Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two weeks to go and NO books entered again today :(

I was hoping to get the blog entry to identify the different books with their correct prices....see this:

but so far haven't had a long enough time at any one point in a day to get that done properly.

Today is a bust. Between previously scheduled (and important) appointments, errands and the baseball game which is an hour out of town (and we have an hour practice ahead of time so we leave home at 4:00 and might not get back until 9:00pm tonight...), well, there's no time to do that particular blog entry today either.

And I'm sending out my e-mail newsletter today, which takes more time than one would think -- so no chance to get data entry done.

Did I tell you that I have another book fair coming up in TWO WEEKS?

Yup, the Gold Rush Book Fair in Grass Valley, CA. See here:  is exactly two weeks and one day away & I haven't even packed ONE SINGLE box.

Normally, by this time in the game, I'd be about half packed and have the book cases down, or at least partially down.

Nay, Nay... not this time. I've been having further issues with my asthma, and also trying to work around two sets of baseball practice times and scouts, it's been hectic and not very conducive to packing or even thinking about packing.

So this coming week, I have to put the pedal to the metal (I love metaphores!) and get my boxes packed, the van ready and the bookcases somewhere near ready to go.

I also rummaged through the boxes, and boxes, and boxes of books I still have not listed (and found new stock)  - coming up with approximately ten boxes of unprocessed books that I wanted to have entered and ready to go.

As per usual, however I've been able to get one, two, or at best seven books entered per day this last week.  Mostly because the books I'm working on this week are all older books that have some intriguing aspects about them and I want to research them before I list them. Well, researching these books has taken FAR more time than I expected.  This is good in its own way, but dreadful in relation to getting the number of books processed that I want to get done.

Humphf.... same old song, twenty-fifth verse....  it's starting to sound like I'm a slacker.

Oh, well.  I can do what I can do, and not do what I can't do at the moment.

How's that for namby-pamby philosophical mumblings for the day?

And now, since I'm rambling, I think I'll end this.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We have a WINNER!!!

Thanks to the generous nature of book dealers -- and their passion to find all sorts of trivial, wonderful information....

it looks as if we (they've) found the dust jacket illustrator for this book.  It appears to be Charles L. Wrenn.

Now, interestingly, in the search, one of the dealers found not one but TWO different dust jacket illustrations for Grosset & Dunlap -- the one seen above would appear to be from approximately 1923-24.

There was a second Grosset & Dunlap edition published sometime in 1924 to coincide with the photoplay (movie) which was based on the book, featuring George O'Brien, Cleo Madison, Billie Dove and Harry Morey. I've seen one picture of the dust jacket on the ERB website here.  But I can't (so far) find information about the book and there don't appear to be any available online currently.  I'll do more checking as I can.

So we have a winner.  Thanks go to Gentleman Jim Arner, the gunslinger who can outdraw (and reference) with the best of them.

Thanks again GJim!

Any guesses who the dust jacket artist is?

From what I CAN see of the signature on the bottom edge of the front dust jacket cover, the first name is Charles (or ch something). The last name starts with a W.  After that.... well, I can't tell.

Any guesses?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Old books vs GOOD old books

Back in the days when I was working in an open shop, many a time would I greet a customer bringing in books and then have the customer - so excited - tell me that they had some OLD books to sell and they had to be worth lots of money.

After all -- they were OLD.  Antique. Rare.

And I, being the one to delve into the boxes of books (many of which had never been cleaned, dusted or checked for bugs before being dropped into the box), would pull the books out and have the pleasure (not) of telling this excited customer that his / her books were not all that rare or uncommon, or ... unfortunately, worth much at all.

I hated being the bad guy.

But, then again, it was an opportunity to begin the process of education regarding the history of books (very brief and very much cursory).

The Crack of Doom by Hugh Edwards - 1934 - First American Edition

So what is it that makes one book more valuable than another?  Huh - that could take volumes to answer.
The quick and dirty answer is two-fold (well, actually, more folded than that):

1.) The book HAS to be desired.  If no one is looking for the book, then who cares? No price in the world (high, or low) will induce a buyer to something if it isn't wanted.

2.) rarity: IE: how many copies of the book are available?   If there are only 10 copies known to exist of Edgar Allan Poe's first published book (Tamerlane) and people eagerly collect all of Edgar Allan Poe's works, then this book will have some real value based on the difficulty in obtaining a copy.

