I was thinking today about my earlier idea of one day owning all 100 novels. So far, I've checked eight out from the library, borrowed two from a friend, and own a copy of one. I probably won't read 95 of them ever again, but it could serve as a sort of trophy case for having read through the list.
As I day dreamed about the possibilities of owning all 100, my vision became quite clear. A tall mahogany shelf, lined with leather-bound copies of each book, all being embraced by the beam of a single lamp overhead. I think of it as something you'd find in an Agatha Christie mystery, lining the room where the guests all meet to sip brandy and talk about the recent murder. As they discuss who done it, and lightning flashes through the floor-to-ceiling windows, while thunder rattles the lamps which light the room.
Of course I don't have a Victorian-era mansion, and most likely never will. The bookshelf however, still might be a possibility. In order to fill the shelf, I did some on-line research to check the availability of first editions of some of these books. Looking on The Manhattan Rare Book Company website, I was able to find over half the books I've read so far. Unfortunately, as easy as they were to find, it appears they will be equally as difficult to finance. I found a first edition of Beloved, signed by Toni Morrison, for only $600. A first edition copy of Light in August can be had for $6500 and The Great Gatsby for $6800. The most shocking however, was the price of a first edition copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which can be yours for the bargain price of $17,500!
I've decided to return to the goal of simply having a copy of each book on my shelf, be it the first edition or the 500th edition. They can be paperbacks for all I care.