I was delighted when Al-Manar wrote a post about The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck a famous noble prize winner author in his blog recently and with his permission I am writing a bit about my copy of The Good Earth.
I commented as follows on his posting...
Pakcik...I am delighted to let you know that this same copy of The Good Earth was in our house and I was in my early teens when I read it in the early seventies. It must have belonged to one of my older brothers who were all educated in English School then in the fifties. Pearl S. Buck has been one of my favourite authors since then and now I owned several more of her books. I was in Kinokuniya KLCC in 2009 as usual browsing for more books to read when I came upon The Good Earth in a glass case, without hesitating I bought it at a cost of RM60.17 and to imagine that it only cost you RM1.80 in the fifties! I would like to share here what Pearl S. Buck wrote on a page of the book I bought..."I am always glad when any of my books can be put into an inexpensive edition, because I like to think that any people who might wish to read them can do so. Surely books ought to be within the reach of everybody"...
Have a nice day Pakcik and you bring a smile to my face mentioning Pearl S. Buck :)
Al Manar responded back as follows...
Take a picture of your RM60.17 book and put it side by side with my old RM 1.80 copy. You will write an interesting posting. Of course you have my permission to copy part of this posting. I said the same to puan Nhasobahseliman above. You both have a little interesting true story to post in your blog.
I wonder how that expensive book look like. I think I will tell my readers to order their copies from Pakcik! I will make 'private copies' of my old The Good Earth for about RM 10.00. After all my original copy is more than 60 years old, way past their copy right, I should imagine.
Living where I am I do not have access to good bookshops and book sales which are often held in KL. On the other hand I would be spending on books and books which are stored unread.
So I hope you will have a posting on the strange price of The Good Earth when the author has been long gone. Who benefits from that when it was the writer's wish to see her book in as many hands as possible at low price?
This is a copy of Al-Manar's The Good Earth purchased on 13th March 1954 for $1.80!
This is the edition that I bought in 2009 at a cost of RM60.17. The price is kind of absurd but what choice do we have now when it comes to a good read.
Yes, it has been over 60 years when the first edition of The Good Earth was published in 1931 and this is Pearl' second novel after East Wind, West Wind published in 1930, her first. It focuses on a Chinese woman, Kwei-lan, and the changes that she and her family undergo. If I am not mistaken my elder sister bought this book in the seventies and like the original copy of The Good Earth it is nowhere to be found now.
The Good Earth comes in a trilogy with Sons in the second volume and A House Divided in the third volume, both too cost me a bit of money but then I cannot have enough of Pearl S. Buck...
Postscript: Let it be known to anyone who reads this post and happen to know me personally and intend to borrow these books I am sorry I cannot fulfill that request...can't afford to lose more books which are not returned, if you are a book lover you will know what I mean....cheerio!
A link to Al-Manar's interesting posting on The Good Earth..http://almanar-nuri.blogspot.com/2014/09/books-over-theyears-part-1-pearl-s-buck.html