Sunday, October 3, 2010
Book collecting and various media
So last time I said this post would be about "book collecting and various media". I can talk about book collecting, but dashed if I know what I meant about "various media". I assume I was going to deliver a brilliant discourse on television reading (see last post) or something, but I must admit I haven't been brushing up on my various media lately. I've been sticking to books and Dr. Who. That's kind of various I guess.
So, book collecting. I like to do that. Books are just nice objects to have. They feel good to hold and peruse, they smell good, and you can read them. I have always collected books, although earlier in life my collection consisted mainly of Goosebumps books. I got rid of those when I outgrew them, but I continued collecting books. I started collecting hardcover John Bellairs books (the ones with Edward Gorey's awesome covers), although I only had a few until I bought the entire series from e-bay a couple years ago. John Bellairs shared my love of old houses (or maybe I got it from reading his books) and the setting and characters were great, so those books were some of my favorites when I was in elementary and middle school. But it was the amazing cover art by Edward Gorey that first attracted me to them, so it's nice to have those editions in my collection. I read them again in grad school and they are still great.
A few years ago I got to meet Ray Bradbury when he came to the local library. I got a copy of Fahrenheit 451 signed by him. Then, a bit later three big science fiction authors came to the UCLA book festival: Harry Harrison, Joe Haldeman, and Robert Silverberg. I got books signed by them too, and that got me interested in signed books. It's neat to have a copy that the author has actually physically written in.
abebooks.com is a good site for finding signed books, although it's more fun to get books signed in person. However, some people are dead so you can't do that. But when you can, it's cool to meet the people who wrote the books. They invented and created the worlds and characters that made their books so fascinating, so in a way it's the closest you can come to meeting the characters. I wish I had gotten to meet Robert Jordan. But it was cool to meet Robert Silverberg, Ray Bradbury, Harry Harrison, Brandon Sanderson, and Dan Wells. I met a few others but I haven't read their books yet (Joe Haldeman, Brent Weeks, and Terry Brooks). I just got books signed since I was at the signing.
Despite collecting books, I prefer to read them on the Kindle. It's way more convenient and comfortable than a physical book. There is only one side, so you don't have to reposition the book in your hands all the time. Also, remember that I read books by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan. They are huge. But I can fit them all into a paperback form factor with the Kindle. And on vacation you can finish one book and buy another without needing to find a bookstore or pack a bunch of separate books. And for the lazy, a Kindle means you don't need to get up and go to the bookshelf to change books. So my bookshelf is full of books I have not physically read.
I also have a few old books, like a 17th-century math book and a French astronomy book printed on the royal press in Paris (back when there was royalty in France). Old books are really cool. They look like proper tomes that you'd see in games like Myst. And people back in the renaissance or other periods of history read them, and even wrote in them. As a European history lover, that is really cool to me. Last spring, I spent a day in Metz, France, at the home of my second cousin once removed, Jean Marc. He is awesome. I mention him now because he also like old books and he even had some that had belonged to and been written in by our ancestors. That was extremely cool to see, and I have some photos of some of them I might put up.