Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stuck in GALT.... again... (humming the Creedence Clearwater Revival tune)

We're chillin' now (as the young folk say).

Son number two and I are sitting in the McDonalds in Galt (which is right up the road from Lodi ...and the old song starts to chime in here... stuck in LODI again...)

Well, we're not exactly stuck, but close.  Son number two's soccer games today are in Galt. First one was at 9:00AM .... the second is not until 1:00PM.

So since  it's not worth the time, effort or gas to drive back home (it's an hour each way), we're chillin' in  Galt.

In the McDonalds.

Using their free WiFi (sort of).

I tried to get son number two to stop in at a thrift store I found while driving around, but NO...NO... he's not interested in that (and very LOUD about it too, I might add).

Son number one is in Merced today. His game should be just starting. His first game was at 11:00, the second at 2:00.

I haven't heard anything from him yet (it's not even half-time for that game).

You can only do so much in a McDonald's before you start to get a bit twitchy.  I've gotten to that point.

So I'm humming, and thinking that we only have one more hour's wait...


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sales Tax -- DONE!

Back to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly..

On the good side: Taxes (for the California Franchise Tax Board at least) are DONE. AND turned in.

And it's on time too!

For the Bad: J. D. Salinger died today.  Bad news. 

And for the ugly --- now I get to finish off the boxes of books to take to the Book Fair, pay bills, write the City of Modesto a check for ITS portion of my income ... and then pay for it all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cool book. And pictures

Today, while I was trying to do six other things, I remembered a book I had stuck in a pile (in one of the infamous boxes) that I decided I NEEDED for the book fair in SF.

This of course means rooting through the boxes to find said book. 

I found it -- AND got the information I needed to finally identify it properly. 

Hopefully I'll be able to blog about it tomorrow.  WITH PICTURES.

I know I need to add more pictures to the blog. When not in Book Fair preparation mode, I'll try to have some sort of picture every day, but right now.... taxes come before iffy photography.

If I'm lucky, I'll have something interesting (and bookish) tomorrow.

Another Day, Another Dollar.... or, just more bookkeeping

For some reason, I wanted to call this post The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, but since I can't think of anything truly ugly, I'll just have to pass on the Clint Eastwood quotes.  (for now)

This morning, actually, this week, I've had a boatload-full of busywork things (plus taxes, but I'll get to that in a moment) that just NEEDED to be done. I've made little lists to stick in front of me on my desk, then made notes and stuck them on top of my lists, then the desk got so littered with post-it notes that I had to stop and combine everything into REVISED lists.

The good thing is that I've crossed off a few of those list items.

The phone calls that REALLY HAD TO BE MADE (but I HATE doing).... well, all but one are DONE!

(The last one is calling the contractor back -- after talking to the insurance company AGAIN -- to see if he can figure out why the shower STILL leaks after we caulked it again.  Putting if off means that we have to troop downstairs to use the other shower, but that's not too awful -- I just can't face having people wandering around and poking and tearing at things while TAXES loom over me like a big black, angry cloud.

Speaking of Taxes--

I have NEVER taken this long to get my financial papers in order.  There's just something about this year... either that, or the fact that I am still feeling under the weather (but not bad enough to really want to do anything about it) is making me procrastinate.

So -- as for under  weather is concerned... Pseudofed definitely helps. But I'm still feeling blech....

I finished November's tax info and started on December last night.  That's the good news.  It WILL GET DONE IN TIME (hear that? was that loud enough, brain?)

I'm also working on putting dust jacket covers on new stock to take to the book fair NEXT WEEK(Yikes!).
I'm running out of 10"covers. AND empty boxes.
It was the last 250 books I bought that have drug me to the edge of the box precipice. I don't want to buy boxes OR covers, so I'm slyly working around that.... for now.
Next week, well... I might have to rethink.

Back to the list on my desk (the revised, updated, 2nd edition, 4th state list):

A couple of the things I had to  deal with for the boys are done.
I went to the Boy Scout office and not only picked up the merit badge books that we needed a month ago, I also got the information I needed for one of my Cub Scout parents.