3.) See -- more folds unfold.  Condition. Condition counts for a HUGE amount of the value of a collectable book. A book in perfect, as new condition (even if it's 300 years old) will have a higher price than a 300 year old, duct-taped, pages missing, crayoned-in, fire singed copy.  Age here, isn't the biggest factor.  In fact, age is rarely a factor in the book world until you get Wayyyy back into the 1400's (at least for material from the New World - don't even ask me about books, etc from the Orient).

The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain (illustrated by N. C. Wyeth)
1924 printing (originally published 1916)

The pictures throughout this blog entry are all around the same time period (well, within a 35 year period, lets go with that). So all of them are pretty equal when it comes to age. But these books are NOT all equal.

Forbidden Wine by Frederic Arnold Kummer - 1931 - First Edition

Why is it, then, that they are not equal?

Again, desirability first.

Oh, here's another:

4.) Something special about the book that makes it more desirable. IE: illustrator, subject matter, binding (in the case of find bindings), etc.

Arizona by Clarence Budington Kelland - c1940
Grosset & Dunlap reprint with stills from the Columbia Pictures Movie Extravaganza

Blazing Guns on the Chisholm Trail by Borden Chase - 1948
First Edition with the rarely seen dust jacket.

One of the books pictured here is priced at $3,000.00.  The others range in price from $30.00 to $150.00

The difference in price has to do with scarcity, edition, condition and desirabilty.

In my next post I'll try and give a bit of information about each of these books and explain the differences in price. 

In the mean time, make your own guesses :  the prices (in no particular order) for the books are: $30.00, $30.00, $100.00, $150.00 and $3,000.00.

I'd love to hear some guesses.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Rogue, a Ruffian, a Cad and a Wastrel....

How many different words are there for a BAD man? 

I don't know exactly, but no matter how many, most (if not all) of them would fit handily on the man known as Harry Flashman. 

Harry Flashman was, originally, a creation of Thomas Hughes in his much-beloved novel of English boyhood Tom Brown's Schooldays. The novel, published in 1857, related the adventures of one Tom Brown as he went off to public school (IE: British PRIVATE school - in this case, Rugby School which is Warwickshire, England). Tom's adventures centered around the school, its masters (teachers) and both friends and enemies. The most obnoxious of these enemies was Harry Flashman. Flashman was a cad and a bully of enormous magnitude who finally received his comeuppance by being expelled from Rubgy for drunkenness.

Though Thomas Hughes did write a follow-up novel to Tom Brown's Schooldays, Tom Brown at Oxford, the cad Flashman was never seen again....

Until George MacDonald Fraser decided to resurrect him in -- in a series of adventures which were purportedly "Found"  in 1965 thusly from the explanatory note:

"The great mass of manuscript known as the Flashman Papers was discovered during a sale of household furniture at Ashby, Leicestershire, in 1965. The papers were subsequently claimed by Mr. Paget Morrison, of Durban, South Africa, the nearest known living relative of their author. A point of major literary interest about the papers is that they clearly identify Flashman, the school bully of Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's Schooldays, with the celebrated Victorian soldier of the same name. The papers are, in fact, Harry Flashman's personal memoirs from the day of his expulsion from Rugby School in the late 1830's to the early years of the present century., 1905, when he must have been over eighty."

From the front jacket blurb, the reader received a much flashier introduction:

"This is the story of a classic blackguard who enjoyed villainy for its own sake. Shameless, exicting, funny, Flashman's deplorable odyssey is studded with such great figures as Wellington, Queen Victoria, Dr. Arnold Cardigan, and Akbar Khan, observed with the cynical eye of a scoundrel who was honest only in reporting what he saw."

The series consists of twelve books (if you count only those strictly about Harry Flashman himself), the last published in 2005. Sadly, author George MacDonald Fraser (OBE) died in 2008, ending the raucous series.
The dust jacket art for this series of books was created from 1969-1994  by A. E. Barbosa, an Englishman of Portuguese ancestry (his father was a vice-consul), he lived the life of an upper-class Englishman (he referred to himself as Barbosa and only used the Anglicanized version of his first name Arturo - Arthur.)
He illustrated all of the Flashman books through 1994 and before that, he illustrated books by Georgette Heyer. His artwork for both Fraser and Heyer was exceptional, and human figures were similarly tall and thin, but the colors he used for Georgette Heyer's work was much more muted and subtle, while Flashman and his ilk received darker, richer and more exotic coloring and scenery.

Flashman books are not only still available, they are actively collected and read -- both for their historical accuracy and dashing military adventures, as well as for their raunchy, bad-boy protagonist Flashman, that irrepressible CAD (I LOVE that word) of a man who didn't say no to any sort of trouble.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What a week .... and it's only Wednesday!


