Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What makes a physical book worth owning?

This week I began reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, a real treat for anyone who loves books.  It was late in the evening when I began, so I only had just gotten into story when I started getting sleepy.  So I put out the lights, rolled over, and was surprised and delighted to see this.  Why did the author do this?  According to an NPR interview he did: "When you're making a print book in 2012, I actually think the onus is on you, and on your publisher, to make something that's worth buying in its physical edition."

I love books, but have been trying to not be one of those people whose lives are overrun by them.  Mostly because I always have about 30 library books out, and their due dates put them ahead of any unread books I simply own.  I never catch up!  But I make an exception for a truly special edition of a favorite book.  One example is Lamb by Christopher Moore, a hilarious yet reverent "lost gospel", which has been published in a special edition with a faux leather cover with gold trimmed pages...I really couldn't resist.

What are some books that you couldn't resist owing in all their paper glory?  Why specifically did you acquire them?

4 comments:

AareneX said...

My difficulty is that I will buy (used) copies of favorites, and then give them away! Then I have to go buy the same book again. Sigh.

Sheri said...

The copies I have aren't necessarily the first copy I had of certain books and certainly not the fanciest editions, but the ones I treasure are because of the original impact they made on me. One is the first book I read that inspired me to write a note to the author (when I was 9 or so, I believe). That book is "Step Right UP by Dan Mannix, from 1950. A few others are more widely popular, such as the first "Boxcar Children", "Flowers For Algernon", "On The Beach",Stranger In A Strange Land", and "Daddy Long Legs". The Daddy Long Legs is my original copy, complete with illustrations colored by my own pre-adolescent fingers.

yerolf said...

I've been thinking about this question lately, as I'm setting up bookcases in my home office. I have limited space and want the room to nurture my soul. Piles of clutter books aren't going to do much for me, so I have to pick and choose. I want to keep the ones I feel a deep connection with - each one I keep must strike a chord within.

I can't help but notice how many old self help books I'm chucking. Maybe I'm actually maturing in more ways than just getting older. My favorites now are the histories, the biographies, and the memoirs. How I love the connection with real people from other times and places. And imagining how it must have been for them as they lived and breathed and ate and fell in love and worried about things and had awful flaws mixed up with the good.

Stuff that's just dry information ends up in the trash can. That's what the internet is for.

Glenn F. said...

I've been thinking about this question lately, as I'm setting up bookcases in my home office. I have limited space and want the room to nurture my soul. Piles of clutter books aren't going to do much for me, so I have to pick and choose. I want to keep the ones I feel a deep connection with - each one I keep must strike a chord within.

I can't help but notice how many old self help books I'm chucking. Maybe I'm actually maturing in more ways than just getting older. My favorites now are the histories, the biographies, and the memoirs. How I love the connection with real people from other times and places. And imagining how it must have been for them as they lived and breathed and ate and fell in love and worried about things and had awful flaws mixed up with the good.

Stuff that's just dry information ends up in the trash can. That's what the internet is for.