The list, however, is still long.
(and topping that list is.... can you guess.... TAXES!)

Down the way a bit is finding a copy of the 5th season of Buffy the Vampire slayer. For me, the easiest way to work on taxes (and keep me sitting in the chair for more than five minutes) is to put on Buffy and listen / watch with half an ear while I type and fret.  I'm up to the fourth season right now. At some point in the past year or so, I sold my copy of  the fifth season and now I NEED another copy.

After that, it's make sure the van's tires are still inflated (I've found that I tend not to LOOK at the tires much on the van, especially the off-side tires... you know, the tires on the OTHER SIDE of the van from where I get in).

After that, the list just gets silly.

Tomorrow I get to revise the list again and keep chugging along.

Another Day, Another List.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just a note.... taxes are DUE at the end of the week.

I swear, even though I've been working DAILY on getting the information ready for the California Franchise Tax Board, I'm still working on November's totals... so I have to finish November AND December and tally everything up to pay my sales tax bill by Friday.

Which, is my round-about way of saying that there might be fewer / no posts this week.

Until I get this finished, I've got to buckle down and work on REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS like taxes (and book fair stuff).

Hopefully I'll be able to post, but if not....


No Snow...

Turns out I know zip about the geography / topology of California (which is not too surprising...).

Fact #1.) Valley Springs IS in the foothills (of the Sierra Nevada Mountains).

Fact # 2.) There IS snow in them thar' mountains

However, if you put these facts together, you get NO SNOW.

Because, Valley Springs is only 685 feet above sea level (which I DIDN'T KNOW - HONEST) and the lowest snow level currently is running well above 1,000 feet above sea level.

On the other hand, we got COLD, WIND and RAIN....

which means, basically, that the two games we played yesterday were pretty much like the games we played LAST week in the COLD, WIND and RAIN -- just at higher elevation.

So I told sons number one and two that I'd TAKE them up to the SNOW after the games.

Thing is, by the time the second game ended, it was time for more hot chocolate, and we were pooped and cold and our feet were soaked (well, not really this time, but we were definitely damp) and everyone wanted to turn around and go home to play Driver on the play station (not me...lets get that straight... the boys).

I did try to take pictures.

Haven't had time to pull them off the camera yet and I really need to take a REAL camera & not just my phone (which isn't an Iphone) so I can get real close-up shots of the acrobatics of the game.

.... oh, and just in case you were wondering.... we (son number one's team) WON both of the games!

Next week, we get to visit Galt (County Line) for son number two, and Merced (for son number one). Both definitely Central Valley venues...and once again, I'm sure... it will be in the COLD, WIND and RAIN.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Off to the SNOW!

Short post this morning.

I'm off being soccer mom today. Son number one's games were NOT canceled due to the downpour this week... his games are in Valley Spring which is in the mountains. The field there was recently switched to turf (which is supposed to mean something...) and is not hampered by sucking muddy holes of doom.
 So off we go to freeze our patoots in the SNOW.

Son number two's games were canceled (see above sucking muddy slime...) so he'd coming along with us -- but just for the SNOW -- he has his priorities straight and has been wanting SNOW for a month now.  In a perfect world, he'd love SKIING to go with the SNOW, but that will have to wait.

Wish us luck and that we don't completely freeze.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Campbell's Soup is Mmm... Mmm... Good!

I decided, that since I'm going to San Francisco, and, since I have a small pile of ephemeral items that have been wasting away in a drawer for AGES...
that I'd put the two together.

Remember, I don't have much in the way of ephemera, nor do I really know the gig, inside and out, however, the items I picked up are worth a wee bit of time and effort, and since I needed some UNUSUAL stuff to take with me to the book fair, this was fair game.

So today, taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, I started to add the ephemeral items to my database (for the most part, just the basic info so I could put it on hold for the fair).

One of the items is a very large souvenir program for the 100th Anniversary of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.  It's got all sorts of circus stuff included, a history of this / these circuses, etc. -- BUT -- it also has some congratulatory advertisements (see above) that are quite interesting.

