This post was inspired by a couple of gifts that I received from my boyfriend for my birthday. He gave me a really old copy of my favourite book Pride and Prejudice and a really old copy of a Dickens that I shockingly haven’t read: Oliver Twist. I actually surprised myself with how made up I was with them. I mean, I am a book lover so it’s a safe bet that buying me a book will be a popular gift but, I have never sourced old books, not of this nature anyway. I’ve purchased second-hand a few times but nothing that I would class as antique. These two books are well-made, well read, and what you could call past their best. By this I mean that they are delicate, the pages are not as tightly bound as they would have been but for me that makes them even more precious and even more beautiful.
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I love that they have survived, I love to imagine where they have travelled and through whose hands they have passed. For me there is something rather romantic about a really old book, particularly books that are classics, because their popularity is well established and they must have been read extensively.
With this in mind I would say that I love old books more than new books. However, when I look at my copy of Pride and Prejudice I find myself wondering if I will pick it up when I next reread it or if I will be afraid of damaging it and reach for my other copy instead. The same applies with Oliver Twist. Now that I have it in my possession I really want to read the story, but again I worry how delicate it is. Don’t get me wrong, they are both in great condition for their age but they aren’t in great condition overall if that makes sense, and I would hate to ruin either one by not being careful enough. Equally I would hate to not be able to fully disappear into the story because I am too preoccupied with how I am handling the book.
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I have found myself wondering if I should pick up a cheap copy of Oliver Twist to have as my reading copy and keep this one as a decoration. But then, how much damage could I do? It’s not like I’m destructive with my books when I’m reading and these two have survived this far after all. Besides, books are meant to be read aren’t they? Or do they tell a story just by existing and prompting discussions like this post?
What would you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Do you prefer new or used books?
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!
Until the next time…Jess x