Midweek @ Musings: How my (Virago) Garden Grows

Three years ago I began collecting Virago Modern Classics, after getting to know some aficionados on LibraryThing.  I was especially attracted to the older editions, with their pretty dark green spines and luscious cover art.  For example, here are two of my favorites:

I enjoy hunting for these in used bookshops, and swapping with other LibraryThing members. I’ve also had tremendously good luck on Paperbackswap.  One day when I had nothing better to do, I added over 100 VMCs to my PBS wish list.  I’ve been surprised how many times I’ve struck gold!  Of the 36 VMCs added this year, 22 were wishes granted by Paperbackswap, and I’ve acquired over 40% of my total collection this way.

In my early days of collecting, I put my Viragos on a shelf with the rest of my “TBR pile.”  But by mid-2009, I’d amassed 100 VMCs, and decided it was time to give them a prominent place in my home.  I took over the center part of a large bookcase, filling almost 4 shelves.  The other day, as I was putting away my Virago Secret Santa gifts,  I realized it’s time to rearrange and organize again:

153 Virago Modern Classics

You’ll notice my 153 VMCs now fill 5 shelves, and then some.  The good news is, there’s room for more!   Beneath the bottom shelf is open space (not pictured because you wouldn’t believe how dusty it is, and I was too lazy to deal with it).   I could easily fit another shelf in there, which would allow me to expand my collection to about 200.  After that, I guess I’ll have to expand into the narrower sections of the bookcase on either side of those open doors.  These now house an assortment of history and gardening books, but don’t you think more green would be pretty?

I’m not sure what I’ll do if I ever outgrow the bookcase.  With over 550 VMCs, it’s certainly possible, but still a long way off!



8 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: How my (Virago) Garden Grows

    • Rachel, I’m surprised how quickly my collection has grown, especially because I don’t have benefit of Oxfam shops here (boo hoo). I do enjoy the “thrill of the chase,” but passive collecting via Paperbackswap has really paid off.

      As for unread Viragos … *blush* … I’ve read only 33! You inspired me to track a new statistic, and I’m pleased to report that each year I’ve read a few more than the previous year. But my acquiring still outpaces my reading by quite a bit!

  1. Wow! What a collection. I have been collecting them for a while but have only read a few. The problem I have of late do I buy all I find? They cost very little but some do not appeal at all. I seem to be drawn to the lovely covers. Thank you I enjoy your blog.

    • merilyn, I am a fairly indiscriminate collector: I find ’em, I buy ’em. I admit that sometimes the back cover descriptions don’t appeal to me, or make the book sound a bit humdrum. But I’ve never met a VMC I didn’t like, once I got around to reading it. So I say, acquire away!

  2. Wow! This is lovely. Mine are currently interspersed around all my other books (except the small number I have with me in Oxford – most of my books are still at my parents’ house) – but Virago Reading Week has inspired me to gather them all together, when I can.

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