I have really collected a lot of books post marriage, primarily because I moved to a big city which has quite a few second hand shops apart from the regular ones. For quite some time now, going to a bookstore and searching for books that I feel I can read has become a very boring process. New books that keep appearing on the shelves don’t really seem very alluring anymore unless one is in the mood for a particular type of genre and even then finding a book which looks worth reading is becoming more and more rare.
A few weeks back I saw a man selling these old Reader’s Digest Condensed books on the road for a very nominal prize and I thought it might be a good idea to buy one considering I will get 4 books for the price of 1. Plus, the older versions also had really cute illustrations to go with the stories. Obviously I loved the books and decided to look up a few more the next time I went shopping. It turns out that most old/second-hand hardcover books are actually cheaper than the paperbacks because nobody wants to buy them anymore! I think it is probably due to the fact that most people are now reading books on the go and carrying a heavy hardcover book just doesn’t make sense. I on the other hand love the hardcover books and I realize that it makes better sense for someone like me who loves to collect books to start paying more attention to the publications as well. Someday, when I am old I would love to sit in a library surrounded by beautiful books which only add to the overall reading experience.
I understand that the hardcover editions of the new books will be expensive but I wish they made them pretty enough to justify the price. One book that I desperately want someone to bring out as a hardbound, illustrated cover will be Jeffrey Archer’s short stories. His new novel is being printed on dirt cheap paper and is really not lovely to look at but then it becomes considerably light on the pocket and makes great business sense.
A few of the books on my wishlist now are beautifully illustrated The Grimm’s Fairy tales by Calla Publications, Arabian Nights also by Calla publications and the Reader’s Digest Classics in hardcover which are a part of their ‘World’s Best Reading’ Series.
I managed to find a bargain on the Reader’s Digest publication of the ‘ The last of the Mohicans’ and I am absolutely in love with this book. The books from this series are extremely hard to come by and I feel really lucky to have found one in a forgotten corner of an old bookshop.
With beautiful illustrations ..
Those illustrations just give these books a little something more. They don’t overwhelm your senses as in a comic book but add a sort of magical window into the author’s mind. I know it sound a tad bit sentimental but I really feel I am unable to express the charm of these books for me.
Penguin has also come out with its own version of the classics in extremely beautiful and gay Hardbound volumes, but I am not sure they carry any illustrations inside. Plus, some of them are really light colors and I worry that they may become dirty with constant handling.
Another set of eye catching publications comes from the Folio Society. Their books are not available in India and to tell you the truth carry an exorbitant prize but are really beautiful nonetheless. Apart from the Fairy tales and a few other titles like ‘The Origin of the Species’, the other titles are just not something that I would call a ‘must-have’s’ but maybe they are catering to a different demographic.
I feel every serious book collector must make an effort to collect beautiful works. If you are reading this put up a picture of any beautiful books you have.