I’ve previously mentioned my penchant for book collecting. I think it’s fair to say that at this juncture in my life I continue to bring more books into my home than I ever release. I can’t even read them at the rate I once did. I often say, “I live on hope,” and I do hope to one day have the time to read a lot more than I seem able to do just now. In the meantime, though, I can easily turn off the little voice in my head that signals perhaps we’re getting a little close to an unreasonable attachment. Or is it a compulsion? I don’t know. Better yet, I don’t care.
If we ever reach a point in our lives when we choose (or need–yikes!) to downsize and relocate, I am completely grounded in the reality that most of my little treasures will have to go. Until then, I’ll enjoy something that is earthquake-proof. And I do have earthquake stories to share with you sometime…don’t forget I live on shaky ground.
My collection is everything from the ordinary—books I just wanted to have because they sounded interesting to me—to editions that probably do have some value. I have been intentional with collecting signed first editions for many years now. The value in those books varies somewhat, with none being all that valuable. I don’t own a Hemingway or Fitzgerald, but I do have a signed Isabel Allende, John Irving and Tom Wolfe, among many others, but it’s nothing more than a fun hobby. I sometimes consider collecting like a treasure hunt.
I previously wrote about meeting Elizabeth Edwards at a local signing and a picture of that encounter is here. Given the way things turned…I am so glad I had that moment and her signed books are special to me.
And then I have little editions that give me pleasure whether they are valuable or not. I have an 1889 volume, “Louisa May Alcott: Life, Letters and Journals,” published one year after her death. The first edition book was published by the Alcott family. One of the key features of this edition is a frontispiece photograph of Alcott and a short greeting in her handwriting. When I first saw it my heart jumped…I thought at first I might have an authentic signature.
I don’t collect for specific value, but for fun. Maybe it’s the hunt! And then this past week I added one more signed first edition!
Many of you share with me the absolute pleasure of following the many adventures of Accidental Cootchie Mama Andra Watkins. If somehow you haven’t yet had the pleasure of being introduced, let me do that now! Andra is far from being a “one note” artist. I think she was born with a little recorder in her brain that somehow collected all of her life events for future recall—she can tell a story!
Andra and her husband, Michael (or MTM), just moved to a new home this week, and Andra’s sense of fun came through even in the middle of a stressful packing and relocation schedule. She offered a verbal auction, proffering personal items that weren’t going to make the cut to the new home, and all we had to do to place our bid and throw our names into the hat was give a reason we might like to receive the chosen gift.
Her first item came with the accompanying story of how she attended a Philipa Gregory book signing for the newly released “The Other Queen.” Prolific historical novelist Gregory spent a good portion of her book signing time answering questions about her previous book-turned-movie, “The Other Boleyn Girl” and vociferously lamented the quality of the movie. Andra’s observations about the event are very humorous.
Thanks to others who read of my interest in a signed book, the deck was stacked, and I DID indeed receive the book in the mail where it now resides next to other treasured volumes. Beyond my interest in the book itself, I have a very happy association with it because it came by way of Andra’s generosity. What a fun blogging community, and a lovely connection between two book lovers—one in South Carolina, and the other all the way across the country in California. Thank you, Andra!
I’ll conclude the week with a few photos from last weekend’s book adventure. I tend to stay away from places like this…for obvious reasons. I was surprised that Jay was so accommodating. He didn’t resist even once!
We took advantage of a sunny Saturday to spend the afternoon at the 17th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books—the “mother ship” for a bibliophile. Hundreds of author notables were present for signings and forum discussions. I found it totally overwhelming. I do understand what happens to a child’s brain in a candy store!
We didn’t prearrange line tickets or make a plan…we just wandered and hand fun. Maybe next year I’ll have more self-control and can be trusted with a specific agenda and a roadmap to even more booths and interviews!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Indulge in whatever pastimes give you a pause that refreshes! I’ll look forward to hearing about whatever you do…and then maybe I’ll even spend some time reading one of the books I bought at the festival…oops! I wasn’t going to admit that. Oh well…I say it’s good for my well-being. Please don’t argue with me.