The fine people, literally, fine china, at Invaluable.com (an online auction house) asked me to make my dream literary collection, which is actually impossible. So, 978 books later, I decided to choose a few, more than a handful, of books and things that are must-haves in any library in which I inhale the sweet smell of browning pages. If these books & things reside in your library, you must be a gentlemen or lady of exquisite taste and valor. Or, we could just be besties. Keep in mind that this collection is what I’ve found looking through the collectible books on Invaluable.com on an endless search for mystery and mysticism. Or I just spent the morning in a coffee shop looking all important and professional while I took selfies with my latte.
- Alice. I would take a Game of Thrones punishment to have a limited edition Alice or a signed copy (Lewis Carroll) of Alice in my home library. I already have about nine versions of the book – including an annotated version that’s my favorite (Thanks, Mom) – but this would be set into a glass case, the dead asleep Snow White of my library. I would require gloves for those that wanted to turn the pages. I would have museum viewings for locals just in case they wanted to witness the magic with their own eyes. Alice – the freak show. Alice – the circus act. If you think I’m kidding, you haven’t read enough of this blog to know how ridiculous I really am. Invaluable has the lot starting at 640 pounds. There are winter holidays coming up, a solstice, a giving of thanks, a Christmas, a festivus for the rest of us, if you want to go ahead and cross that ownership off my bucket list.
- Children’s books. No library would be complete without my favorite children’s books. To be honest, I’m a little miffed that they don’t have a limited edition or vintage edition of The BFG which I would also do unnamable things for. I would lick the face of *he who shall not be named* for a chance at any BFG memorabilia. At Invaluable they have sets of vintage children’s books, even a classic “Little Toot” which I haven’t seen in any libraries. I went with the vintage Dr. Seuss because he’s a classic, and I love the theme park, and my boyfriend is a complete WWII buff and there’s a mysterious connection between Dr. Seuss and WWII that I sometimes allude to with my students (if they want to further research), but most of the time I just keep it to myself.
- All the books I’ve ever taught to high school students. I love my job. I don’t think I could possibly love my job more. Even when it causes me ache, it causes me more happiness than probably anything that’s ever happened in my life. I cherish my students comments on the fiction that I’ve taught and the ways that they’ve taught me to be a better reader and a better person. There are hundreds of first editions of books that I’ve taught on Invaluable. And just for myself I made a little list.
4. The contemporary poetry is lacking a little bit at Invaluable. I found a first edition of Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar WITH THE PSEUDONYM, PEOPLE, but I’d much rather have a signed or first edition copy of any of her poetry collections. What’s really annoying about this is that Ted Hughes has TWO (TWO?!) poetry collections at Invaluable. I have a love / hate relationship with Hughes because I abhor his handling of the Plath estate, particularly the publishing of her diaries in their entirety starting with her high school days. However, I also am thankful that he did this because her best writing is in these diaries. And she was definitely a hot mess. I think if she would have heard that phrase about herself, she’d correct me with powerful and meaningful synonyms or vocabulary for it. Seriously though, what a gem, this pseudonym. Man, my rhyming is on point this week. Actually, can I just trade rhymes for this book? I’ll write a year of rhymes. Anyone….? Anyone….? Bueller? …. Bueller?
5. Because my boyfriend sent me Poe and Whitman quotes and poems for the first month that we were dating and so both of these American staples have a billboard on my heart. This included flowers TO SCHOOL which my kids went down to the office to collect and opened and read my Whitman card which said “We were together. I forgot the rest.” Swoon worthy, I tell ya. And while I never thought of Poe as swoon-worthy … what with the incest pedophilia, which was more okay in that time period, and I’m sure being all… ominous and raven-y made it hard for him to create his newspaper dating profile … but, swoon-worthy it seems is relative.
6. I didn’t realize until I was scanning Invaluable how many artists draw nude women. I know nothing about fine art, I just like wandering through museums, but is this like the basics of drawing? First, you must draw a nude woman, you must get the landscape of a feminine form correct. While I find this a bit irritating, I also think this is a testament of the power of a female body. In my library at home, I have a woman’s wall. I don’t have it up in the new apartment because it’s too small to have a woman’s wall, but in my house, it’s still up. It has my grandmothers, Virginia Woolf, a woman watering a garden, a woman doing washing, women and their children, women and clotheslines. I adore it. If I find a piece in a vintage market or a flea market that I love, I buy it and hang it on the women’s wall. I like to think it’s a feminist women’s wall, but it has a lot of domestic tasks, inevitably how women were portrayed “back in the day” (only like thirty years ago). While this is the most expensive auction I wanted on Invaluable, how beautiful is this woman, and how often are our minds made of blow fish?
While this isn’t my perfect and ideal library because I’m not sure I could ever create that, it is a library that I would probably take a stab wound to own. I’m constantly adding to my favorites list and discovering new historical time periods, new authors, new genres, new words that I have to know, and eat, and digest, and then use as my own lexicon. Invaluable.com, thank you for a fun Thursday of auctioning off my heart to collectibles that I can’t afford. It’s been real (real desperate).