Today’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you could travel back in time to purchase the first printing of a specific novel, what book would that be?
Seems to me there’s two ways to approach this…is this a book I’d buy to keep and cherish, or is it an investment? If we’re looking at it as an investment, than the three that come to mind (although none are actually novels) are the Gutenberg Bible, a Shakespeare First Folio, and Action #1 comic book (the first Superman story). I think any of those would be a very tidy investment!
Aside: I saw a First Folio once in Stratford, and just for fun I tucked one into the Phantom’s bookshelf in my Phantom trilogy, on the theory that he has a lot of money, and they may have been less sought after 140 years ago anyway. I don’t call it a First Folio, just mention the title sitting on the shelf in one paragraph–and Hamlet, surprisingly enough, has a bit of a prominent role in the story. /End Aside.
If we say I can buy the book but not re-sell it, then of course my brain goes towards L. M. Montgomery. I probably wouldn’t get a first edition Anne of Green Gables (although I do have a “Thirty-Eighth Impression” 1914 copy, which I believe to be in the style of the first edition–$10, I kid you not). I’d actually rather have a first edition of The Blue Castle, seeing as it’s my favorite.
Truth is, I’m not that enthralled with first editions, though. I’d much rather have a signed copy of a favorite book than a first edition. The cheapest L. M. Montgomery signed book I can find online is over $1,000 though, so…not something I’m purchasing! At least, not right now. 🙂 But if I could time-travel to buy a book, see Montgomery and have it signed…yeah, that would definitely be what I’d do!
I’d also be rather tempted to get pre-first editions–to get a Strand magazine edition of a Sherlock Holmes story, or the original magazine installments of A Princess of Mars or The Phantom of the Opera. I think that would be great fun!
If you could time-travel to buy a book, what would you get? Would you sell your purchase, or would you buy something sentimental?
2 thoughts on “Blog Hop: Time-Travel Book Browsing”
I’m much more interested in a personally signed copy than a first edition. I’d get Madeleine L’Engle to sign A Wrinkle In Time before it got popular, and J.K. Rowling to sign an early edition of Harry Potter before she became famous. I’d go back and get Mary Stewart to sign a copy of several of her books. I’d get Heinlein to sign Stranger in a Strange Land, and have Conan Doyle sign Hound of the Baskervilles. I’d get one of my Madeleine Brent books signed. And I’d have John Wyndham sign a fresh new copy of Re-Birth. Just off the top of my head…
Maybe Gone With the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird. Both are classics and, besides being books I’ve owned, read, and enjoyed, I wonder if a first edition would be worth some money by now?