I thought I'd be able to get back to posting blog entries on a (mostly) daily basis this week. After all, most of the tough, gotta-get-done stuff is least, I keep telling myself that.


I guess not.

First off, I meant to post this picture yesterday.  The Arrow of Light ceremony for my two Webelos Twos went off better than I expected (I wasn't really expecting it to go well at all, so I'm wildly happy with the results).

In order to GET to this point, however, I've gone through a near nervous breakdown. Party organization is NOT my thing.  I can do it, but I don't really do it well. I FORGET things -- or forget them until it's too late to do them WELL.

Case in point, I realized at 2:00 in the morning the day before the ceremony that we had drinks to go with the cake, that we had food (by the way, it was GOOD food too), but we didn't have drinks to go with the food. I had to scramble to get some drink stuff figured out.  (Guess what - people mostly don't drink their coffee black... how was I to know?  I don't even drink coffee.)

Did you know tapered candles are getting harder to find? And they don't come in many colors? Did you? Huh, huh?

I didn't: that is, until I had to go to three stores and ASK questions.

The candles were a symbol of everything that I faced with this party.  Everything got done. But it wasn't easy. And many of the details had to be tweaked... and on short notice.  Don't even ASK about the plaques the boys are holding. DON'T ASK, cause the answer will make your brain explode (or, more likely, my brain will explode).

In the end, it  went well and I can take this as a trial run for next year's event when I get to bridge up six boys (including Number Two Son).

I survived. The party went well and it's all done and over for this year. Not too shabby.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Rhinoceros" Preposterous!

Once I found out about Ed Emberley (author and mostly known as an Illustrator) -- I was hooked.

First off, Emberley has done a series of books over the years helping non-artistic kids (like ME)learn and hopefully understand the basics of drawing / art in a full, friendly, and non-technical,  look-down-on-kids way.  His sub-series of books about making things out of thumbprints is, if you ask me, brilliant. THIS I can do.  Ask me to draw in three dimensions with perspective..... not on your life...but take an ink-stamped thumbprint and add squiggles, lines, curves, etc.  THAT'S right up my alley.

  See - pigs, cats, dogs, cars... all out of thumbprints.

Here's another of the basic books.

Then he gets specific (yeah, I know I need a better picture of this...sue me.)

And one I picked up with my sons in mind... not that THEY ever took a moment to look inside. Sigh.
But, I remind myself, all things come in their own time.  Number One Son is reading again (Garth Nix, no less) and ENJOYING IT!!!   And Number Two Son has found the kitchen science book I put on his book shelf more than two years ago. (Now I have to stock up on Vinegar, baking Soda, food coloring and other fun Science / Food items.)

The topmost book is one that I just entered into my database yesterday. Written by Letta Schatz and illustrated by Emberley, this is the story of a young boy who doesn't DO the normal pet thing.... no he doesn't.
"I don't think my parents understand about pets. I asked for pets, and I begged for pets, and I PESTERED for pets until at last they gave in. And what did they get me?  Goldfish and guppies! I'd never choose pets like that - not with the world full of wonderful animals! If I could pick my pets, I'd get..." This particular book was written in 1965 and is not often seen anymore, especially with a dust jacket.

Great book. Great illustrations. And most importantly, great pets. 

Ed Emberley didn't just stop with how-to books. No, this prolific illustrator has illustrated numerous books over the years and received awards for several - Most famous, I think, was is the Caldecott Winner Drummer Hoff which he illustrated and was re-interpreted by his wife Barbara. He also was a Caldecott honor recipient for One Wide River  to Cross which is a version of Noah and the Ark.  For more about Emberley and his work, see- this.

(When I was a kid, my mother ended up with all sorts of wonderful pets in our house: guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, cats, hamsters (nasty, bite-y things though they are) , an Easter rabbit that ended up as dinner a couple of months later :( , one poor, sad runt of a dog that should never have been left alive, etc.)

No ferrets though, nor creepy crawly things like snakes (probably more because I was a wimp about them than for any other reason).

And now, when my sons ask for non-traditional pets.... well, I have the excuse that the cats we have are darned good hunters. Sorry, no mice or rats for snacking on this week. Darn.

Next up for data entry this week:
Rumford Complete Cook Book (1918)
My Poetry Book : An Anthology of Modern Verse for Boys and Girls (illustrated by Willy Pogany)
The Children of Odin (illustrated with wonderful full color plates by Willy Pogany)
and a 1st edition of Ishi in Two Worlds by Theodora Kroeber (who happens to be the mother of Ursula K. Le Guin -- did you know that, did you?  Be honest.... bet you didn't.)

