Sunday, 23 August 2009

The Green Shelf


I have referred in the past to my burgeoning collection of the original bottle-green Virago Modern Classics. My green shelf photographed above is actually only about half of the ones I have so far collected with some double-backed and others in a pile elsewhere. I also have about another thirty Virago Modern Classics with modern covers.

I began collecting VMCs last May through a love for the imprint, intrigue, and a compulsion for collecting. I have collected some beautiful and rare editions (the green editions are around twenty-five years old usually), with some beautifully chosen artwork on their covers (I'll dedicate a post to that at a a later date), but, at this rate, I am collecting far more than I am reading.

As there are close to 550 titles on the Virago Modern Classics list (Verity's Virago Venture is an exciting attempt to read all of the titles that feature on the list in a Virago edition) and because I recently -and unwisely- worked out that I probably only have 5200 books left to read in my life-time (based on living to eighty years old and reading a conservative 100 books a year), it is unlikely that I will read all of the VMCs. As I live in a metropolis where space is definitely an issue, it seems impractical to collect for the sake of collecting. I intend to curb my collecting of VMCs to only the ones that I have a desire to read and weed my current collection of the ones that I don't; I imagine that there will still be at least one green shelf amongst my books from now on but no future green bookcase.


14 comments:

verity said...

Absolutely wonderful. I do admire your discipline in avoiding a green bookcase; as you know Iam heading that way! How many do you think you have in total?

Paperback Reader said...

Verity, I think I need to develop restraint and discipline for the sake of time, space, and cost - three huge deciding factors!

I have at least eighty VMCs all in.

Diane said...

LOL...a whole "green shelf" is pretty amazing in itself.

StuckInABook said...

How delicious... I have 13 of the ones pictured, which is probably about half the ones I own altogether... must count sometime. 80 is wonderful!

Paperback Reader said...

Diane, It's not my favourite of my colour-themed shelves (see tag for more) but I do like it.

Thanks, Simon. I may cull some of them but 80 is a good chunk of them at any rate, especially for only a year of consciously collecting.

Vintage Reading said...

Ooh I've spotted a Christina Stead and a Eudora Welty! Two author's I want to read.

Paperback Reader said...

Hi vintagereading, neither the Welty or the Stead have been read yet but I'm looking forward to them. I read The Optimist's Daughter by Welty earlier this month and enjoyed it.

Nymeth said...

That's a lovely collection, but I completely understand your decision to weed it. I'm not sure I want to calculate how many books I can read in my remaining lifetime...the knowledge might cost me a good night's sleep :P

I see The Bront√ęs Went to Woolsworth! I got the Bloomsbury Group edition of that just before my book buying ban began, and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Also, I've probably said this before, but I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on The Robber Bridegroom.

Oh, and I love the little fairy sitting on the books :)

Darlene said...

Such a wealth of reading material you have in those lovely green covers. There's a couple of Rosamund Lehmann titles there that I would love to read one of these days.

Paperback Reader said...

Ana, thank you.

Calculating the number of books conceivably left to read (and to reread) was distressing, to say the least. It is at once a generous and also conservative estimate.

I really enjoyed The Brontes Went to Woolworths; it's an enchanting novel.

I am looking forward to The Robber Bridegroom and really hoping to read it this year.

The fairy is one of many dotted around my bookcases :).

Darlene, I have a few more Lehmann with modern covers but so far I have only read Dusty Answer; I'm looking forward to reading more.

Carl V. said...

I understand your compulsion, it is very easy to collect books at a faster rate than one can read them. Very, very easy. ;)

Paperback Reader said...

Indeed, Carl. I am Paperback Reader and I'm a bookaholic.

claire said...

I've been weeding books out myself these past few days, as the tbr has gotten out of hand. I decided to just take out the ones I don't really really want to read. There are still so many on my wishlist that I'd rather read more. Anyway, those ones I don't really crave to read are mostly bought in yard sales or library sales for usually less than a dollar, just because they're there. I figure, no matter how cheap a book, it takes away a few hours from my life.

Anyway, I've decided to go ahead and read von Arnim's Vera before the year ends, as I still need a V author for my A to Z challenge. I was going to read Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5, but Vera seems more interesting to me now. :D

Paperback Reader said...

Claire, that's exactly my sentiment: time is too precious to waste it on books that aren't wonderful.

I'm glad that you feel inspired to read Vera; it's one that I'll still be looking out for as I would like to own and read all of Elizabeth von Arnim's books (you can see the ones that I already have on the shelf).
I personally love Slaughterhouse 5 though! It's a quick read too so hopefully you'll fit both in at some point.