Except for a brief stint when I was 10 or so, and I thought collecting clowns was a great idea (until I figured out that I actually thought clowns were creepy, not cute at all), I have never really been a collector. My sister collected cats. My dad collected -- still does -- Coke Houses. My mom collected Hummels and Precious Moments and teapots and silverware and most especially quilts. I had some baseball cards, but not really a respectable collection. I had an American Girl Doll and a couple of her accessories, but an actual collection.
I've been thinking about collections because of one of the books I'm reading, A Gentle Madness by Basbanes. It has been outlining some of the most fantastic collections of books through history around the world, and this idea of a book collection -- especially a very selective, very narrow and excellent book collection -- really appeals to me.
So here's my collection: Autographed books.
Not just any books, of course. Only excellent books written by people I really admire, and books that I actually intend to read (or already have read). Most of the titles in my collection come from book signings I have been to, which means, I also met the author (or illustrator) who signed my book. It is not a huge collection, of course, but I am very happy for the few I have. Here is a list of titles (perhaps if they are someday auctioned off, you might refer to this as the initial catalog):
A Chance to Die, the Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot
The Journals of Jim Elliot by Elisabeth Elliot
Culture Shift by R. Albert Mohler
Humility, True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney (okay, actually not signed, but I kept something he wrote his name on and put it in my book, so I think it counts)
Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Love to Eat, Hate to Eat by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Meet Addy by Melodie Benson Rosales (the original illustrator who modeled Addy after her daughter, whom I also met!)
The Felicity Collection by Valerie Tripp
Jessica by Kevin Henkes (my former boss had him sign a bookplate for me so I could put it in my favorite book of his -- I chose Jessica).
Hmm. On this end, my collection seems pretty small. I see why it is an impulse for those slightly touched collectors to nearly go mad getting the books they want. It is not merely a matter of money, or else the very richest people of all would have only the best collections. It is a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and knowing what to look for. Like anything else, this hunger for MORE books, is fueled by our base passions -- namely greed.
***Contest update: Good news, we got in the special prize designed and sent to the manufacturers by yours truly. If you are still in the running, this unique little baby could be yours! If not, I will be letting you know in a later post how you can buy your own. :) Stay tuned.