When I was painting my bookshelves last week and all my books were in heaps on the floor, I had a bit of a clear out (not a big one, just a few books went) and I realised that I had duplicate copies of many books. I remember my mum always used to ask me why I wanted another copy of a title and difficult to explain why. So I had a look today at some of my multiple copies and had a think and there are very good reasons why I have them. Well, I think they are good reasons and I am pretty sure that all book lovers will agree with me.
The Secret Garden - three copies of this. One is a larger illustrated copy I have had for many years, the second was a birthday present and a folio edition and the reason for my picking up the third is that the illustrations are by Shepherd of Winne the Pooh fame and are delightful.
I also have two copies of Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess though one is, in fact, the slightly earlier version called Sarah Crewe which I found somewhere in a second hand book shop and could not resist.
In fact, Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of the authors where I seem to have a lot of duplicates, Robin and Head of the House of Coombe; I have two old copies of each and one new. I have two of The Lost Prince and also two copies of The Shuttle. One is the Persephone edition, but sadly it has been edited so I am very happy that I have an old 1907 edition in brilliant condition which has the full text.
The Making of a Marchioness - again, I have the Persephone edition but also a two volume edition which is how it was first published, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst and the Making of a Marchioness.
I also have a tiny little copy of this book which I found at the back of a cupboard in an old bookshop in Hay on Wye and could not bear to leave it there. So home it came with me to keep the others company.
We then come to EM Delafield and at the moment I have five copies of the Diary of a Provincial Lady. I have two copies of the old green Virago publication, found one at a book sale and, again could not bear to leave it behind (once I wear my other one out then I have a replacement), one with a Cath Kidson cover which not sure why I bought really as I think it is a bit twee, and then the Provincial Lady and the Provincial Lady Goes further in an old 1930s edition which I grabbed because of the wonderful illustrations by an artist called G Watt.
I also appear to have three copies of Wind in the Willows, illustrations by Shepherd so that is a must and, even better, one illustrated by Arthur Rackham which is superb.
I also have two copies of Christine by Elizabeth Cholmondeley who is Elizabeth von Arnim. This book is pretty anti-German and as she was married to a German at the time, it did not go down well so she used her maiden name. I posted about this book here, and a few days later received the most amazing email from a visitor in Australia and if you wanted to know what it said, then read it here. I was bowled over by its content.
It seems totally illogical to have duplicate copies of books when one is limited for book space as I am and all my shelves are double stacked now as it is and heaven knows where I am going to fit any more, but when I see a book that needs a home I simply cannot bear to leave it behind.
I am pretty sure that all Random Readers will understand......