Friday, August 24, 2012

The longest novel and other finds

While visiting family in Western Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago, we couldn't resist paying a visit to our old recycling center in Northampton for its fantastic book shed. We lived there for the 2010/11 school year and were regular visitors of the shed -- this was all pre-"Get a Spine" so we don't have a log of what we found then, but suffice it to say that our current library would be much smaller if not for the book shed.

As is the nature of these "take some, leave some" free book exchanges, it is hit or miss depending on who has dropped off recently and who has been by to browse. If you're looking for classics and you see our car, best come by another day!

That day we walked away with two paperback copies of Pride and Prejudice, because you can never have enough of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. One is a Signet Classic edition with a rather uncharacteristically dispassionate drawing of whom I can only assume is Elizabeth Bennet; a peacock -- whose reference is beyond me; and a lock -- equally enigmatic. I'll ponder over these awhile. (If you have any insight, leave a comment!) The other copy we found is nothing fancy but the cover has a subtle prettiness to it that I like: a matte grey cover with purple text and a little etching of a gentleman bowing to a seated lady.

We also found another Riverside Edition to add to our growing collection. We're going to need another bookshelf just for all of our Riversides soon! This one is Clarissa by Samual Richardson -- another title we're not familiar with, but happy to discover. Interesting fact about this book: it is the longest novel in the English language based on word count, beat only by Marcel Proust's epic In Search of Lost Time (originally published in French). Who knew?

We also added Spoon River Anthology to our collection. We already had The New Spoon River (also acquired at the DPW Book Shack, oddly enough). It is a neat collection of short free-form poems that collectively describe the life of the fictional small town of Spoon River as described by its deceased former residents. Originally published in 1915, we snagged a paperback edition printed in 1969. For free, it works.

All in all, a worthwhile trip to our old book shed.

Books added: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (x2!); Clarissa by Samuel Richardson; Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

Publishers (in same order): Signet; Washington Square Press; Houghton Mifflin Co. Riverside Editions; Collier Books

1961; 1961; 1962; 1969

Where obtained: Northampton DPW Book Shack

Price: Free!

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