Wednesday, October 12, 2005

101...adding to my list of 100 things about me

This is one I should have included in my 100 things about me.

Fact: I loooooove old books. I mean books printed over a hundred years ago. I can't afford anything older than mid 1800's, and nothing really popular, but I've managed to pick up a few on ebay. Just the feeling of opening these books, and imagining how many others' hands, through 150 years, have held the book. How many have read it. It's an amazing feeling.

The highlights of my small collection:

*Shakespeare's Poems and Sonnets, printed in 1896
*The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, printed in 1885
*The Woman's Manual of Parliamentary Law by Harriette Shattuck, printed in 1895 (the *original price listed in the text was 75 cents)
*a pocket version of Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables, printed in 1925
*a pocket version of the complete poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, printed in 1871
*Vanity Fair, printed in 1885
*a set of Longfellow's poetical works, printed in 1882

And my prized possession, a Christmas gift from my son, who had it shipped from the UK. From 'off Mill Pond,' Cornwall, to be exact. The owner valued the set at 100 pounds, and shipping was 59 pounds. I even kept the shipping label:

A large (imperial quarto), soft cover 45 volume set of Virtue's Imperial Shakspere, edited by Charles Knight. Each installment contains one beautiful steel engraving (I'll try to take a photo of one if I can). They were printed at the time of Knight's death, which I believe was mid-1860's. Most of the volumes were never read, as the folded top pages were never sliced open for reading. The original price listed on each installment is 2 shillings. Just think. It was printed in London in 1865-ish, purchased by someone in Cornwall, handed down in a family, probably sitting on a library shelf for years, and's mine!

I'm in the mood: to read. For pleasure. Not for dissertations, or classes, or work. Just for the sheer pleasure of it!

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