Monday, December 21, 2009

Books to treasure

Recently I splurged on some books (monthly book budget be damned) that I'm considering my Christmas present to myself. I actually blame Frances of Nonsuch Book completely for these since it was because of her mentioning them on her blog a couple of months ago, that I began to lust after them. I had been happy in my ignorance but once I knew they existed, I couldn't help myself.

What are they? The specially designed cloth-bound Penguin Classics. There are 20 in total (10 from last year, and 10 from this year) but I'm happy with my small collection of them. Especially as they're a little bit hard to get a hold of. It seems that Waterstone's have the exclusive online rights to this year's set, at least for the time being, but their international shipping costs are completely ridiculous. But from last year's set, I found a couple on Amazon, got another 3 from The Book Depository, and then just last week I managed to find one from this year's set at a bookstore in Tokyo! I don't really want all 20 of them since a couple that I've read, I didn't care for and have no desire to treasure. The Picture of Dorian Gray for one. Plus there are others I'm not sure I'd ever want to read, like The Odyssey.  But I definitely wouldn't mind a few more and it seems that this year's set will be more widely available later next year so maybe I'll be able to pick up a couple more then. I would really love to get my hands on one of the copies of Madame Bovary from the previous set but unfortunately it's not even available through online used sellers. Not that I could find anyway. As it is, it's a pretty set of 6 books, so I'll just be content to admire these. The picture doesn't do them justice.  They are truly lovely books and really do look so nice lined up on the shelf.

Four of these are books I love, while two are ones I didn't entirely love when I read them, in one case many many years ago, but I thought they deserved a second chance.  Can you guess which are which?

Have you ever bought a pretty edition of a book you'd already read, to treasure?

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.


  1. I am fully willing to assume the responsibility for your gorgeous new book booty, book temptress that I am. :) They feel great don't they? I almost don't want to read these editions for fear something might mar them. Silly but the truth. So happy for you! Enjoy!

  2. I'm guessing you didn't like Wuthering Heights, as so many readers hate it. But it's my favourite of the lot. I also want to collect the Brontës and Austens in that edition, but would it be a sin to have multiple copies of them all? Do you have other copies? Which ones and what editions and how many copies, if you don't mind? I'm really curious, as I'm also coveting these but very guiltily so.

  3. I'm not sure of your tastes, but 'S & S' and 'Jane Eyre' are the two I didn't really care for...

  4. I want these books so bad! Every time I look at them I squeal. So I'm going to stop looking at them now because I have purchased too many books for myself recently.

  5. Since I know how much you love Jane Austen, I'll immediately eliminate her 3 from the 2 that are getting a 2nd chance. And I'm almost positive you recently gave WH another chance, so I'll say that's one of those 2. I'm not sure about the other one, but I'll guess that you love "Jane Eyre" and needed to give "Tess" another chance. Btw, I love every one of the 6.

    And I have bought a pretty edition of a book I've already read. More than once! :)

  6. What a beautiful collection! Frances is responsible for some of my latest purchases also. Because of her I bought both editions she featured of A Christmas Carol. She has great taste. Happy reading.

  7. I have a couple of the books from this collection - they are just stunning books. I also recently bought another copy of Pride and Prejudice because it was just too beautiful to leave in the shop!

  8. You ahve 3 Jane Austens, so now the rest fo your Jane Austen books won't ever match them (that's the kind of thing that would throw my bookish OCD into turmoil)! I can't guess which ones you might not be in love with, maybe Wuthering Heights?

  9. Beautiful covers! I hadn't heard of this collection, but they certainly look like books to treasure.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  10. Those books are just gorgeous. I'm not in a financial place where I can afford pretty editions yet, but someday! I daydream about owning a Folio Society book :P

  11. Those are beautiful! I think you were completely justified in your purchases. :-)

    The only books I can think of that I've bought in nicer editions (but not nearly as lovely as these) are The Red Tent and The Kite Runner. But still, they're only paperbacks, not gorgeous hardcovers like these.

    And of course, my favorite one is my favorite book - Jane Eyre. (gasp) I just might have to see if I can find that one for myself.

  12. There are a few books out there that I would love to buy again because of the covers. Unfortunately, I can't justify the cost right now. Maybe someday . . . Enjoy your new books, Nat!

  13. Frances - They do feel great! And I know what you mean about not really wanting to read these ones but just admire them looking so lovely on the shelves. I might have to try to pick up a couple more if I can find them.

    claire - No I actually quite liked Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff and Cathy drove me nuts sometimes but I just loved the atmosphere of the Moors that permeates the book. However, I wasn't a big fan of Jane Eyre when I read it.

    I only have Penguin or Oxford paperback copies of all of Austen's novels and some of the Brontës. I used to have an extra Pride & Prejudice and another I think but they got given away before one of our moves, so it's just one paperback copy of each title. So there's nothing wrong with having pretty 'keeper' copies as well, right? At least that's what I'm telling myself. It's an investment for my someday dream home library! ;)

    Bluestocking - Thanks, and sorry I didn't get a chance to visit your Mailbox Monday post. I'll do better next time.

    Tony - I love all of Austen's novels. S&S isn't my favourite but I still really like it. Correct for Jane Eyre though. I didn't care for it when I read it either but I think I may have to give it another chance someday.

    Ash - They're so pretty! You have better willpower than I do. I had pretty much the same reaction when I first found out about them and I couldn't help myself!

    Teresa - Almost. I finally read Wuthering Heights for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. It's Jane Eyre that I didn't really care for.
    I read Tess in my teens, and obviously wasn't ready for it then so I'm actually looking forward to trying it again someday.

  14. Vasilly - Frances always seems to make me lust after some book or other! Not at all good for my wallet but I figure there are worse things to covet than beautiful books!

    Karen - They really are lovely, aren't they? I'm curious which edition of Pride and Prejudice it was that was "too beautiful to leave in the shop!" :P

    Jodie - I do know what you mean and actually thought about that a bit before buying but I'm hoping optimistically that they'll do the rest of the Austens eventually. I'd love a complete set. Even if not though, these were too lovely to pass up.

    Anna - I definitely plan to hang on to these and admire them for some time to come.

    Nymeth - I can understand that. These are about the cost of a regular hardback book so I somehow managed to justify it to myself. The Folio books are gorgeous! And there are some beautiful collector's editions out there that I'd love to have but that are considerably more expensive. Like you said, maybe someday.

    Lesley - I recently got another copy of a Murakami novel because I liked the different cover, but I haven't done that very often. If Jane Eyre is your favourite book, then I think this edition is a must-have for your library! ;)

    Wendy - If only they didn't make such pretty covers we wouldn't have this problem! I splurged at the end of last year but now it's back to the book budget again.


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