Thursday, May 13, 2004


Have you ever been obsessed with a book? I can't say that I have. Sure, there have been some books in my life that I thought were great and told people about them whenever possible. But I've never been obsessed. Have you ever been so obsessed with a book that you bought more than one copy? Obviously I haven't. My Bookman has however. One book in particular comes to mind, M.K. Wren's A Gift Upon the Shore. It's a great book, but my dearest felt compelled "rescue" the book from used bookstores whenever he came across it. This went on for several months. We had one first edition hard cover that stayed in mylar on the bookshelf, but the beat up paperbacks that had been rescued were "reading copies" and would be loaned out to anyone my beloved could foist them upon. Sometimes the book would come back, often times it wouldn't. I haven't caught him rescuing any for a long time now, but I do know that this remains one of his all time favorites. So maybe you've been obsessed enough like my husband to rescue copies of a book or to give everyone on your holiday gift list the same book because you wanted them all to read it. But have you ever been so obsessed with a book that you wanted to track down every single edition ever published? That's what Sid Huttner is doing with his Lucile Project The Lucile project is an attempt to identify at least one surviving copy of each of the 2000 and some odd editions of Lucile by Owen Meredith. Huttner's obsession began innocently enough. After he and his wife moved to Tulsa in 1984 they began to notice the book, always in different editions, in antique shops. So they started buying the books thinking them an interesting example of 19th century cloth bindings. Now they own about 750 copies. More than a little obsessed. There is no indication that Huttner has read the book. I wonder if he has? I'd like to think so. I'm curious to know what the book is about. It must have been a best seller for its time if there were so many editions. It is an interesting idea, this project, but I must admit I am more than a little baffled. I mean, what in the end will be gained by such an endeavor? As far as obessions go though it could be worse.