Because I obviously don’t own enough books that I have yet to read, I have a wish list of books I want to get my little greedy hands on. The grand list opens with…
#1 The Wordsworth Collection of Classic Short Stories (ISBN: 9781840222708) Did I mention I love the family company Wordsworth Editions?
I first came across this publisher by a faithful encounter (which I at that time thought was just a nice incident) almost four years ago (August 12th 2009, to be exact), when I picked up my (now-re-reading) copy of Pride and Prejudice for 2.99 EUR from a bargain bin. I thought the cover was pretty, the layout and the color pleasing; and it was cheap and smelled very good. Two days later, I bought Wordsworth Editions’ Jane Eyre and Sense and Sensibility. I loved leafing through the huge container full of Wordsworth books (the company’s, not the poet’s). Sadly, heartbreakingly sadly, the book store closed two or three years ago, and those three books were all that I bought from the “Wohlthat’sche Buchhandlung” in Tiergarten, Berlin. The same year I bought Emma by Jane Austen.
Then nothing for a long, long time because my English -and my interest in classics- wasn’t deep enough for me to buy any. The book that broke this spell was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. It was given to me as a gift from an acquaintance of my father’s (a very nice lady, I might add) when I was in Dublin, Ireland. I remember being pleased about the book because, well, Wordsworth.
Last year I started collecting a few classics from Wordsworth Editions; my first batch contained Northanger Abbey, Wuthering Heights (I had already read this by that time but in German), Agnes Grey and The House of Mirth. With the next order I became more adventurous and chose authors I have never heard of before, with the exception of Frances Hodgson Burnett, whose The Secret Garden I’d read in Korean as a child and loved the story and the setting so much. The two authors I took a chance on were John Galsworthy with his The Forsyte Saga and Elizabeth Gaskell, whose Wives and Daughters and Cranford & Selected Stories caught my fancy. Somewhere between those two orders I bought Shirley and Villette by Charlotte Brontë because I was so fascinated by her life.
This year’s addition include Bleak House, Persuasion, Madame Bovary, and soon-to-be-added Mary Barton and North and South.
I just can’t get enough of books by Wordsworth Editions, especially because the introductions written by different scholars for different books are insightful, and help me understand the novel better, whose foreign proverbs and customs leave me feeling lost. (I kind of regret having bought this Complete Plays of Shakespeare ebook because mere words can’t enlighten me on the brilliance of William Shakespeare; I need contexts. I’m thinking of collecting them in Wordsworth fashion, especially since they claim to be “[p]robably the best Shakespeare in the world.“)
So this Short Story Collection is another wishful thinking on my part, hopefully soon to be added.
#2 Lady Susan and Other Works by Jane Austen (ISBN: 9781840226966) Moving right on, my bony finger points at the only Austen works I do not own yet. I’m not sure why I am so fascinated by the lady’s works; probably because Austen was pretty much the only
Victorian (Edit: Georgian – thanks Phoebe!) author who interested me for a long time.
#3 The Brontës by Juliet Barker (ISBN: 9780349122427) Since The Mist on the Brontë Moor by Aviva Orr, my nosy curiosity about the Brontë sisters has extended to their brother, Branwell Brontë. In the book The Mist on the Brontë Moor, the protagonist lands in 19th century England – smack in the middle of the young Brontë siblings! The fact that the book is self-published removed also some of my prejudice against self-published books, by the way.
Anyway, the back cover of Juliet Barker’s The Brontës claims that the book shines a different light on the Brontë family, so I’m game. The book is insanely expensive -about 20 EUR- but I will get this book. Sometime.