Most interesting (to me at least) is this Campbell's Soup congratulations / advert.

Here's another view (sorry - again, camera person is NOT a photographer).

I've been trying for about an hour now to come up with the name of the illustrator for this piece of Pop Art advertising.

There's a tiny signature in the picture here:


As near as I can figure out, the signature LOOKS like John Alcorn (who is most famous for his children's picture book illustrations.... and he worked a great deal for Harlin Quist about whom I've blogged here before).

I'm not at all certain it is John Alcorn, but the shape of the letters, and the style of illustration (and especially the choice of colors) LOOKS like it could be a match.

I know it's NOT Andy Warhol.

If you happen to have a guess -- or even KNOW.  email me.

Either way, it's a neat picture and makes the 100th Anniversary program even more interesting.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still Raining...

More rain today.  No pictures of completely flooded streets yet, but that's because I wasn't out with the camera. getting from home to school, to school to home again this morning meant having to whoosh through streets where the water pooled from one curb to the other. No three foot deep parking lot lakes yet (Modesto has a strange California water run-off system... at least in the central valley. The cities use rock wells which gather the water and percolate it down, but it can take hours or days if there's water in the ground already, so by the third day of soaking down rain, the streets flood, the parking lots of unfortunate strip malls, and other low-lying areas turn into lakes).

There's still MORE rain supposedly coming tomorrow. Today wasn't the thundering, windy mess of yesterday, but the rain, though more gentle, was constant.

Soccer practice was canceled again today and tomorrow -- the fields have turned into mud pits -- and the boys have started to growl and fidget since they don't have any physical outlet. (They can't even really play during recess because of the puddles of rain)  It's starting to be a problem.  There's supposed to be a break and SUNSHINE this weekend, but more rain next week (possibly). 

The soccer games set for this weekend are still on -- we'll see about that by tomorrow.  If they're a go, then we'll be out, wind, rain, sun and cold!

The SF Book Fair is officially two weeks away now.  I'm feeling more prepared, but I have BOXES of books to get through before then.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Flooded street.

Son number two -- at least he took the shoes that he WASN'T planning on wearing to school tomorrow.

I know - doesn't really look like much, but just about every street in town resembles this -- many streets have water that covers the entire street. So far we haven't had enough rain to start flooding the front yards.


More Rain

Much more Rain (There's a boy scout skit where the main chant line is - MORE RAISINS, MUCH MORE RAISINS! and I find myself chanting that while exchanging Rain for Raisins today -- ps: If you're not a scout and haven't seen the skit, well, it's a good one).

So the rain continued to pelt down today. While I can't personally attest to the 60mph winds clocked in the Sacramento area,  the winds did howl mightily outside my window as the rain came down in big wet,  missile-like drops.

(I wanted son number two to go outside and take pictures of the flooded streets, but as he'd rather ride his bike through them and get soaked, I'll have to trudge out and do it myself).

Still working my way through the end of the taxes for the year. Finished October last night and now it's on to November and December... hoping that by the time I pull the info all together for the year, it will actually balance.

Stuffing books in boxes for the book fair too.

I raided my own collection ( sigh... whimper) again.  This time, the sacred C. J. Cherryh material, plus a few others is making its way into the sell pile.

On the other hand, I'm sort of happy with the SF books I've got to take along.

Haven't finished with the Modern Fiction boxes yet, nor started the youth stuff, but hopefully I'll have some good stuff that other dealers don't.  (PS: That's the key, you know.... being able to bring books that no other dealers have AND.... AND... AND having the customers who were LOOKING for those books show up with cash in hand.)

No soccer practice tonight. Not only are the fields completely flooded, but the lightning and thunder mean it's not safe to be out (just to let you know, California, at least central CA hardly ever sees lightning and never on a grand scale. No lightning storms here.  No tornadoes either. But we do get earthquakes -- ya'll can see how deadly those are....).  We have games scheduled for Saturday -- we'll have to see if they'll be canceled or not.

