Recently I got to thinking that I’ve never posted WHAT my top five “Whole Book Experience” books are. Seems like an interesting concept to mull over as I explore books through this blog, so I this list to change over time. I’ve limited it to books I actually have in my library. This is mostly because I need to read and spend some time with a book to see if it “qualifies” as a “whole book experience”. As I have limited funds and a finite number of books in my library, I suppose I’ll have to find a way to review books that I do not own at some point.
But without further ado, the top five are:
- The Arion Press Ulysses – I know, I know. Most of us have a love/hate relationship with this book, if we have any relationship at all. Except that instead of loving sometimes or hating it sometimes, people tend to just go one way or the other. For me, it’s love. Confused, “I don’t understand why I love you” love. But I do. I have several editions but the Arion Press edition definitely makes my top five. Go see this book if you are ever in San Francisco and able to visit the press.
- The Barbarian Pericles – Just last month I received my copy of the Barbarian Press Pericles and made the comment that it had already jumped right into my top five favorite books in my library. And that just with taking it out of the shipping box. In other words, the book as an object was so overwhelming that the play and commentary volume would have to be really bad for it to fall out of the top five. Since then, I’ve read through both the play and the commentary volume and it has definitely confirmed my first impression.
- The Arion Don Quixote – Somehow I left reading this book until late in life even though it would have been right down my alley in my teenage years. Nevertheless, I’ve now read it in a couple of editions (the Arion Press editions and the Easton Press Dore edition) and translations and have one more edition (the Folio Society limited edition) waiting on the shelf. The AP edition is simply an amazing reading experience.
- The LEC Toilers of the Sea – This one was a bit of a surprise for me as Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame were further up my reading list. But this copy of the LEC edition fell in my lap at a ridiculously low price and once I saw the illustrations and overall design of the book, I had to read it. A brilliant example of how to mesh type and illustration into literature. And a happy coincidence that moved this book up on my to-be-read list.
- The Folio Society Wind in the Willows – A childhood favorite (need to find the edition I read as a kid!) recreated with wonderful illustrations by Charles Van Sandwyk to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the book’s publishing. A full review is in the works and will be posted soon!