Booking Through Thursday — Collectables

Hardcover? Or paperback?
Illustrations? Or just text?
First editions? Or you don’t care?
Signed by the author? Or not?
I see this question as an extension of the buy versus library conversation, which I have to admit, I have softened my opinion on after several successful trips to the local library where I was able to borrow some perfectly acceptable light-reading novels and mysteries that would not need to have a permanent place in our home.*
I don’t really think of books as collectables, like stamps or coins or such, and so things like special editions or pristine copies don’t interest me all that much.  Though, I think a library reflects its owner in ways that a stamp collection can’t  – or maybe that’s because I’m a reader and not a stamp collector.  I’d welcome more authors’ signatures, because I think that enhances our appreciation of the work to connect if with someone real.
If there was anything close that I would like to collect, it’s antique maps.  I’ve always loved cartography and maps are snapshots of our understanding of the world at a given point in time.  The Beloved gave me one once and it’s my favorite possession.  It’s a map used by the original US military exploration of what is now the American Southwest in 1840s.  The map we have shows northern New Mexico and the Rio Grande valley – a place central to the beginnings of our relationship.  For you San Diegans, that force was commanded by Stephen Kearny of Kearny Mesa fame.
The store in Santa Fe where the map was from was one of our favorite places to poke around in.  If there was ever I time when I was unfettered of financial worries (or conscience), I’d indulge myself with a map from 1716 that shows the understanding of the Americas.  California is pictured as an island.

Chalk me up as a giant nerd, but I think that’s really cool.
*Though I will admit a twinge of regret when I placed “Anathem” in the book deposit slot.  That was a book I liked enough to want to keep.  I will have to keep my eye open for when it goes on discount and get it for the home library.

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10 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday — Collectables

  1. Wow, if that makes you a nerd, I'm a double nerd. I'm also totally in love with old maps, unconventional maps, and GIS technology. (Is it unusual to adore the old and the new simultaneously)? What a stunning map. Could spend hours looking at it.

  2. My library used to be huge; after several moves, it has finally been whittled down to fewer than 1,500 volumes [1]. What's left are the ones that I can't do without and use at least once a year.However, my movie collection has been shifting more to the library model. Netflix is my friend, as they have weird and fun (and weirdly fun) movies that I love [2].John

  3. Ooooh, maps. I view antique maps like that more as art than anything else. At this point, that's really what they are. And I seriously, seriously love art (see also: my intended major when I return to school [art conservation]). So I can completely understand the love of antique maps.I don't really think of books as collectibles either; they're too interactive. On the other hand, I have two copies of each of the first four Harry Potter novels (american hardcovers, british softcovers). And we all know I'm definitely a buy person, as opposed to a library person.But I love it when a book is illustrated (one of the things I really loved about Gaiman's The Graveyard Book) , and I love having a signature. I'm not one for first eds though, unless it were to be a first of a really old book of some kind or another. Enough rambling from me. :)

  4. I've purged some books along the way from move-to-move as well. Usually if its an old paperback and I look at it and I can't remember anything about it, then it's not worth saving. And as opposed to books, I've never been much of a movie saver — only my very favorites. I always did like "Destination Moon" though…

  5. Yes — I think "interactive" is the right word to distinguish books from other "collectibles". A collectible is something I wouldn't want to use, but just save for the sake of having. A map is like that because you can look at it without really "interacting" with it — and if it's old, damaging it.

  6. I think that's what my library experience is evolving into — a "rent before you own" test-drive. I'm a little chagrined to say that before last year, I hadn't used the library much at all — its been a real eye-opener.

  7. Ooh, antique maps. I wouldn't collect them myself (hater of all things geography-related, I have some crazy negative associations with it dating back to school) but I have an uncle who does and some of them are just gorgeous.Of course you are a giant nerd — but a hot one :)

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