And for the rest of the week, I may or may not get time to do any posts, OR data entry.... the baseball tournament which jump starts the season begins tonight and continues tomorrow and at least one game on Saturday - with the possibility of two games if they do well enough.  I'm looking forward to see how well Number One Son's team does. Number Two Son will have to wait until next year for the tournament, as it's for twelve year olds and older. 
Also, the Arrow of Light Ceremony for my Webelos twos is on Monday night... I have another arrow to make, candles to find, the cake is ordered, the food is ordered, the stuff is almost ready to go, but I've got LOADS of errands and THINGS to do before Monday night.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pebble in the Sky and other Modern First Editions....

So I'm finally starting to settle back into some sort of routine (and of course, after I write that, I realize that NO I haven't settled into a schedule yet -- this week I have to get all the details worked out for the Cub Scouts in my den who are bridging up to Boy Scouts NEXT MONDAY!!! And there are LOTS of details).

Hopefully, next Tuesday (since Monday's are always crazy), I should have a somewhat normal schedule. (cross my fingers).

Did I mention that I signed up for another BOOK FAIR?  Which happens to be on May 15th... or FOUR WEEKS AWAY!

What was I thinking.

However, back to Pebble in the Sky and other Modern Firsts.

I mentioned, before the Sacramento Book Fair craziness, that I had a few books of interest to write about when I got the chance.  Now's the time (or more correctly, now's the beginning of the time. I haven't had a chance to sit and mull over other details as fully as I'd like, so this is probably not the first blog entry about these books).

Recently, I picked up a copy of Isaac Asimov's first novel (and while this is NOT his first published work, either fiction or non-fiction, it is the first time a complete novel by him was published in book format.)  The story is a combination of science fiction, fantastic fiction, time travel, and post apocalyptic fiction.  As the front flap blurb states: "It began when Joseph Schwartz was walking down a street in Chicago, past the Institute for Nuclear Research. He raised one foot in the twentieth century; he lowered it in Galactic Era 827, the victim of an odd accident inside the Institute involving an experiment with crude uranium."

Interestingly (at least to me), I've been focusing on the subject of Atomics and Nuclear  war / energy  books and ephemera lately  -- partly by the luck of the hunt in my book scouting, and partly because, once I started to see / look for the material, the more I've been able to find and the more interested I become, so this particular book fits right in that theme.

But back to Isaac Asimov.  While this book was not one of the numerous award winning titles, it is a rather special book in the cannon of his writing in that it has the distinct honor of being the first hardback work . According to Asimov himself in Before the Golden Age this novel was influenced by a short work by Murray Leinster called "Proxima Centauri".   According to Wikipedia, Asimov is considered one of the most prolific authors of all time with more than 5000 books (yes, that's FIVE THOUSAND) written or edited by him during his long lifetime. For more information about the author himself, check here.

I've read a number of Asimov titles over the years (especially the Robot Novels) as I wanted to be more familiar with his writing -- and as the Three Laws of Robotics kept being referenced in other SF stuff I was reading I really wanted to know what they were (PS: here they are for you.)  The thing is, Asimov was, for me, at least, a great theorist. Cool new technical stuff came out of him like water out of a spigot. But as for the connection to the reader... well, for me, the writing (specifically his fiction work) was always very dry and.... theoretical. There was very little emotional attachment that I could make to the writing or the characters. They were there to fit in with the technical science and futuristic ideas, not to be likable or make an emotional connection. That's one of the things about the writing from the 1930's through the mid-1960's that I find difficult to deal with. If it was SF writing, it was about cool gadgets, or theories, or space travel where the travel and hardships of  ship building, length of time, technical detail stuff was the most important to the writers, and to the readers.

I started reading SF / Fantasy material from the late 1960's - early 1970's where characterization, ALONG WITH cool SF stuff was part of the package, and going backwards, was (and still is) for me, a bit difficult because I'm expecting the characterization to be there as well.
Even so, this is a great book and a very interesting topic (which we can all relate to since Nuclear / Atomic warfare has once again become nightly news).

Since was was entering this book (and reading details about the book and the era), I noticed that I happen to have a few other first novels / first works in my stock as well.  I might have to try and put a catalogue together.

Until I do (chances are slim at this point), here are a few pictures just for fun. Hopefully I'll get a chance to polish up some details about each of these in later entries.

I finally got this book entered with complete description and uploaded to my website today. I took it to Sacramento with me, but with only a sticky note and price... now I've got the details.
This book is Larry McMurtry's first novel. The first edition print run was approximately 5,000 copies, making it a quite small print run. The book was the basis for the 1963 Movie HUD starring Paul Newman.

