Please excuse me if this all sounds terribly contrived, and worse, inspired by a mediocre chick flick.
Have you seen Definitely, Maybe? It stars Ryan Reynolds (yum), and the smoking hot triumvirate Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, and Isla Fisher, as well as a perky Abigail Breslin. It’s worth a rainy afternoon watch, I guess. Anyway, one of the characters, April (Isla) has loads of copies of Jane Eyre. Why? Because years ago her dad gave her a copy with an inscription in the front before he died, but then it was lost. She’s spent years trying to track it down, and while doing so, she buys every copy she finds with an inscription.
Well, I just loved that; not the dying father part, because that’s clearly heart-breaking, but multiples of the same book.
So, I decided I wanted to start collecting lots of copies of the same book (see what I mean about ‘contrived’?). I wasn’t going to copy exactly, besides, Jane Eyre is pretty darn bulky, but then I had to put on my thinking cap. It couldn’t just be any book. I wanted to collect lots of different editions, and there aren’t many to choose from with the latest bonkbuster, for example. Also, the book has to be worthy. It should be an easy choice; it should be a book I already adore, but I adore so many books.
My first thought was Austen, but Pride and Prejudice is my friend’s favourite book; I couldn’t take that away from her, and none of her others speak to me as strongly. So, the Brontes? Not Jane Eyre. And Wuthering Heights isn’t exactly cheerful reading. No Shakespeare – I want prose. I’ve never really adored Dickens (outrageous, I know).
Eventually, with the help of aforementioned friend, and The Guardian‘s The Top 100 Books of all Time, I found my book. To Kill a Mockingbird!
It’s a perfect fit. I was introduced to it by my favourite English teacher. It’s a cracking story, and is beautifully written. The film adaptation with Gregory Peck is glorious. I always fancied calling my daughter Scout. Done deal. And so, the picture at the top is my first (and already owned) copy. From now on, I’ll be scouring bookshops, charity shops, flea markets and more. I’ll keep you updated.