My parents gave me a boxed paperback set of The Lord of the Rings when I was about 16. I think they were tired of David and me arguing over who got to read their copies. I kept that boxed set for many decades, returning to read the books several times over the years. But during this last film-associated reading, time and many handlings finally took their toll.
These are not my books, but this is exactly what they originally looked like:
This is what they look like now (these are my actual books):
I had been thinking of getting a new set for a long time. I gave it so much thought because I wanted certain features:
- a hardcover set in three separate volumes, preferably but not necessarily in a slipcase
- sewn bindings, not perfect bound
- cool illustrations (I really wanted Tolkien’s illustrations, but that feature was negotiable)
- dust jackets on the books
- fold-out maps of Middle Earth
- a reasonable price (meaning, reasonable to me)
But when I started looking around in the bookstores, I found that many of the copies were perfect bound. The ones that weren’t were way too expensive. I found very nice omnibus editions with leather-like covers but no dust jackets. I found that there were no more copies being printed with the fold-out maps. I thought about getting used copies, like ones from the 1960s that had fold-out maps. But when I checked out that option, I found that older editions in good condition with fold-out maps were also very expensive.
So I went without. But every time I passed my bookcase and cast my eyes on that pathetically ragged paperback boxed set, I thought, “I have got to find a new Trilogy.” (Yes, I know it’s not really a trilogy, but I’ve been calling it that for about 40 years.)
Well. Recently I found a set I could live with. It was one I had looked at previously – it had all the features I wanted except the Tolkien illustrations and the fold-out maps – but I had passed on it because of the price. Now it was on sale for like 70% off. So I bought it. It came in the mail last week and is very beautiful.
The cloth covering the boards is so soft, I wish had a pair of pajamas made out of that material.
Not only is it beautiful and meets almost all my specifications, but the dust jackets are so shiny that, if you position them just right, they reflect the light in such a manner that you can do shadow figures on them.
A dog (that looks kind of like Scooby-Doo):
Anyway, I'm almost afraid to read these new books because they’re so pretty.