Ethan Frome

So as some people – but not many – know, I collect Ethan Frome books. I’m not very far along yet (I have seven different editions, there are probably dozens if not close to a hundred in existence), but it’s a fun and admittedly kind of weird hobby.

I’m not really sure how it all started. For some reason, Ethan Frome was one of my favorite books from high school, probably because a lot of the main character’s emotions rang true with me too at the time, although it’s not like I think it’s the greatest book ever. It’s a good read, and short enough that I usually re-read it every couple of years (in wintertime, of course).

Anyway, I had my high school copy, which was a collection of Edith Wharton stories, nothing special. Then one day I found a 1922 Ethan Frome book at a garage sale, a quirky copy because the pages were actually upside down from the cover. I bought it for 10 cents.

Then when Lauren and I went to New York, I found a cool illustrated edition at The Strand bookstore, and from then on I just decided if I ever found an interesting copy of the book I would buy it.

Some versions are really common and not that exciting, so I try not to get those. I also like to see if I can find it at notable bookstores; for example, I bought that copy at The Strand in New York, one at Powell’s in Portland, and most recently, one at Green Apple in San Francisco. There’s a really beautiful, old edition at Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood that I’ve had my eye on, but I haven’t been able to convince myself to buy it for $38. I think part of the fun is just stumbling upon an old copy that’s going for a dollar, like that garage sale find (still my favorite one).

[My collection so far…with Paul Simon in the background:]

So if you ever see an old copy of Ethan Frome and need to get me a Christmas present or something, please know that I would enjoy it very much. :)

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