Condition is important - and I've been known to hunt down super-squeaky mint copies of books instead of settling for merely-only-mint copies. But there are also situations where it just doesn't matter to me at all:
- The book is only for reading
- The book is an association copy, or otherwise unique. (Say it belonged to John Fowles or something, I'm not going to whine that the corners are scuffed.)
- I'm never going to find or afford a better copy (a bit like above, but with things like rare proofs or first editions)
- It looks better that way
That last one is a bit goofy, but especially as a fan of vintage mysteries, sometimes they just seem right a little scuffed up. Obviously I wouldn't turn down perfect copies, but there's something about old noir that lends itself to being a bit battered.
Jonathan Lethem's Amnesia Moon. The 1995 UK paperback. In perfect condition (which, given the horror of its cover, is kind of a shame).
Ben Percy's The Wilding. Also in perfect condition, which is a little irritating as I got it to read, and now I may need a second copy.
Four Mary Stewart first editions - Airs Above the Ground, This Rough Magic, Touch Not the Cat and The Gabriel Hounds. They're all in pretty good shape, actually - This Rough Magic, which is also, coincidentally, the oldest (1964), is the only one missing the dust jacket. If there were collecting 'interventions', now would be a good point to step in. Our Stewart collection has crept from "want to read all her books" to "want the old paperbacks" to "want hardcover first editions". Eep.
For those that care about this sort of thing, these are all published by Hodder & Stoughton, and have the odd "crown and i" logo. The Gabriel Hounds, for no reason I can see, has an uncapitalised "the" on the cover (which is properly capitalised on the title page). Random capitalisation is random.
Shepherd Mead's The Admen. No idea. But a 1958 hardcover novel about the advertising industry and I love those. Mead is best known for How to succeed in business without really trying (1952). We're slowly catching up on Mad Men as well, so it seems like a nice companion. That wacky Don Draper. The hijinks! (In pretty bad shape - no dust jacket, which is a shame, as it looks like the paperback editions had some entertaining covers.
Erle Stanley Gardner's The Case of the Glamorous Ghost - an uncorrected proof of the 1960 edition. I'm a sucker for old proofs - back when they were just wrapped in what was essentially construction paper.
Some battered noir - Raymond Chandler's Smart-Aleck Kill and The Lady in the Lake and Bruno Fischer's Croaked the Raven. Hardcovers without jackets, in pretty worn out editions. The Chandlers are both second printings, which isn't bad. They all look great - the inspiration for this particular post theme. Reading the Chandler in this shape makes you feel like you're in the 1940s. (Perhaps that's an experience that ebooks can't offer? Discuss.)
The Fischer is actually a pretty good novel (he was an interesting guy, too). Raven is his third book, and it looks like, for the most part, it went out as Quoth the Raven (which makes sense, there's Poe-quotin' going on). Not sure why it went Croaked for the UK edition - certainly it sounds good, but it also misses the point entirely. Weird.
Finally, a copy of Algernon Blackwood's John Silence - a late reprint (1947), but no less fun for it. Silence is one of the great occult detectives, and I'm not displeased to have a copy of the stories that - if not collectible - is at least remarkable.
Given last year's conclusion - that I buy ebooks to read, physical books to collect - recent digital acquisitions: Michael de Larrabeati's The Borribles, Baroness Orczy's The Old Man in the Corner, Charles Chestnutt's The Conjure Woman, John Jeremiah Sullivan's Pulphead, John Williams' Stoner, Cecily von Ziegasar's Gossip Girl 3, 4 and 5, Kip Manley's City of Roses, Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy 1, 2 and 3, J.G. Ballard's Extreme Metaphors, Erin Lange's Butter and Holly Smale's Geek Girl.
One of these (The Borribles) was due to 'marketing' (spotted on Tor Facebook page), two (Butter and Geek Girl) were from the Waterstones Children's Prize shortlist, the rest were all personal recomendations from friends (on- and off-line). I don't know what that means, really. Except that, as with last month, I'm still clearly feeling a little distant from 'core' SF/F. I'll get over it...