Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Home Library Woes ...

As I've written here before, Joyce and I have been trying to "downsize" around here--especially our library, which now comprises far-too-many thousands of volumes. We have sold some on Amazon's site (you can check out our listings on D. J. Doodlebug Books on Amazon), and we have given others away and will soon open an account on ABE, where we'll sell our more "serious" books (i.e., collectible editions). The picture shows our living room, which has become a book-storage room, for now. (Or just a pile of clutter--whatever you see.)

Some of the LOA volumes
Anyway, we are also deciding which things to keep, at least for the nonce. Among those we know we're going to keep are the Library of America (LOA) volumes. We have a complete set. First printings--all. I began subscribing when they first started publishing in the late 1970s/early 1980s and have bought every volume they've published. They're wonderful to have in the house: Both Joyce and I have used them all the time for reference, and I've read many of them--e.g., the novels of Henry James when I went on an HJ kick a few years ago.

We also have most (all?) of the special volumes they published outside the subscription: volumes devoted to American poets, anthologies on various subjects (writings about New York, writings about L. A., etc.). And, as I've said, they've been wonderful to have.

But recently ... an adventure. When we were cleaning shelves, pulling off books we didn't want, putting up on the shelf some of the LOA volumes that we'd never shelved properly, we made a grim discovery. On a bottom shelf, four LOA books were water-damaged--badly. Beyond rescue. We weren't sure what had happened, but we imagined a knocked-over drink? A leak of some sort? Anyway, these volumes included two by Zora Neale Hurston, one by Washington Irving, another by Shirley Jackson.

So ... onto the ABE website I went and began ordering replacements (1st printings, of course!), and, in some cases, this was no inexpensive proposition. So far, we have received the Irving and the Hurstons, but Shirley Jackson is still in progress. And here's what that has involved:
  • Unable to find a first printing of her book in a slip cover (LOA publishes two versions: slipcover + traditional dust jacket), I ordered a second printing in a slipcover.
  • I then ordered a first printing in traditional dust jacket.
  • When the latter comes, I will remove the jacket and insert the book in the slipcover!
Soon, all will be well once again on our shelves (and on our living room floor). And I am now positive--if I was not before--that bibliomania exists--and it reigns in our house. (Where, apparently, it also rains--at least it does on some LOA volumes.)

PS: bibliomania (from the OED): 

Etymology:  < biblio- comb. form + Greek μανία madness, after French bibliomanie.

A rage for collecting and possessing books.

1734   T. Hearne Diary 9 Nov. (1921) XI. 389,   I should have been tempted to have laid out a pretty deal of money without thinking my self at all touched with Bibliomania.
[1750   Ld. Chesterfield Let. 19 Mar. (1932) (modernized text) IV. 1517   Beware of the bibliomanie.]
1809   Dibdin (title)    Bibliomania, or Book-madness; containing some account of the history, symptoms, and cure of this fatal disease.
1836   T. Hook Gilbert Gurney II. i. 11   The bibliomania which appeared to engross my friend.

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