I can’t be the only one who collects many editions of the same books in their collection. I have spoken to a couple of people who indeed find it hard to pass up different editions of their favourite books and this is just as true with Blytons. In fact even more so, and I want to have a look at why this might be.
Now as Fiona will confirm I have many versions of the same books, mostly Famous Fives (And Malcolm Saville’s Lone Pine adventures) and she doesn’t really get why. The only time she had double copies were because of the comparisons she’s been doing for the blog or to replace her copy that has worn out through no fault of its own.
I on the other hand, tends to scoop up any copy of the the books even if I have a copy, perfectly reasonable and usable at home. I don’t really know why I do pick up the copies but I am up for examining options. So lets get on with this.
- Different Editions: :Like all of us in the Blyton fan club we know how much our beloved author has had her work ‘updated’ to keep her in with the politically correct brigade. Names, money, characters even have had their names changed. So as an avid fan I like collecting the different editions, the different imprints to see in a rather studious way, when the changes started to appear in Blyton’s books. Do you?
- Presents: When I was younger I got a lot of my Blyton books as presents, in fact I even got one from my primary school crush which I still have. Part of the reason I held on to that on in particular was because it is the story of Five go to Demon’s Rocks with the cover of Five go off in a Caravan on the front. It’s a paperback from Hodder and I would like to think it is rather a rare find. Also I have Five on Kirrin Island Again a couple of times because I had my mid-nineties to early two thousands paperbacks, and my grandmother was always on the look out for them for me and brought me loads from the charity shops and then for my 21st birthday my parents brought me a first edition with dustjacket. I love my first edition, its awesome, but I just can’t really bring myself to part with the books that my grandmother brought me, mostly because she was such a key person in my life, the books still help me feel close to her. Have you had any duplicates as presents?
- It’s the only one in the shop: This is my most common one and most despaired by from Fiona. Every time I spot a nice hardback, bound copy of the Famous Five or Malory Towers or even a Malcolm Saville, I really really struggle with putting the book down and walking away. Especially if it’s a lone book in a shop. I tend to be a bit sentimental about the books and think that they need a home, a home with other friends of their kind, not these glossy paperbacks so helpfully donated to charity shops. I feel old books need to be nurtured and Blytons especially so because of the chopping and changing of the text. The older books have had a hard life, probably hidden in attics or at the back of book shelves and really just want to be in a nice comfy house with other books. Right?
- Not sure what I have at home: This bugs Fiona no end. She is super organised and has a list of every book she owns, either on a spreadsheet or very carefully catalogued on her Goodreads page (I wish I had her persistence to do such a thing!) The simple truth is I forget a lot of the time what I have at home, what edition and how much I paid for it, so if it’s an especially nice copy, and even with dustjackets and coloured plates I will buy it, whether I think I have it or not. Reasonable don’t you think?
- Dustjackets, covers and illustrations: My last reason is, as you may have guessed related to what I said in point four about the dustjackets and coloured plates in the earlier editions. Now I am a sucker for a dustjacket, especially a good condition one, and once brought a Five Run Away Together just for the dustjacket and the coloured plate in the front. I also like to get the ones with different covers, in particular I spent a lot of time trying to gather together each of the 21 Fives with the 1996 TV tie in covers. I have now succeeded, and they are being stored nicely in my room. These covers are sometimes quite tricky to get hold, given that the 90s TV series rather falls off the Blyton radar, and there aren’t all that many copies left. I had a couple when I was younger and the obsession with the Famous Five grew from there. I just had to have them.
Last but not least, illustrations, who could resist those beautifully drawn pictures by Eileen Soper? They really are something to behold. However I am about to admit to sacrilege here but once I got the Millennium editions from the library and they had coloured illustrations. When I was younger these sparked off my imagination and I desperately started trying to gather them, once again with my nan’s help I gained quite a collection before they quietly disappeared from shelves. I love those ones, they’re my main reading copies and are well loved. I think I’m allowed those!
There we are then, five reasons why I have so many editions of the Famous Five! Sorry it wasn’t the promised blog about cake, but I forgot to make it. I hope you didn’t mind this improvised blog, please let me know what you think and why you have more than one edition of a Blyton book!