One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Hardcover book published by Jonathan Cape 1970 (first British edition), 422 pages.
When I first started selling books all those years ago (it seems like a lifetime ago), I thought how wonderful it would be to have a hardcover copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude to sell… maybe even a first edition… but any hardcover would suffice. This was a nice thought and in hindsight a little strange as I’d already been looking around for a hardcover of this classic for at least a dozen years before that, to no avail. So I knew it wasn’t a common book. In the last 9 years I have found zero copies. It’s not a title that I actively seek out or anything strange like that, it’s just a title that I occasionally think of and wishfully hope that one day I will find a copy of.
A few years back I read an article by someone who was a lot more in the know than I was/am about this book and i learnt how rare (and $$$) it actually is.* It’s a little disheartening when you discover that something you aspire to is probably next to impossible to find. So when I did finally find a copy, I was a little gobsmacked. There it was sitting on a shelf, waiting for me to buy it. There were lots of other books sitting next to it, that weren’t waiting for me to buy them, it was only this one that was waiting. At first I thought I had made a mistake… yeah I know, this is hard to believe, but this does happen. On closer inspection, but without removing the treasure from the shelf, I was able to confirm, that it was a hardcover One Hundred Years of Solitude with dust jacket. I stood there a little bewildered, shocked and scared (yes, scared). Finding a book like this is not something that normally happens to me. Lights started flashing and heroic music started playing… I then pulled the book off the shelf in slow motion and holding it with both hands, waved it around above my head, all the while grinning from ear to ear. …. At least that’s how I imagine this event will be portrayed in the biopic of my life, as it didn’t happen like this at the time.
Looking around the interwebs, it’s actually the American first that is slightly more desirable as apposed to this British first. But who cares, I certainly don’t. I have achieved what I consider the nearly unachievable… at least I have achieved what I have never achieved before. Life of course will never be the same after this… at least my book hunting adventures wont be the same… except of course if I were to find the few Celine titles that I’m missing from my own personal collection… or if I find any of the other millions of books of interest out there, that are sitting on shelves, waiting for me to buy them.
*I can’t remember who wrote it. Possibly Gekoski? Any ideas?