Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pictures coming...

This is a quick post (after the monster one done today before this) which is just a note that I PLAN to put up some pictures of what we've been doing these last two weeks. I've got book fair pictures (I think), Scout pictures, Baseball pictures, book pictures... and who knows what else.

When I get time (hopefully today) I'll get them up with some description....

12 days without a post... hmmm... and SIGNED Ansel Adams

First off -- I did go to the Gold Rush Book Fair and had a great time (well, partly, but more on that in another post).

I was hoping to get back and have some nice blog entries right after the fair.... obviously, that didn't work out.

Kids being out on summer vacation definitely change the picture of getting work done (two + months to go...) and then we've had a bit of travel to visit relatives over Memorial Day Weekend, which pushed my time further out of whack (and on top of that, my trusty laptop has finally, after six years, decided that it really doesn't want to shoulder on and it's not worth taking anywhere, so I was basically computer-less during the book fair, and during the travel weekend.) I'm not whining, mind you, I can live without the computer attached to me all the time, but the blog did get behind in the meanwhile.

Ok --

The book pictured here is a real puzzler (what in my life recently, hasn't been a puzzler?)

I found this while traveling up to the book fair (and NO I won't tell people where I found it) and at first glance, though Yeah... a nice, SIGNED Ansel Adams title. Now Adams didn't really sign a great deal of his books for people, so signed editions are at a real premium and that was a GOOD thing.

So, being the capitalist that I am (realist actually, I want to pay the bills and feed the ever hungry kids) I put a decent, but not exorbitant price on the book and set it up in my book fair booth for people to buy. I got LOTS of looking. Lots of picking up and handling. But lots, again, of people putting it back down again.

Hmmm.. Signed Ansel Adams, nice condition.... what's going on?

Well, I get it home and think to myself that I'll do a bit more research on the book just because (one gets an inking on things like this).

Turns out, the first edition of this book was published 1983, which is the year before Adams died. This particular copy is a third printing -- copyright 1984. Hmm...

I check Wikipedia (and a bibliography page for Adams as well, etc.) and find out that he died in 1984 (April to be exact).

Still possible that everything is hunky-dory, I just have to verify that the 3rd printing was available before April 1984.

Hmmm.... not as easily done. I tried to check Books in Print for that year, nothing. I emailed the New York Graphic Society (no response so far). Checked with other dealers... not much to go on.

So I put the book aside for a few days to wait for inspiration to hit.

Try to check with dealer associates again - this time, give more detailed information about what I'm trying to do. I get an answer that helps out immensely.

BUT --

finally, I take a look at the dust jacket and most particularly the rear dust jacket blurb....

which mentions Adam's death in 1984. Drat!

But... again,

all is not lost.

Dealer friend comes back with information that makes it VERY possible that this item is in fact signed by Adams (now, a small bit of additional info for you... so far, as far as most experts can tell, there has been little to no forging of Adams signature (except on forged photographs -- which is a slightly different animal). Dealer has a copy of this same book, also signed -- but his copy comes with a leaflet from the publisher stating that a number of copies were signed by Adams just before his death to give to family and friends.

So, through my research, I believe that this IS an actual Ansel Adams signature -- and that it was done before (obviously) his death in April of 1984 with the help of his publisher -- that copies of the bound book, produced sometime late 1983 or early 1984 were given to him to sign, and then, at a later date, a revised dust jacket was added (dust jacket production and book binding are two separate issues and many times are done at completely different times) before the books were given away.

If that scenario is correct (and at this point, I'd need proof that it ISN'T to make me feel that it's a forgery), then this book contains a signature which is indeed rare.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Book Fair, here I come...

I'm on my way out. I have to balance my checkbook to see if there's money for food on the way up the hill, grab my maps, pack another box of miscellaneous stuff (I packed the van last night, but found this morning that the balance was off, so tried frantically to repack without actually removing the bookcases which are HEAVY ... it may have worked, it may not. I won't be able to do much about it at this point. )

I'm hoping to be on the road by 9:30 (it's 9:16 now... can I make it?).

Wish me luck.

Hope for many sales of decent prices.

Hope I make it there and back again without blowing my knee out.

Hope I have a good time and get to talk to lots of dealer friends.

I'll update with a report on Monday (possibly Tuesday).

