Betsy Robinson, author of funny literary stories about flawed people, is a perpetual seeker of truth.

From books to music to theater and fine art, from online TV to DVDs, this blog takes a look at current culture through a spiritual perspective — with a touch of humor.

Materials under the "review" tag are a mix of free review copies (books, DVDs, etc.) in exchange for a review, to library copies, to materials and tickets I've paid for.


A Really Bad Hair Day (Feb. 13 blog)

The Art of Collapsing (Feb. 6 blog)

Life is only temporary says Evan Handler (Jan. 28 blog)

The New World of Finance (Jan. 28 blog)

All about growing up in a cult (April 16 blog)

Fierce Giving (Jan. 8 blog)

(Copyright © 2008-2014 Betsy Robinson. All rights reserved)

Notes from a Crusty Seeker

Books We Cherish in Multiples

March 6, 2018

Tags: fun, compassionate wisdom

On the anniversary of publication of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, my friend Karen Troianello posted a Facebook homage to her multiple copies of the book, and it got me thinking about my own multiples (see photo) and the personal reasons I will hang onto them for the rest of my life. And that got me wondering about other people's multiples and reasons for holding them. So I asked.

Boy, are we loyal to books we love. We cherish them like family members. My friend Maureen Phillips who writes delightful stories and poems about fairies calls her multiples "a little family of weirdos who all sit on the shelves together." (Madame Bovary, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Shipping News, A Confederacy of Dunces, the stories and poems of Edgar Allen Poe.)

Journalist Jeff Brown keeps out-of-print multiples and updated copies of the same books. One of his favorites is For Your Eyes Only by Ian Fleming: "It is five James Bond short stories, including 'The Hildebrand Rarity,' which I consider to be the best short story of any type I've ever read."

Many people buy multiples because they travel and want to have copies on the road; others buy multiples of books they adore because they intend to give them away, although they often end up holding onto them for reasons they don't understand (Dolors Casas who lives in Spain but has become a connoisseur of English-language classics). Or they consider certain books (Harry Potter is very popular) as collectibles. Some, like me and Canadian critic Glenn Sumi, cherish their first editions, but read the books in cheaper paperback editions.

Ericka Clouther is married to a teacher who collects different translations of the same books, as does teacher and soon-to-be debut novelist Michael Barsa.

Like me, Goodreads friend Antoinette keeps multiple To Kill a Mockingbirds. One of hers is a signed edition. (I'm jealous.)

Julie waits for somebody to say "Oh, I never read that!" and promptly offers her multiple with the reply: "Well, here you go, friend. Get with the program."

Jazz and Renaissance man Paul Secor keeps rare editions and art books and says, "There have been times when I've considered picking up second or third copies of a book because of eye catching cover designs, but sanity has prevailed."

But probably my favorite explanation for multiples comes from Derrik (whose anonymity I will protect). "I think the only duplicate I have is Suskind's Perfume. I stole a hardcover copy from a pool hall that was using it as wall decor, but it's falling apart, so I have a paperback as well. I keep it for sentimental reasons. I thought it a great injustice that such a good book was just sitting there in a billiard parlor having been bought by the yard with hundreds of other books as wall decor."

In my fascination for the topic, I wondered what books are kept in multiples by some literary novelists. To find out, read my Lithub article Why Do Writers Keep Multiple Copies of Books Around?.

Selected Works

Big Moose Prize-winning novel
a funny, sometimes sad, story of negotiating life without a clue

New on Kindle--a funny book for foodies who are committed to self-change through self-awareness
an epistolary memoir ... sort of
A funny and moving little book for anyone who's had a mother or struggled with being human.
anthology of stories and plays
includes Darleen Dances and stories below

1-act play

short story
the problem with worrying about the future

true story
Why I don't believe in death.

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