Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I never considered collecting stamps. But I did collect basketball cards. Now I can admit that my reason was mostly due to having crushes on many of the players, especially this guy. Ha! I still have an unopened calendar with his face on every page. Jonathan collected cards too, but I'm guessing he had different reasons.

I've since moved on from collecting petty crushes to collecting books. It's a meager collection at the moment, but I'm having fun with it. I have several categories of books I collect. Some are books I haven't even read yet but thought they looked interesting. Like this pretty 1929 printing of The Nürnberg Stove by Ouida, or Louise de la Ramée, illustrated by Edwin J. Prittie

And this copy of Hope Campbell by C. D. Bell:

And check out this 1933 printing of Dynamic Biology by Arthur Baker and Lewis Mills:

Another category in the collection includes copies signed by authors or illustrators (or sometimes both). I love the idea of someone working really hard on a book, going through the hassle of getting it published, waiting for the books to be printed, and at some point opening the cover and signing it for an admiring reader. It's like they're saying, "You may read this book and interpret it as you like, but in spirit, it will always be mine--see, my name's printed right there."

Okay, maybe authors/illustrators who sign books aren't thinking that at all. But I think I would.

Sometimes I buy books signed to other people, like this copy of Fantastic Stories signed by Terry Jones for someone named David (by the way, when you google Terry Jones now you get links to stories about a ridiculous book burner instead of the Python, and I can't wait until googling that name brings up a naked guy at a piano again):

It's even better to get a book signed in person. Like this copy of The Wall by Peter Sis. He signed this for me at the SCBWI 2010 Conference in New York:

At school this summer, we had the chance to meet the lovely author and illustrator Cece Bell. She's funny and smart, and everyone loved her:

There are plenty of random books in the collection or one-offs, but my very favorite section (until I can get a Peter Pan section going), is my small stack of copies of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. It seems like there are about a million editions of the book with just as many different illustrators, but here are a few of my favorites I've found so far, and most of them come down to illustrators for me. Here's an illustration of the Piper done by Ernest Shepard

And my favorite Shepard illustration of Mole and Ratty:

Here's a copy with the beautiful artwork of Inga Moore:

Here's one I found with artwork by Nancy Barnhart:

Here's one illustrated by Arthur Rackham:

But my favorite copy is the centenary edition I got at Seven Stories last summer. The illustrations by Robert Ingpen are beautiful, and I was able to purchase a pre-signed copy:

Hoping to get more copies for Christmas this year. In fact, if you're planning on purchasing a special something for me, this would be perfect, though I don't expect you'll be wanting to sell an organ for little old me: Christmas.

For more about The Wind in the Willows, you might like to check out this blog: OUP