on editions

The Bride's notes on the ones that got away got me thinking about my Tolkien collection. Actually, you can hardly call it a collection, tragic as that is. But that's another sighing-fest altogether.

I happened to get The Hobbit (or there and back again)from an uncle of mine who was very fond of us (me and my brother), and the feeling was reciprocated in good measure. He did not gift it to me as much as I borrowed it, except that for some indistinct and fortunate reasons, he never took it back (or was it I who never returned it?). It looked something like this. Substitute the green with black and change the fonts around a bit, but the illustration was the same and dominated the cover.

I read and re-read the book, and it stayed with me for years and years. Pages started to feel thick, and look a little discoloured. Then, many years later- after I had already delved muchly into LOTR and others- we got ourselves a new golden retriever. Adorable little ball of fur that he was when he came, and endeared though he did himself to us, he proceeded in the coming few (teething) weeks to chew my by then beloved copy of The Hobbit. That day was depressing, I came close to disowning the poor fellow, but I hung on to the half eaten book (and proceeded to fall in love with the clumsy owner of the teeth that brought it to its fate). think (hope) it is still around somewhere in the cartons.

Of course, that edition was no longer available. Soon after the market had only the black editions. These were still times I did not earn (pocket money? er...sorry?), so another copy had to wait. Later a very dear friend got one from a second hand books sale in some fair-it was the same edition, and it cost the princely sum of Rs.10. How can any edition of The Hobbit
ever cost 10 rupees???
That did, however, make it easier for me to whack it. Which I duly did (with reluctant consent of the said friend). I still have that somewhere, though it is falling apart (partly the reason it was on sale I suppose). Later (or was it by the time of the stealing- I am, surprisingly, confused about this) I got another edition.

I really do like this cover. The whole series of black covers with minimalistic designs, some runes and the (fairly) ubiquitous 'signature' (which, too, I really like).

We now own two of this edition, but I will always love that first one. Is that not natural?
The rest of the thoughts on editions shall follow...

4 thoughts:

Girl Monday, June 13, 2005  

Nice reminiscing. I remember having this dogeared Enid Blyton omnibus that I was devoted to. It had all the St. Clare's school stories. Unfortunately, a friend "borrowed" it but ended up taking it along with her to Pune. I have never seen it again. And I don't think buying the entire Blyton library will make up for it.

I have the black Hobbit edition too, and I like it. There was another one, with a photo of the trolls and all, but a friend lost it and ended up buying me the black one.

Anonymous Monday, June 13, 2005  

Yup, it can be quite hard to swallow the loss of a book. But wait, there is more tragedy to follow. As I mentioned, this is only the first of a few thoughts on books, editions and copies.

Anonymous Monday, June 13, 2005  

I saw The Bride's collection and loved both these posts! thank you..

Don't worry about book street, it will come back in no time. The dance bars will not go anywhere, they will remain.

Anonymous Monday, June 13, 2005  

fad: you're most welcome.
I certainly hope the book street comes back in time for that would mean I could see it one day )um, I never have...yes- shudder shudder!)
Also, I might just find some editions I no longer have (not just the Hobbit, as you shall soon know)

And actually, ditto re:the dance bars! ( i can give many people- mostly non Indians-blow by blow, and authentic, accounts about dance bars... but I have not been in one. Yet. Odd.

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