I’ve been steadily collecting books since my undergraduate year of college. (Or, perhaps, more accurately, since my childhood.) Once my husband and I bought a house, I actually had a place to put them. That meant in boxes in the cold, dark basement.
Then I had my first baby and I quit my job. I started spending a lot more time at home. This time became unbearably quiet and long, so I desperately tried to fill it by leaving the house. We would do baby music classes, go on walks with friends, visit the park, go to playgroup, visit the library, have lunch with daddy at work, and go shopping. However, when you only have one income, shopping every day isn’t the best idea.
I took to visiting the local thrift store and browsing through the books. I even found some great toys for my daughter. It is amazing what great condition some of that stuff is in. (It is also amazing what bad condition some of the stuff is in.) I began buying books for a dollar or less, and then bringing them home to read. I read and they accumulated. I couldn’t bear to part with some of them. They were my friends.
So more of them ended up in boxes in the basement. And my bored time at home became time to think about rearranging/decorating/furnishing our house. We actually had quite a few nice pieces of furniture from before we had children. But I didn’t have many bookshelves. Eventually, I got them. And I started putting books in places that weren’t necessarily meant for books, but that worked out just fine. You can see the results of my book storage in my Decorating with Books post.
My husband has also started buying me more books. He has always gotten me a leatherbound book from Barnes and Noble for Christmas, but since I started this blog, he now knows what I like to read (and more about those books), so he has started buying nice copies of the books I already love and adore.
I’m telling you all of this to explain (partly) why I have so many books and to explain why I have multiple copies of many books. I recently realized this, so I am getting rid of the multiples. But before I do, I thought I’d share them with you.
Here are the books that I have two (or three!) copies of.
You really can’t have enough of these around. I mean, what if one of my friends wants to borrow it?
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
I adore these stories. When my husband and I used to commute to the same city for work, we would listen to audio books together. This was one of the books we listened to. We are now watching the new BBC Sherlock series (which takes a painfully long time to be produced and to be available on Netflix). I sure wish they could create more than three episodes a year.
This is one of my favorite books. I’ve read it multiple times, so it stands to reason that I have multiple copies.
I have only read this once and that may be enough. But I did love it. It’s Tolstoy’s darn War and Peace that I can’t seem to get through, despite starting it at least three times in the last 12 years. My husband also knew that I already had a copy of it, but he couldn’t resist getting the new copy. Now I have one for each room. Purple for the living room bookshelves and red and blue and cream for the family room shelves. Perfect!
I don’t really even like this book, but I have read it a few times and have even written papers on it for classes in both my undergraduate and graduate work. That’s why I have so many copies. I guess I kept forgetting that I already had one, and then my husband purchased the beautiful Hemingway volume that contains it again.
I appreciate this book, but I wouldn’t say that I liked it. It is a tough one to read, both in content and in form. I have one copy from reading it for a graduate class and one from a friend’s used book pile.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I bought the paperback at a thrift store. My husband bought the hardback version (in my favorite color!). Guess which one I’m keeping? (Or should I keep both? One for my daughters and one for me?)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles and The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
Those two little paperback versions are from a thrift store and don’t even have ISBN numbers, so I can’t trade them on a book swapping website. And when I did read those books for a class assignment (which didn’t feel like an assignment because I loved them both so much), I ended up reading them from the gigantic tome that contains all of Hardy’s most popular work. I really need to get rid of those little ones.
Again, I think I’ll keep the pretty version. The other one I bought used just to have, but I wasn’t pleased with the version to begin with.
I love this book. Two copies isn’t enough!
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
I seriously have no idea how I ended up with both of these. They are both thrift store copies. I may have forgotten that I had one and then purchased it again. I did enjoy this book. I actually read a library copy before buying either of these. Maybe I needed one for a class?
This entire exercise calls for a more detailed inventory of my book collection. But that probably won’t happen. I like to be organized, but I also like to have piles of books lying around everywhere.
What books do you have two or more copies of and why?