And now it's back to taxes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rainy Day

There's an El Nino set of storms coming in this week, all of which are set to drop a healthy amount of rain.

This is a good thing as we desperately need rain to refill the parched reservoirs.

However, with soccer practice and games in the offing, we'll see what this means for the family and the MUD quotient later this week.

Books, books, books.

It's a rotten view, but this is what my work room floor looked like for at least one day last week.

Getting ready for book fairs puts me in a frenzy of trying to find books that call to me (TAKE ME, TAKE ME!!! they cry. I'll SELL!)

Then, since I haven't got them in the database, I have to at least put the author & title in before I can spiff them up and box them neatly to go in the van.

I've got two weeks. (Possibly just over two weeks, but I'm fuzzy on the days right now. Four soccer practices a week plus four games each Saturday (there are two games per boy per Saturday), plus scouts, plus book fair AND the dreaded taxes which aren't yet finished are drowning out the details of days.

Luckily, I've been able to move things around so it's not quite this bad, but....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dane Data.

Ok, it doesn't really look like  much,  but wait....

Published in 1936 in North Hollywood, CA, this is DANE DATA....
by Albert B. Gardner, illustrated by photographs of OUTSTANDING SPECIMENS (that's what it says!), drawings by the author and cartoons by Walter Lanz.

Did I mention the DANES are GREAT DANES?

This is another of those books that I've had around for several years, but don't really mind.

It's a cool book.
(strangely I use that term often for material that's kooky and a bit different, don't I?)

The book is filled with very detailed information about the history of the breed, the conformation of the dogs (or what they SHOULD look like) breeding, training, working dogs stuff (don't quite know if there's a technical term for this, showing Danes, the Great Dane Club of American (yes, there really is one), and much more.

From the research I've done, it looks as if Albert B. Gardner was an architect in Southern California in the 1930's. He designed some buildings including (very possibly) the Buck Jones House in Sherman Oaks -- Buck Jones was an early cowboy movie star. The house was later turned into a dormitory (or something like) for the Mar-Ken School which was a prestigious school for the children of movie stars.

The illustrator, also, turns out to be some one interesting. While his name is misspelled in this volume, the illustrator is actually Walter Lantz, the creator of Woody Woodpecker.

So not only is this book a very detailed, unusual title for dog lovers (especially Great Dane people) but also has interest for those who collect books published in California (this is self published in North Hollywood), but for architects, AND for illustrators (or for people who collect material on Walter Lantz.

Quite a lot of punch packed into one innocuously plain binding, I'd say.

So I'll repeat.  It's a cool book.

Now I just have to find the right collector.

Quick SF update...

Ok. It was a good thing I ended up calling the promoters of the SF book fair...

Turns out, they had a shortened version of my email, which is why their emails kept bouncing and they thought I was a loon.

All is well now. I've called in to confirm AND mailed in the sheet with the updated email address so I should be back on the list.


Now all I have to do is get PREPARED (mentally, physically and book-y) and be ready to go in THREE WEEKS!!!

Wish me luck.
(oh, and to make it even better, come and BUY BOOKS!)

PS:  I've been going through those ever increasing backlog of boxes of books for this fair. WHY do I keep doing this?  I want to bring new, exotic stuff to these fairs, but every time I go through the boxes, I find stuff that is quick, easy and painless to put online for regular stock....which is waiting, and waiting, and waiting to be listed.  SOON.  I promise.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

San Francisco ... here I come!

Ok, you talked me into it!

Actually, I was on the fence, ready to jump in with both feet, but just needed that tiny extra push.

I got it.

So I emailed the promoter of the fair this morning (which I'll have to remember to follow up with a call) to say I'm going.


NOW all I have to do is PAY for it.

And spend the next three  weeks worrying about my lack of wonderful stock AGAIN....


I vow to take really unusual things with me.  Last time I went, I had a nice batch of collectable children's picture books, and some SF stuff that worked well. This time..... not so much children's stuff to take (NEED TO BUY MORE.... bite my tongue!)
but have some interesting SF stuff.

