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People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*

My name is Katrina, and I am a Book Geek

I have become worryingly obsessive about my book collection.

I love pottering around charity shops for cheap paperbacks that I'd have to pay £7-8 for in one of the big bookshops, and a second hand bookshop is my idea of heaven.* However my fascination with rare/antiquarian books has reached new heights in the last couple of months, and I'm beginning to worry that I'll end up living in a manky old bedsit with only my books for company, driven mad at the prospect of having to pick one to sell in order to make the rent.

It started with an Antiquarian Book Fair in the Assembly Rooms earlier this year. I found out about it by chance, and went along because I love anything to do with books - old or not. I had browsed on eBay for the odd title that I specifically wanted but hadn't really pursued it any further than that. So I wandered around amongst the bibliophiles for ages, enjoying being in the presence of like-minded individuals and ALL THOSE BOOKS, but at the same time a bit disappointed because I wasn't interested in the Regimental Orders of the 4th East Surrey Regiment or the Land and Labours of Belgium.**

I was about to leave when I stumbled across a first edition of The House At Pooh Corner for £90. As a Pooh-lover I nabbed it, feeling quite chuffed with my wee bargain. Then I saw a matching third edition of Winnie The Pooh, for £30. Of course, I couldn't buy one without having the other - they were a natural pair - so I decided to buy that as well. THEN I saw a 1966 edition of The Hobbit, with the original dust jacket, for £120. A quick, pleading, phonecall to Fiance later and I was trotting out of the place, clutching my treasures - the first pieces of my collection (one of which was to be Fiance's birthday present to me). I had a collection!

Since then I've bought a signed presentation copy of Vincent Starrett's 'Penny Wise Book Foolish' (a book about book collecting), a signed book of poetry by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow printed in 1889, a 1920's edition of Little Women with a beautiful Art Nouveau cover, and as of 6pm today, a 1931 edition of The Wind In The Willows, the first edition to be illustrated by E.H. Shepard (he of Winnie the Pooh fame). This last one was another fairly pricey one and Fiance was exasperated when I told him I'd bought it. He knew I had my eye on it, but I think he was hoping I'd restrain myself. Unfortunately for him, The Wind in the Willows is one of the books that mean a lot to me and I just had to have it. The worrying thing is that I didn't even really make a conscious decision to buy it, I just found myself clicking and typing and before I knew it I'd made a bid... I got it for the starting price of £125, but it's still a pretty expensive book to me.

Next time it might not be £125 I'm bidding though, it might be something more like this. I'll have to watch myself. Maybe I'll steer clear of eBay for a while.

*My favourite one is West Port Books at the top of Lady Lawson Street - it's full to the gunnels with thousands of pre-owned books of all description, all higgeldy-piggeldy and crammed in any old way. I could spend days in there.

**Is anyone?!?


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At 16.11.06, Blogger Vicki said...

I cannot believe how much you spent. . .I had no idea you were actually an active collector.

I was directed to this, thought you might enjoy. . .


p.s How strange that our titles yesterday were both of the confessional nature. . .?!    

At 16.11.06, Blogger Teeny said...

We must both have felt like sharing yesterday...

I don't know if you could call it a collection, it's only ickle. But that's the most I've spent on a single book so far. I'm such a dork aren't I?!

I visited Miss Snark - looks like just my cup of tea!    

At 16.11.06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

more like you were more feeling guilty yesterday.

i think someone should temporarily ban themselves from Ebay before they do indeed become a book spinster.    

At 16.11.06, Blogger Vicki said...

Is that Cam leaving comments?! Oh how I wish Bill would do that for me. . .I threatened a lot of things last night, all of which I will act on if he doesn't leave a comment by 6pm today!

Anyway, back to the books, I think we should view them as an investment - you know, like property, pensions and nice pretty shoes. . .    

At 17.11.06, Anonymous david said...

Congratulations on your purchases.

I loved Wind in the Willows too, and read it to my children. But imagine reading to your children about the wild wood etc. and then suddenly coming to the chapter "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". The required reading age suddenly jumps 10+ years - I still find that chapter difficult.    

At 17.11.06, Blogger Teeny said...

David - you're right, there is quite a jump from that chapter onwards. I guess it reflects the growth of the characters but for a children's book it's quite challenging. I was terrified of weasels for a long time too!! Still am, a little bit.    

At 17.11.06, Blogger Vicki said...

Allow me to suggest your next book related meme. . .just got tagged for it but, lets be honest, its entirely wasted on me. . .enjoy!

1. One book that changed your life - the hardest question first.
2. One book that you've read more than once.
3. One book that you'd want on a desert island.
4. One book that made you laugh.
5. One book that made you cry.
6. One book that you wish you had written.
7. One book you wish had never been written.
8. One book that you are reading at the moment.
9. One book that you've been meaning to read.
10. Five others that you’d like to do this.    

At 25.11.06, Blogger Stacey said...

Hi Teeny. I just found your blog via Elisabeth at "This Edinburgh Life". It appears that the timing was perfect, because I'm also a huge book lover & aspiring collector (as well as an Edinburgh fan). Nice to have met you!    

At 25.11.06, Blogger Teeny said...

Hi Stacey! Been checking out your blog too - another book lover, yippee!

This is so exciting.    

At 25.11.06, Blogger Stacey said...

Isn't it though? I just mentioned to Elisabeth that I'm planning a March trip over to good old Edinburgh. :)    

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*Logan Pearsall Smith

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