Day 24: January 24, 2013
Cranford by Mrs. Gaskell
Illustrated by Hugh Thomson
London and New York: Macmillan, 1892
I love this 1892 edition of Cranford, illustrated by Hugh Thomson. I remember pulling it off the shelf of a rare and used bookstore in downtown Salem, Massachusetts. I was just a year or two out of college and working at the Salem Public Library, and I frequently spend time browsing in the bookstore while waiting for the bus home after work. I forget exactly what the book cost — somewhere between $12, I believe, and although my then-husband and I were living on a tight budget, I had just cashed my paycheck and I impulsively bought the book. It was the time I ever bought a book that I thought of as rare rather than used, and I remember feeling guilty walking out with my purchase, but thrilled, too, thinking that I would have this book forever.
There were two other books on the shelf from the same illustrated series, and I wanted those too, but I refrained, thinking perhaps I would try to save up and buy them over the next few months. I loved the new thought of myself as not just a book lover, but a collector.
Later that week, the bookstore burned down. I never really became a book collector, but I still love this book.