People like to collect things. Why? I have no idea as I am not a human behaviour analyst. But people do. Art, cars, toy trains, antique furniture, stickers, moshi monsters, bus numbers, postcards, ornaments, vintage dresses, wine, beer mats, dolls, designer bags, tea pots, tea cosies, vinyl records, trading cards, chocolate packets, comics, beanie babies…..I could be here all day if I go on. Basically if there is more than one type of something, somebody out there will be collecting it. Small children seem to pick up on this behaviour pretty much once they are out of their buggy and let loose to toddle round the park. Suddenly you find shoved in your bag a random pile of pebbles, twigs and leaves which are ‘for my collection’ your small child will proudly tell you.
I have collected many things over the years. I had the panini sticker albums. I could do the whole ‘got got got need got’ as fast as the next child. Although I never completed a set except for the Garfield one which I did by sending off for what I needed and paying by postal order or whatever you had to do back then. I collected novelty rubbers (erasers). That was a popular thing back in the 80s, although they were banned briefly as some children it seems couldn’t tell the difference between a real strawberry and a rubber shaped like one that had a very slight sweet smell ! I also collected small plastic little animals. I have no idea who made these little plastic figures. They were usually sold at souvenir shops in touristy places. There was usually 6 in each ‘set’. I had (and still have…see picture) a lovely collection.
Oh…there are 7 cats. I guess the 6 in a set is wrong !
Once upon a time this whole little gang all had individual names. Sadly gone from my memory.
Anyway, now I am a grown up and the collecting of rubbers and small plastic creatures has been passed on to the next generation. ‘Japanese building’ rubbers are popular, as are shopkins (moshi monsters are over apparently). Stickers are still in (football ones seemingly the most popular) and trading cards. As soon as something becomes a bit boring the ‘new generation’ of characters is out. It’s a marketing mans idea of heaven. ‘Gotta catch ’em all’ as they say in the Pokémon world.
But as we know, grown ups do still collect things. Many many big piles of….stuff. I would love to be an obsessive collector. If I had the finances, time and space for storage I would. I would go to all those collectors fairs every weekend and do deals and trades and squeal with excitement when I see the one object to complete my collection. But I don’t. Have space, time and enough pennies to do that I mean. But however there is one thing I do like to collect and that is of course……books. (I expect you were wondering when I would get round to books as this blog is called booksbooksbooks!)
Lots of people collect books. Some even store them in a room they call ‘a library’. Oh how I would love to have a whole room just for books….! Some people collect books because they like the writer, some because they are obsessed with first editions, some because it makes their bookshelves look good because it’s full of posh looking Dickens hardbacks (that they never read). Some people just collect books simply because they buy a book, read it and put it on the shelf with all their other books and don’t even realise they have a ‘collection’.
I have had, over the years, collected various books. As a teen I read Judy Blume and Paula Danziger books over and over. I borrowed them from the library all the time, but I felt the need that I had to own all the books too. When I first starting reading Judy Blume all the books had just been republished with new covers. And I HAD TO HAVE THEM. There were times when I came across an old second hand copy, but no, they had to MATCH. (The Paula Danzigers were being published for the first time in the UK (or new) so that was no issue.) The Little House series was also being reprinted and it was the same for that. Ironically I really like the editions that came before mine, they have lovely simple covers. But when it came to books/authors that I liked I wanted them all! I wanted them to match! Maybe I’m just a bit fussy, but the whole matching covers thing is a clever marketing trick. Publishes do it all the time. Take the book ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. massively popular so the published re issued her previous two books in almost identical covers so fans of Gone Girl will easily spot them and buy/read them. Which is a bit of an insult really as inside most books is usually a list of ‘other novels by’ and do they think we are all to thick to think ‘ok, I will have a go at Ms Flynns other books, where will I find them? oh under F for Flynn’ But it works. Suckers we are.
My Enid Blyton school stories are a mixture of secondhand and bought new and they just Do Not Match.I stare at them on my bookshelf I think ‘no, don’t look right’. I also, as a teen and having Saturday job money, wanted to complete my ‘Ramona’ collection as I hadn’t got all of them in my own copies. However they too had been reprinted, but these covers were quite terrible. They had photos from a Canadian TV programme based on the books, and were just done quite badly. I have 4 of my Ramona books in these editions and I just don’t LIKE THEM. But I bought them because I wanted to complete the set. (Interesting fact time….the little girl who played Ramona is Sarah Polley now an award winning film writer/director.) Recently I did come across a 2nd hand copy of a newer edition of one, a much nicer cover. I bought it, but for some odd reason cannot bring myself to actually get rid of the old copy. Bit weird ? Yeah probably.
In the childrens book world it is very easy to collect books as often it’s never just a single book that is bought out. Oh it’s well planned. Many books are written to be part of a trilogy. Although some people may say the story could often be done without book one ending on a ‘cliffhanger and having to wait a year for the next instalment. (Latest trend…rewriting the whole trilogy in another characters point of view. If that can be done in one book, why can’t the original eh?). And then there are those that are a stand alone story but part of a series. Like Wimpy Kid. You could just read one, the story has it’s beginning middle and end. It doesn’t end with a exciting cliifhanger. You can just read that book and that’s that. Yeah right! That’s not gonna happen. You don’t just read ONE Rainbow Magic book – you have to read them ALL ! ALL! ALL! ALL 3684million in the series! Even books that aren’t part of a ‘one new every month type series’ they are always part of a series.I have just mentioned Wimpy Kid, but there is also Tom Gates, Alex Rider, The Cherub Series, Dirty Bertie etc are all part of that You Must Read Them All (or else?) type.
Even if you don’t go for these modern books there is still plenty out there to get collecting. Enid Blyton and Ladybird books are fairly popular. Classics are a good one, because you could go for the actual old copies type or slightly easier (and cheaper) is to get them all in the Puffin Classics paperbacks. Back in the 80s/90s there were lots of the ‘1 or 2 a month released’ type series. Sweet Valley, Babysitters Club, Goosebumps etc. There is a lot out there if you want to get collecting. And I have started to collect. Sort of. At the moment I am a bit all over the place in deciding what to go for. I am addicted to charity shops so I buy a lot of ‘that looks interesting’ and ‘I used to have that’. I need to actually pick a genre/series and go for it because at the moment I have various piles of randomness.
Anyway, I am afraid this is all I have time to write today so I am going to have to end this post on the dreaded cliffhanger….
What books shall I collect? What have I already got? What series is it that I need 2, 5 and 8?……..find out next time……!
Bye for now.
Oh, and speaking of cliffhangers. I finished reading book 2 of Robert Muchamores ‘Rock War’ series. Now that ending was a cliffhanger to the max. A drop the book in shock cliffhanger…..how long till book 3? Arrrrrrgh !