How to become a literary snob….

Okay, maybe not an actual snob.  But editions can matter even for the casual reader. Yes, the story within is the same, but certain editions – especially for the classics – are meant to enhance your understanding and reading enjoyment and it can be worth your time to seek out these editions.

Take, for example, the New York Public Library Collector’s Editions, produced by Doubleday.

Sister carrie

These versions of well-known classic novels are delightfully augmented with unique material which makes the text of the novel more understandable and much more enjoyable.

Each edition includes a biography of the author, as well as uber-cool facsimiles of the author’s original letters, diaries, drawings and rough-drafts. 

Sister Carrie Manuscript

page of the original manuscript of Sister Carrie

Also included throughout the text are drawings and/or photographs of many of the settings found in the novel which is a fabulous way to understand the era in which the novel was produced… other words, you’re getting a bonus history lesson.

Sister Carrie News Article

An advertisement for the play in which Carrie makes her debut in Chicago in the novel Sister Carrie

The books used to be available for purchase at the New York Public Library back when they were first released in the mid-1990’s, but these days you’re going to have to find them at a used books store (you can find a full list of the publications here).

far from the madding crowd

So if you’re going to force yourself to read a classic (and admittedly, we all profess to want to read them), you can induce a coma by slogging through reading this:


Or you can actually learn about the book and suffer less enjoy your time spent reading by hunting up a New York Public Library Collector’s Edition.

Congratulations….now you’re a book snob.

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