When Lindsey commented on a Top Ten Tuesday post, I didn’t think anything beyond “Yes! Another blogger to follow!” But when she followed me on Twitter, and I saw she owned 9 copies of Jane Eyre, I immediately hammered her with enthusiasm. One thing led to another, and we pretty much discovered we’re near doppelgängers. So why not commemorate this happy accident with guest posts? Visit Lindsey’s blog, Bring My Books, to read my thoughts on Jane Eyre!
My love for Jane Eyre is a weird, weird thing. It is the only book I have ever read in bits and pieces, over a period of years. To this day, I have never read it all the way through start to finish, but rather a chapter here, a chapter there, skip four chapters, read this part again, read that part again, go back to chapter 1, ultimately reading all of the book but in nothing resembling the usual order. I have no idea how this ever happened, because normally I am one book at a time, start to finish. (One of my book goals for this year is to amend this and have a straight through reading!) For some reason, my relationship with Jane has always been anything but ordinary. Maybe it’s because she was anything but ordinary herself? Whatever the reason, I love Jane: her strength, her moral compass, her bravery, her resilience, her independence, her passion, and her inherent goodness.
This tatty edition was the first I ever owned, given to me by my best friend (who, by all accounts, should have never gone near Jane Eyre – it’s not her style at all!). She loved it and told me I needed to immediately read it. (What followed was what was mentioned above: my piecemeal reading).
This edition came shortly after a renewed fervor for Jane & Rochester, spurred on from a late night viewing of the Ruth Wilson PBS Masterpiece adaptation of the novel. My aforementioned friend was home from school on break, and asked if I had ever seen this particular version, and when I said I hadn’t, she told me she was coming over immediately. We settled into watching the 4 hour mini-series at around 11pm; our intention was to watch maybe the first 2 ‘episodes’, if that. About halfway through the 3rd episode (so around 2:30am), my DVD player broke. Did we take it as a sign that we should reconvene at a later date to conclude the watching? Um. No. We went out to a 24 hour Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest DVD player they had so we could finish what would eventually become my all-time favorite adaptation ever. (Sorry, Mia.)
This one came during my Penguin Putnam phase. I wanted everything Penguin Putnam (the Random House merger didn’t exist at this time); mugs, totes, games, postcards, books. I love everything Penguin does – they’ve managed to create so many incredibly iconic images and series. As soon as this edition came into the store, I was drooling over it – and then I found out it was Penguin and it sealed the deal. (Seriously though, gorgeous much?)
This edition was found at a little used book store in Richmond, VA a few years ago. Yet again, I have to mention my best friend. She found it first, and after seeing my puppy dog eyes, let me purchase it instead. (I hope she knows how grateful I am!!)
I found this one at Powell’s bookstore in Portland, Oregon last year. It was a perfect way to commemorate being at that absolutely amazing bookstore, and while it is not my favorite of my editions, it has a pretty good story tied to it. (My traveling partner basically had to drag me out of that place kicking & screaming!)
Keep an eye out for this Canterbury Classics series (published by Baker & Taylor) the next time you’re in a bookstore. They have an incredible feel to them, and I love the quotes on the back. Aesthetically speaking, this is one of my favorites.
This edition was gifted to me by a friend that knows my love for this book. She was surprised she had gotten me one that I didn’t already own (she was betting on having to return it and find a different copy!). I love that my friends know me so well, and are willing to aid me in my obsessions!
This. Is. Amazing. We were looking for fun display ideas last holiday season, and came across these graphic novel adaptations of classic novels. The best part is that they offered a “Classic Text” or a “Quick Text.” The classic text uses graphic novel illustrations with verbatim quotes from the original text, without altering them to better fit within the graphic novel. I love the illustrations and the originality of this edition.
Another used bookstore find, this one from Alexandria, VA. The main reason I picked this one up is because it was a textbook. Not like how you get 1 of 100 paperback copies of Old Man and the Sea with your school stamp put in it, with a note to return it by the end of the school year. This is a turtleback edition with an “Issued to:” “Date Returned” “School District” stamp in the front cover. It would have been an even more remarkable find had it ever been used, but alas – I heard the binding crack as I opened it. (How did it make its way to that bookstore, never once being opened?)
And. Oh my goodness, and. This. This is by far my favorite edition, and one of my most treasured books that I own. (I don’t care how big the fire is; me, my cats, and this book are coming out unscathed.) This is a box set of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights & Charlotte’s Jane Eyre printed in 1943 by Random House. It has absolutely stunning wood carving illustrations created by Fritz Eichenberg, and I could not imagine a better way to illustrate this two novels. The pictures are spooky and haunting and simply mesmerizing. I went to an estate sale with my boyfriend a few years back, and ran across a box set of these books that I proceeded to purchase for $4.00. (ERM. WHAT?) I was in a phase in my life where I thought I would enjoy cultivating an Etsy shop selling books: older editions, unique covers, quirky and whimsical titles. So what did I do? I sold it. Then about a week later went into a book induced depression after realizing that I loved that box set more than any sane person should, and I never should have sold it. About a month later, my boyfriend shows up at my door with another box set, this one actually in far better condition! (I’m telling you, that guy really is the best.)
So there you have it. My Janes.
I’ll leave you with this: I think the one resounding thing that has always stuck out to me about Jane Eyre is her dogged determination to be better than what those around her expect her to be. I have such admiration for that quality. Having had moments in my life where I felt the need to go beyond other’s expectations for me, I find it incredibly reassuring to know that she is waiting at home for me, reminding me that I have the strength to be my best self (even when it’s not the simplest course of action).
I will now leave you with a picture of me holding my Penguin Putnam Jane Eyre mug, wearing my Jane Eyre quote scarf, and carrying my Jane Eyre tote bag. #obsessedmuch
Do any of you own multiple copies of the same book? Has it ever led you to someone else with the same obsession?