When I was younger – and much more foolish about how I expected my future to be – I thought that I’d be fortunate enough (somehow) to be able to collect first editions of my favorite books.
I recently rediscovered a list of the books I had planned to eventually purchase:
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Othello by William Shakespeare
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is a short list, all things considered. Back when I wrote it, I thought owning first editions of these titles would somehow get me respect. I thought people who would eventually visit me would be impressed.
Back then, I thought that was what would matter – impressing other people. Obviously, that isn’t true.
I own copies of all of these books. They’re not first editions. Nobody cares about my books except me.
And I like it that way.