I do have some other things though. Unusual stuff. stuff that might be eye-candy.

So I have to pull it out, buff it up and let it shine.

Also, books with an asian flair.... I have to scrounge through my database & find stuff with an asian influence. Last time I didn't bring any with me and got lots of requests (which by rights means that if I bring it this time, NO ONE WILL CARE).

So. That's at least one thing off my mind (of course, having made the decision, I end up with a whole new set of worries).

(Have you noticed I'm an inveterate worrier? )

That of course means that the project to UPDATE old listings (and add new jpgs) gets tossed to the side AGAIN.


Back to rooting through new boxes of books for inspiration.

Monday, January 11, 2010

San Francisco.... dum de dum de dum (al ta Tony Bennett)

Well, in the ongoing saga of my data and the robotic H*ll, it seems I have most of my data back up and ticking away.

This is a good thing.  Partly because no matter what I think of Amazon, the entire world knows of it and much of the entire world buys there.  Lately, I've seen a big drop-off in sales on the river, but any sale is a good sale, so I need my data there. I need it up, I need it clean, and running.

Which, according to my stats on the site, are actually there now.

See -- this whole thing started because booktrakker (the software I use to upload my data ... IE: my books) was now able to attach pictures/ jpgs that I have on other sites to the collectable listings on Amazon. So, me, since I HAVE pictures with most of my stock, wanted to add them to Amazon. Well, it was a good idea. But the after affects of trying to make it happen.... sort of blew up in my face.

Right now I do have my listings on Amazon. I even have pictures with my listings-- for SOME books. Other listings had to be reloaded without the pictures because I found out that over the years, and through some strange computer thingy, many of my older pictures (and we're talking 5-6-7 years old pictures) had degraded and becomes squished into miniscule bits. Amazon doesn't like this.  (and the fact is, neither do my other sites, but they don't reject my entire listings out of hand) So Amazon booted the bad listings.  Which I didn't find out until I checked with Booktrakker support.

I think I've fixed the squished picture thing -- at least for the moment -- by deleting the nasty ones.

BUT .... this means that at some point down the line, I get to RETAKE pictures on a bunch of books which by rights should be SOLD NOW... or tossed into the I'm never going to get rid of these monstrosities, why did I buy THAT category....

And I know I've already mentioned that I want to go through and take another look at old descriptions, redo them, etc.

Yeah, when I have TIME.



Remember those forty or so boxes of UNPROCESSED BOOKS I have sitting behind me, staring me down, breathing on the back of my neck?  Yeah, well, they want to be dealt with first. They SAY SO constantly.

Did I mention that I went book hunting this weekend?

Yeah. I'm pathetic.

And in other news -- I was moaning about the San Francisco Book Fair which is in four weeks.

I hadn't heard from the organizers after turning in my paperwork.

Turns out, the email address they had for some strange reason was bouncing. I got a snail mail message right after I wrote my  wailing note.

NOW ... the problem is, can I AFFORD to go?

Last time I exhibited, It went well. (IE: I made money... more money than I put into going). But that could have been a first time lucky thing.

This time I NEED to make sure I make money, which means putting more out for a fair....and then not making it up would be a disaster.

So.... do I go, or do I pass?

Ideas from the peanut gallery would be very helpful.

And now that that's off my chest....  I need to go tame them boxes of books behind me. They're starting to grow claws.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Amazon and the database .... grrrr....

So I THOUGHT I was going to do a quick fixer-upper on my data -- I found out that changes I had made to descriptions during the last, oh, five YEARS  weren't being changed. The listings were being updated, but the changes to the description were NOT. For some reason, Amazon looked at the listings and decided to just ignore changes.

I thought I would just go in, send a quick purge to Amazon then replace everything. It should take (I told myself) about 20 minutes. Tops.

Yeah.... well...

It didn't.

So far, I'm on hour two and at this point, I just hope I can get my data back ON Amazon before I have to pack up for the day.