A. A. Attanasio's first novel, this book was published in hardback and trade paperback simultaneously - an award winning novel, the hardback edition had a print run of approximately 1,000 copies, making it VERY difficult to find. 

Yeah, I know, mostly SF / Fantasy stuff in this group (what do you expect? I specialize in SF / Fantasy & Horror....and lately, Atomic & Nuclear stuff ... is there a category name for this?)
Written by Brian Jacques (pronounced Jakes), this is the first in the exceedingly popular series of books featuring anthropomorphic forest critters as heroes. When I get a chance, I'll post the First's Magazine article I wrote about this series (and the author) on my website alongside the Terry Pratchett and Madeleine L'Engle articles. (and when I really get a chance, I'll post the other articles I wrote over a ten+ year period working for Firsts.... which reminds me that I should get back to writing for them again. A two year hiatus is TOO LONG!)

This book is the first novel by Chicano author Jose Antonio Villarreal -- a pioneer in the field of Chicano literature. When I get time, I'll get some more details about the author and the book -- fascinating stuff, I just haven't done enough research on him. (PS: This book includes a signature and long inscription from the author). Cool book.

I know I have more stock that are first novel / first works by well known  authors, but for the moment, I'll stop here (partly because I'd have to DIG to find more) and partly because I have to go pick up the Dynamic Duo from school now.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Centennial Plus 1: A Photographic and Narrrative Account of the Black Student Revolution: Howard University 1965-1968

I'm finally back to data entry!  Well, sort of. The above pictured book is my first data entry in approximately six day. Whether I get any more done today depends entirely on if I can stand the noise level in my work room -- there are three other people in the room and so far, they are driving me nearly around the bend.

As for this book, well, I've spent several days already following trails down rabbit holes looking for information about it, the author, or the actual revolution. Some of it comes to hand easily; most of the details are buried deep in the internet and not wanting to show themselves right now.

This book chronicles the student unrest at Howard University during the mid-1960's... it follows on the heels of the Civil Rights Movements in the south during the 1950's and initially the students hoped to make some changes at the University through peaceful means -- through Gatherings,  petitions, discussions with the administrators.... but as time went on and the administration grew more implacable, the tone of the students requests (and the fact that it was coming to light that more African American soldiers were coming back in body bags than other races...) well, the students grew less and less willing to be fobbed off with simple promises of possible change. The students became more organized, they protested more vehemently, and finally, in frustration, they carefully planned, then executed a coup of the administration building and waged a sit-in / take over of the building itself.

Interestingly, there are NO copies of this book available on-line currently, nor have there been any copies in the recent past.

Fascinating stuff, this.

Monday, April 5, 2010

There be GOLD in them Thar hills!

This is the happy gold panning face.

Son Number Two has three weeks vacation from school (he's on a track system which is goofy and not my favorite, but that's the breaks).

Back sometime in warmer times last year, he and I went to our favorite nature site to goof around (well -- FISH... which I did blog about and we even have

The lady we ran into with her wonderful beagle dog was panning for gold.  INSTANTLY Number Two Son decided that he HAD to do so as well. As soon as possible.

Well, the soon as possible part fell through due to other commitments but finally, last week, he and I went and geared up (the local surplus store / farm store / all you can imagine store) and headed out.  I did mention to Number Two Son that the ever present rain was likely that day (and it was) but he insisted.

Here's the goofy, mom's making me take a picture face.

We found out several things about panning for gold:

One: it's hard on the back.

Two: you get very little black sand (which is where the gold is supposed to be) with a lot of panning.

Three: it's fun, but.... we need to find the creek that no one has ever been to that has NUGGETS for us to just pick up (don't say it -- I do remind him of reality now and then, but he doesn't care).

And finally, Four: If he makes a million dollars by panning for gold, he'll let me have some of it to help out around the house (aawwwhhh, sweet boy).

We did go back a second time last week and I'm sure we'll go back again another time (or ten) but he did think that it might be nicer when it gets warmer and less rainy (yah think!).

We now pause for an important message from our sponsor....

Well, not really.

Took a break last week (and apparently, part of the week before) due to Book Fair "STUFF", and then that pesky vacation for Sons Number One and Two (and honored husband as well).

Posts might be sporadic until the chaos is tamed on the 12th April (IE: End of VACATION)

Until then, here are a couple of pictures of my booth at the Sacramento Book Fair. Unfortunately, The back of my booth was right in front of a window, making any decent pictures even harder than usual for me.

Sorry, no good close up pictures.

I will have some good blog posts coming up about books I've found / bought either at the fair or recently.