My name is Katrina, and I am a Book Geek
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.
Labels: Book collecting