I ALSO thought, since I was in a thinking mood (and a cleaning up mood) that I'd work on cleaning up some jpgs on my website ....

(I found out last week that some of my jpgs from years gone by had mysteriously squished themselves into something else -- so I thought I'd take care of that in a few flicks of my fingers as well. ON THE SAME DAY!!!)

What was I THINKING!

Obviously, I was NOT thinking.

And now I'm paying the price for it.


It's lucky that I put a few books online yesterday, otherwise I would  be muttering about the fact that I didn't get any listings up for the whole week.)

AND, to top it all off, I'm completely bummed because it looks like I won't be able to make it to the San Francisco Book Fair in February (as an exhibitor). I WANT TO GOOOOO.....


I need somebody to come and kick me in the rear and restart my day.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wilber Smith - author and character

Among several new arrivals this month, is a group of three books by central African author, Wilbur Smith. 
Born in northern Rhodesia in 1933 (now Zambia ), as a toddler he nearly died of cerebral malaria (something I'd never heard of before). According to his own website / biography, the doctors told his parents it would better off if he did indeed die, because if he didn't, he'd be left severely brain damaged.

Obviously, the doctors were wrong.

After a rather wild and woolly childhood and youth on his father's ranch in Rhodesia, followed by some just as wild and woolly college life in South Africa, Smith became an accountant.


An accountant.

And at 24 years of age, married, with two children.

All of which he hated.  His love for writing, however, continued to grow and in his spare time he wrote fiction.

His first sale was to Argosy magazine, followed by the predictably bad first novel which, while swapped around publishing houses never made it past the inevitable rejection slips.
1964 brought the first of his novels about the African continent into print. In an extraordinary feat for a new author, Smith not only received a huge (for that time) advance for When the Lion Feeds, but a hefty royalty percentage, AND a printing of 10,000 copies.  This for a first novel.

The publishers were proved right in their estimation of Smith's worth.

Since then, Wilbur Smith's books have made the best seller's lists time after time.


For more about Wilbur Smith, by Wilbur Smith, check out his website: Wilbur Smith's Website

And, if you haven't ever read a Wilbur Smith novel -- give it a try.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Joanna Darling; or , The Home at Breakwater

Due to my specialies, for the most part, I don't see older books much at all (though I always like dealing with pre-1900's titles and am always looking for more).

This particular book has been on my shelves awhile and when I first got it, I didn't do much in the way of research.  The author, Virginia F. Townsend, isn't a big name in literature. In fact, she isn't currently well known at all.
But that's ok. Not everyone can be a Hemingway or Fitzgerald.

Since I've had the book for a while, I decided it was time to find out more about the book and the author.

First I poked into the author's background. Virginia Frances Townsend was (according to born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1836. She had one sister with whom she was very close. Little is known about her life, but as a child she was sickly and turned (as many sickly children did) to reading and writing to keep herself occupied.  by 1856 she was an associate editor for T. S. Arthur's Lady's Home Magazine / Arthur's Home Magazine ( how she got from a sick bed scribbling to an editorship would be a very interesting story, I'm sure).

Her first publication in book form came in 1957 -- a compilation of magazine stories she had previously published.  After that, a number of volumes followed, including the series which became known as the Breakwater Series.

Joanna Darling, or The Home at Breakwater is the first volume in this series.

Joanna Darling is an orphan (as was the case of many books about youths in the 1800's).
Her father and mother died when she was just a baby and she has been raised by her grandfather who was rather a sad sack of a man -- "But the fact was, the wrong lay in some inherent weakness of Jonathan Darling's own character. He lacked promptness, energy, efficiency, and never knew how to take the tide at the hour which should lead him on to success of any sort. He had, on the whole, frittered his life away."

The series, while not much known today, has made its way into references -- Including the Girls Series books: 1840-1991 published by the Children's Literature Research Collections.University of Minnesota Libraries.
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

And actually, the more I read the book -- the more intriguing I'm finding it.

I also found out the copy that I have is NOT a reprint,  but a First edition.


going back and looking more carefully at old stock isn't such a bad thing to do after all.