See ya!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jellybeans for Breakfast

So I'm getting bored (well, not exactly bored, but restless) of constant data entry today so I thought I'd check out a few of the titles that I had bought, but not looked up and stacked in a slithering pile by my desk (you remember the desk... well, the box piles are somewhat smaller, but then other piles start to emerge like creatures from the Black Lagoon).

The book pictured above is one of those I just looked up. I knew of Miriam Young from her Miss Suzy series (terminally cute and fun-- and collectable) so I picked up this title, which I hadn't seen before, but had a vague recollection of anyway. Turns out, this particular title is one of the most sought after of her books. Prices online are STRANGE and basically overpriced, but then there are a couple of other books like this that have weird collectability. Gator Pie (by Louise Mathews) is one of them.

The book itself is cute. It's illustrations are generally nice, but, to my eye, nothing overly special and the story is about friendship and friends doing all sorts of crazy, fun stuff (without their parents or school to hinder them). But the PRICES.... man.... $100 is minimum and one strange soul has the book listed for $600.00. As if he's EVER going to get that for a picture book like this!

I'm taking a more moderate approach to my pricing, but I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my face either. Right at the moment, I finished entering the data for it, but I'm not listing it on line until after this weekend, just in case someone at the Book Fair interested.

Now I'm not putting the book, the illustrations or the prices down -- in fact, if I can send this book to someone who fondly remembers it & wants to pass it on to a loved one, that's GREAT. That's one of my favorite ways to sell books -- to people who really CARE about the book, the story, the illustrator, etc.

Still, the PRICES.....


In other news, I'm down to the day before launch to the Gold Rush Book fair. I've got 18 boxes packed (WAY down from the last time... when I took 33 boxes). I'm hoping that less crowded, more front facing books will help. Also, I'm doing this because I'm getting older and my knee is already protesting the work it's going to have to do. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be buyers out there and that I've got what they want. On the good news side, I heard from a former customer of mine today who is going to the fair & asked me to bring a couple of books for her... that's GOOD news!

On the bad news side, my allergies are not getting better & my head is fuzzy and achy most of the time and I'm feeling draggy and rather grouchy. Not a good combination when you have to be sparkly and on your toes (and can add & subtract without making mistakes) for the entire weekend.

I'll try to post tomorrow, but this might have to hold you through until Monday (or Tuesday....)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder....

I've been thinking that I ought to split this blog into two different blogs -- one for family stuff / goofy things -- the other for books. BUT -- darn it, I'm not keeping up with the ONE blog I have as well as I could, so splitting seems a bit daft. If you have a preference, let me know. I have been trying to show lots of children's books as I've had comments about them, but I deal in all sorts of books, and sometimes some other subject really catches my fancy so I want to blog about it.

Today, it's a toss-up how you want to label this book. Beauty by Robin McKinley is considered by the publishing business to be a "Young Adult" story (for 10 & up or so) but it has been read by younger children, older teens, and adults with equal entertainment and enjoyment.

This particular copy is my own personal copy -- which is now up for sale. Long story there, but I'm not going to go into it. This was one of the last books (well.... I've still got my C. J. Cherryh collection and a few stray SF / Fantasy books I've kept back ) that I would ever consider parting with, but the time has come.

As I said, long story.

But getting back to the book. If you HAVEN'T read it -- go out and get a copy. While the basic story is one just about everyone over the age of 3 has deeply ingrained in their being (if nothing else, there's the Disney movie / video version which just about all girls have seen -- Actually, I haven't seen it, but then I'm officially odd anyway). Robin McKinley has taken the story of Beauty and the Beast and transformed it into a personal narrative that is full of grace, emotion, longing, familial duty, love and tenderness. All in one fairly smallish book (by today's standards it's a piffle -- just 247 pages).

I've blogged about Robin McKinley here before. You all know she's a favorite author of mine. This book however, has another significance -- it's one of the classics / highlights of modern fantasy fiction. It's darned hard to find with the first edition having less than 900 copies printed, and it is NOTORIOUS (by sf / fantasy dealers) known for having real problems with the dust jacket that make finding a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket like pulling hens teeth. It can be worth a solid three figure amount and -- if signed (Lloyd Currey has an inscribed copy) can be in the four figure range.

