I remember the first time I read Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. My British Lit professor suggested the book for my final paper–and I was so irritated by the final page because I had specifically noted my distates for depressing tales. But wasn’t it wonderfully written? she asked. Though I couldn’t argue, I’m not sure I said as much. I’m sure my response was mature–a brief shrug of my shoulders, for instance, quickly followed by a change in topic.

Now that I’m older, I’m glad she made the suggestion. Because of her, I read a book outside my comfort zone–and, whether admitted or not– I enjoyed it.

Today I’d enjoy adding this rare first edition, from The Manhattan Rare Book Company, to my library…