A few years ago I became quietly possessed with an urge to own the entire set of Harvard Classics.
The Harvard Classics are a series of books encapsulating much of the thinking and philosophy of western civilization. How they came to be is, I think, fascinating reading.
However, the likelihood of purchasing a complete set was low. Sets were often in the hundreds of dollars from eBay or other sources. So for the past few years I've been assembling a set piecemeal from various thrift stores or used bookstores as I came across various volumes. So far I'd accumulated about half the set.
To digress momentarily, our local library is being dismantled and will shortly be bulldozed because our town is the proud owner of a brand spanking new library set to open July 5. Last Saturday the library had a salvage auction extraordinaire. (I bid on a bunch of bookshelves but didn't win, darn it.) However the head librarian had called me earlier and said she was selling the entire set of Harvard Classics for - drum roll please - a buck apiece. She knew my interest in the series. Did I want them?
So as of last Saturday I am the proud owner of the entire, complete, matched set of the Harvard Classics! This set was printed in 1910. I've already read a few of the volumes and found them surprisingly readable and unexpectedly interesting. Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations"? Boring as hell. I read fifty pages and put it down. But the Golden Sayings of Epictetus? Fascinating. The Greek dramas? Who'da thunk? (The Greek comedies - I was clueless.)
While we still have to find a suitable place to shelve these beauties, I look forward to many years of edifying - if slow - reading.