr. Sherlock Holmes was still living in Baker Street..." and got the idea for a Narnia-Sherlock case. :) Anyway, great post!

    1. Obviously we have to continue to build our personal libraries to prepare for this awful bookstore-less dystopian future! :)

      No, I haven't read your story, but it definitely sounds interesting! I'll have to check it out. :)

  4. Love (lovelove) the Penguin copy of Emma, I want it. ;) It's so bright, pretty and colorful and of course I think Natalie's is darling. Guess, after so much gushing, I should read it. :D

    1. I love that copy of Emma, too. It also has a really nice raised texture on the "embroidered" sections. Penguin is pretty great at creating awesome book designs! :)

      You should definitely read Natalie's book!


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