Now I'm going to have to make time to read the book.

PS: I've currently got this off line, just in case I want to read it, but if you're interested, it's $50.00. Just email for details.

Semi-Annual Clearance Sale starts today!

It's January again --

     That means it's time again for our semi-annual clearance sale! In order to  make more room on the shelves for NEW books, I need to part with some of the stock that's just been waiting for a good  home.

     SO --

     As per my previous clearance sales, all stock is 45% off the stated price 
    (except for book 23123 Blazing Guns on the Chisholm Trail, which is a consignment item).

     Just use coupon code: NEWYEAR10 to receive the discount.

     But WAIT!

     There's more.

     If the Seller ID number for the book is #19,000 or LOWER - the book is a hefty 65% off. Yes, 65% off       the regular price!  (the catch is that I can't make my website do both 45% discounts and 65% discounts       at the same time, so I will adjust the discounts manually when I process the order -  and let you know the       final total).

    AND ....

    If your order totals $50.00 or more, I'll throw in free media mail shipping.

    The sale starts today and continues through Janary 15th.

    Happy Hunting and Happy 2010!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Henry and the Monstrous Din by Russell Hoban


Now for something New.

Henry and the Monstrous Din by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban.

This is a very early printing (most likely 2nd printing), but not a first -- the only distinction, according to Baumgarten, is the fact that the endpapers are supposed to be colored. This copy has solid off-white endpapers. 

This particular book is another one of those head-scratching Harper & Row titles --

I know I've mentioned them before, but for continuity's sake, here's a quick review:  Harper & Row generally notes First Edition on the copyright page for all books (and has done for donkey's years).

BUT -- when it comes to children's books from the 1940's- the 1960's (and even into the 70's), they were....


at best.

The publisher just didn't seem to care one way or another about children's books. Some copyright pages had the First Edition notation.
Many of them did not.
People who want to know what they have in hand have to find bibliographies, research material or just plain guess.
This does not make for happy Children's picture book dealers.
Or at least, it makes more WORK (and hair pulling) for dealers such as myself.

Baumgarten helps in the general sense.  Specific bibliographies of artists / authors helps greatly too (but are more expensive and you have to keep adding to your reference shelves, which means LESS space for books for sale...

None of which was what I wanted to discuss with this book.

The fact is, I think it's a fun book.

Here's the opener for you: 
"It was morning, and Henry woke up. When he woke up he felt good, so he began to make a little noise. He said HOOM, and the noise began to grow. He said HUM, and the noise grew bigger.  He said BEE BI BO, and Father, who was in the bathroom shaving, jumped. "What a monstrous din that boy is making!"

Pretty soon, the monstrous din takes over, becomes a REAL monster type and carries Henry off in it's jaws...

See -- Fun stuff.

This is the kind of picture book I like.

Besides, I was pretty loud myself as a child... and both my boys are VERY loud, so it resonates...)

Astro-Kinetics... Planetary influences

The first in my series of older miscellaneous stuff from my ever too full book shelves:

The Influence of the Houses (vol 1)
The Influence of the Planets (vol 2)
Aspects and their Meanings (vol 3)
by Edward W. Whitman (EFBA, CIA)
L.N. Fowler & Co. Ltd (London) all c1970's

I had jpgs of these books for you -- but when I uploaded them, I found that, like a bunch of other older jpgs, they seem to have squished themselves strangely and are not usable.

(the jpg squishing thing is something I'm just noticing.... and dealing with because I'm trying to load older jpgs to a new website -- -- and finding that they are messed up. It's a new kink in the ever kinky road of book selling. I don't WANT to go back and take new pictures of 5000 books..... wahhhh.

At any rate, this set of books has been in my database for about five years (probably more). It's a funky, wonderfully in-depth look at Astro-Kinetics (astrology) and it's in generally very good condition.

BUT -- it's just not the sort of thing I need on my shelves.

