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Re: Americans collecting British books
Just can't stay away
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Ulmo wrote:
For HoMe, Sil, UT, the American first editions are all really nice.



Ulmo wrote:
I can’t help but love the Barbara Remington LotR paperbacks.


Goes back to what I said before: it is all a matter of personal taste and you should collect what makes you happy. Personally, I find things made for the European market more appealing; I guess this extends to books.

Regarding Sil and UT, I find UK first prints to be classy and elegant while also matching the spirit of the book. USA first editions use "more exciting" colors and images as if trying too hard to stand out, and they just don't work for me. In my opinion Barbara Remington's covers take this approach to an exponential level.

Relevant read (The Professor's opinion on Barbara Remington's illustrations for The Hobbit): http://stuartbuck.blogspot.com/2004/12/another-tolkien-letter.html

Posted on: 11/16 10:57:10


Re: Americans collecting British books
Shirrif
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Ulmo wrote:
Some of your British editions which are self-consciously deluxe and expensive without serving up anything feeling particularly fantastic or medieval might seem to us to miss the point.


Don't worry, I think even we think they miss the point. Personally, I'm only really interested in collecting "standard" editions of books, although there was a time that collecting "deluxe" editions was of interest. Now everything has an (allegedly) deluxe edition, it seems a bit silly. More so, when the work is bottom-of-the-barrel stuff.

Posted on: 11/16 0:13:08


Re: Americans collecting British books
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There is definitely an “American” side of me that blanches at the omnibus and thrills at the cheap, thin paperback that one can almost literally devour. I can’t help but love the Barbara Remington LotR paperbacks, because they scream “read me” like nothing else (the John Howe BoLT paperbacks come close).

As for tacky faux deluxe books (the red leatherette LotR, etc.), they are essentially props. You are meant to imagine they are what Bilbo’s Red Book of Westmarch, with Translations from the Elvish, might really have been like. It’s all part of the fantasy. Some of your British editions which are self-consciously deluxe and expensive without serving up anything feeling particularly fantastic or medieval might seem to us to miss the point.

Posted on: 11/15 23:04:00


Re: Americans collecting British books
Shirrif
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My take on it is that Americans really embraced the mass-market book, and that quality of construction or design was never that important, whereas the Commonwealth countries - for whatever reason - put more emphasis on well made and styled books, so we just have a bit of a historical legacy which makes the British stuff a bit more appealing for some.

I've also noticed that American style can be quite gaudy (e.g. Easton press, which takes tacky to extremes), whereas that hasn't really been a "thing" in the UK for a long time. I guess it was maybe the Americans trying to emulate the gaudy styles of European royalty. The better quality (in constructiuon) American books tend to be very tacky because they are pretending to be something they are not.

We simply have different histories and it has shaped the products we like. I must admit, I do like the American first impressions of HoME, and I have a set (albeit I have only a couple of other American editions).

Posted on: 11/15 21:45:24


Re: Americans collecting British books
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Having owned a mid 90s Ford Taurus I can never shake the bias that anything American made is somehow lesser, plus our book stores are generally atrocious and have become pseudo coffer bars, toy stores, pop culture knick knack shops, you name it. I suppose the Brits aren't known for their solid cars, but in general the feeling I have is that anti-intellectualism is more of a thing in the US than in the UK (though my experiences are largely confined to being in London for weeks (not months) at a time).

Posted on: 11/15 20:42:40



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