Usually aint my cup of tea, but New Victorian
has graciously hit me with one of those meme-thingies. Though I will not go all the way with it, in terms of spreading the virus, I will try to respond to the first two inquiries in a way that's not too boring for blogdom.
This is the "Hefty Books" meme.
1. Name your three biggest non-reference books (excluding the Bible and text books).
I'm with NV on this one -- "The Complete Shakespeare", Yale edition in my case. Nice to have in a way, and got it in a bargain rack for $30. But I only had to slog through one play in this thing -- leaning over the 50 lb spread and squinting to make out the text, flipping to obscure locations to find the explanatory notes, the bulk of which are picayune -- before I implemented the policy of going to a used book store and buying a smaller edition when I actually want to read the Bard. Best Shakespeare buy: an old Everyman edition, pocket size, of all the History Plays and the Sonnets, with thin but sturdy paper, clear print, and a handy glossary of obscure words in the back. Cost me $1 at a flea market . . . .
I don't know if I'd consider any other non-reference books of mine 'hefty'. My recently purchased Encyclopedia of Saints (OSV) is fairly large, as are my Eerdmans early Church Fathers editions of Augustine and Crysostum and some Ecumenical Councils. None of these things is massive. All are boxed and sitting several states away in my brother's garage until he visits me at my new place . . . .
2. Name your three biggest reference books.
My biggest is Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of you-know-which language. It has a lexicon and some color maps in the back and other glitzy junk that might have some value, but it cannot stack up against the antique (late 19th century) Websters my parents inherited from one of my ancestors. That thing is printed on the thinnest (yet strong) paper in the world, and must be 2-3,000 pages long. It doesn't even have the pretentious title 'Encyclopedic', but it is infinitely meatier than mine. Almost every other word is illustrated with a small, attractive ink drawing of the thing it refers to, and every one has full etymology and samples of exemplary literary usage (not first usages as in the OED). That old book is hefty in more than one sense. As with the Everyman above, it lays to rest any notion of progress in society, at least in recent centuries . . . .
My Oxford-Duden is pretty big. That name should reveal to die Kennende
what the thing is, though my German has deteriorated so much in past years that I'm 80% sure I butchered the two little words I chose to use. (The dictionary is in my office and cannot help me at this late hour.)
I also have a French-English dictionary -- the publisher eludes me at the moment -- which is old and pretty heavy. It is solidly built, thicker than heck though not particularly tall or wide, and has a pink section in the middle with Latin phrases and their French equivalents. I could ask for a wider selection of sayings, but the thing is large on quality as well as possessing noticable mass.
The heftiest book I consult regularly is the Summa Theologica
, in an old Benziger Brothers edition split into three volumes of 1,000 oversize pages each. It is a beautiful piece of work, but unfortunately does not belong to me, but to my school's library. I would like to rescue one from a dusty rack one day, but thus far have had no luck in locating a neglected specimen. (Well, the library copies I've used are probably not taken out every day either. But with me they have had a temporary loving home.) On that day I will have to do this meme over again.
3. Tag three others.
Think I'll pass. But anyone who would like to compare the girth of their library to mine is welcome to leave comments!