My shelves are groaning and creaking as it is. I've got no extra space to add the new books so they are plonked down higgledy-piggldy on top of neatly organized books, they sit on TOP of book cases, they get in the wrong places by accident.

So I'm putting them on special sale here (and I plan to do more of this as time permits).  All three hardcover volumes for $18.50 (basically five bucks a pop with shipping). If you want them, email me direct. I've already removed them from my website. They are reprint editions but they are good solid copies with some general wear and tear.


quick mix up fix up

Just to let you all know -- I'm NOT (repeat NOT) starting a second blog at this point in time (Whew!)

I think about it occasionally, but not currently.  What I was TRYING to get at, was that I was hoping to post two entries to THIS blog on a daily basis: one with a NEW (brand spanking, never on my database before) book for you to ooohhhh over.  The second entry would bring out an old horse of a book that's been on my shelves too long. Either to highlight its relative merits, or, more often, to flog it at a greatly reduced price so it will GO AWAY.



I feel better.

sort of.

Friday, January 1, 2010


This blog post messes up my new resolution completely -- it covers old and new in one post (I suppose that's not a bad thing...)

The book I'm posting about today is called THE SONG OF SONGS WHICH IS SOLOMON'S.
(see Solomon). This particular edition is a Heritage Press edition published in 1935.

I know -- Heritage Press....groan... not another one of those *** copies.

Well, I'll have you know that OCCASIONALLY Heritage Press did more than slap out mediocre reprint copies of books.  In this case, the book was published in two states -- the aforementioned reprint edition, AND a limited edition which includes a signed original lithograph.

The copy shown above is one of the second.  At the end of the volume, there's also a note: Here ends THE SONG OF SONGS WHICH IS SOLOMON'S. The book is designed and decorated, and the initials illuminated with pure gold by hand entirely, for the Heritage Press by Valenti Angelo.

I've had this book since approximately 1998 (I changed databases around 1999 and my listings all got re-dated at this point, making it very difficult to exactly date books before 2000).  So -- the book has stuck around for a while.

The reason it's lived on my shelves so long?

Because of the condition (and the resultant description). The book had some damage to it that, while not major, was certainly off-putting.

BUT --

At the last book fair in Pasadena, I ended up having a very nice chat with David Weinstein (nephew of the Weinsteins of Heritage Book Shop in Los Angeles) who turns out to be a book restorer. A month later I have a book that has been completely restored and is now in saleable, wonderful condition.

So, now I'm going to update my description of the book and put it on line. 

Valenti Angelo,  

 the illustrator of this book, is a sought after illustrator / artist who not only illustrated books by other authors, but later, became a children's author / artist in his own right. He received a Newbery Honor for his book Nino  in 1939.

Here's the book cover -- it's leather (though I have to admit it's not the best quality of leather binding there is).

If you looked closely at the lithograph at the top of the page, you'll see that Angelo signed his name in pencil on the lithograph and so small that it's easy to miss.

This is a cool book. I'm glad I held onto it for so many years -- AND -- I'm really glad that the restoration done to it makes it a wonderful new addition to my stock.

Happy New Year!

First off, I'd like to thank everyone who reads this blog for the time you take to read it -- I'd love to hear more comments from the peanut gallery (and get ideas on what to write).

My resolution for the blog for the year is to continue to write -- and write MORE OFTEN as I'm able.

(you might notice that the last blog entry was on December 16th - well, even my best efforts weren't enough to keep the blog going after everyone of the household was on vacation at the same time, the fact that we were all competing for computer time, that we had LOADS of things to do... sort of... while we were all off, and that I got very tired and a bit sick, which meant that my brain just wasn't up to blogging).

I've also been thinking (during the down time) about how I want to use the blog during this new year.

I'd really like to be able to highlight books that are new to my stock (which I've been trying to do) AND to sell off some of my older (but still good) stock. So, to that end, I might end up doing two blog posts a day which are a bit shorter. One for new stuff, one for old.

Please feel free to chime in on this idea -- or if you have any other ideas you think might be good.

Here's to a wonderful, blog-filled New Year!