It's a great book & a great addition to any SF / Fantasy collection.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Field Trip Number Two in two days...

Well -- The thing in the middle of the picture is an Australian Skink (on the small side). The fuzzy stuff at the bottom of the picture is someone's hair and then there's the pair of knees at the top of the picture.

This is one of the very few photos that came out (I keep telling you, my skills with the camera are shaky at best) of the first part of a two part field trip last Friday. We visited a local natural history museum where there were mock-ups of different California habitats (with real stuffed animals staring nose to nose at you -- including a full sized Puma / Mountain Lion / Cougar..).

The second portion of the trip was a nature walk in a semi-local State park with a guide. It was GREAT! Unfortunately, many of the kids were either unimpressed or spent their entire time worring about dirt getting on them. Rather sad. Most of the parents enjoyed it, and number two son (who had come last year to the same park with the same guide for a walk for cub scouts) was having a great time getting more detail than he had absorbed last time. Too cool.

Yesterday I tried to get a picture of the large black carpenter Bee that was buzzing around the mock sweet pea (I think) bush in front of the house yesterday, but again.... my skills with a moving object...

here's the best shot:

The plant is the one with purple flowers. The bee.. well even as big as it is to my eye, you can hardly see it here... it's to the right of the plant and it's the black flapping thing on the underside of one of the flowers. Boy do I wish I had a real camera with a telephoto lens and some real skills. Nice plant though.

Yesterday was supposed to be a finishing day to get the books covered and boxed for the Book Fair this coming weekend. Well, I spent two hours covering, but not boxing and the bookcases which were supposed to come down & get stacked ready for the van haven't been. I'll try and get some more done after this. Right now I'm sending out my monthly newsletter with a note about the fair. Probably way too late, but that's the way it's going around here this month.

Hopefully, I'll spend more time tomorrow boxing and preparing than trying to enter new books into the database. At least, that's what I NEED to be doing.

Now it's off to baseball.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Field Trip Season

Hopefully I'll have at least one usable photo of our field trip today. We'll see. I do TRY to take decent pictures, but, you know...

We took two classes of fifth graders on an hour long trip to Sacramento (our state capital) to visit Old Sacramento and the Railroad museum (by the way, if you get the chance to visit the Railroad museum -- AWESOME!!!)

This time I got to sit at the back of the bus and be the dampening influence on the rowdy bunch. Yippee. And the bus had a distinct tendency to jounce (especially at the rear end of the bus) which got to be very interesting after a while. The nice thing about fifth graders is that they still somewhat obey the voice of authority. Somewhat. Especially when it comes from a body the same size as theirs.

Next year, I'll have a bigger problem being proper parental authority when they are definitely bigger than I am. But then, for a bunch of these kids (mainly the boys) I either have worked with them in Cub Scouts, know their moms (horrors... and I can tell tales on them :) ) or I can use my bony heels on them to good advantage and no one is about to tell the teacher on me.

Or.... or.... or.... I could start wearing five inch heels. Nah. That's never gonna happen.

I will try and check the pictures I took with my phone later to see what came out. But I can't really do it right away as the NEXT field trip is TOMORROW.

Luckily, that field trip is closer to home, and it is with son number two and the much sunnier, sillier bunch of third graders. I can still face them down any day. Hopefully, I'll take incriminating pictures there too.

Wish me luck.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sunbonnet Babies...

Both of these books feature the Sunbonnet Babies -- the babies, created and illustrated by Bertha Corbett Mecher, became a HUGE hit in the early 1990's. As you can tell from the covers, the babies wear sunbonnets (the old style that were most associated with the wagon trains) which completely cover their faces.
Stubby little arms make the girls look like toddlers and the clothing completely covers their bodies (so basically you see the arms, the hats and the big poofy floppy dresses on the girls and nothing else (which -- if you want to be snarky, is a good way to get out of the hard work of drawing faces and other body parts -- I've never been good at drawing any body parts, so I'd be first in line to try NOT to).

I've had these books around for a while & I love not only the illustrations, but the quaintness (is that a word?) associated with the books. I COULD call them Darling even (but I'm not really that sort of person.

While they are still quite collectable, the market, and the collectors for the series are becoming farther afield. Which means the books might stay on my shelves for a few more years to come.

I don't mind. I enjoy looking at them anyway.