Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Bookery and the Book Fair

I have not forgotten my promise, dear Reader, to entertain you with my musings on the recent additions to my reading list. Those observations will be forthcoming this first week of April, 2006.

I do want to mention a successful two days of booking; Friday in Lexington, Kentucky, and Sunday in Lansing, Michigan.

In Lexington, I visited Glover’s Bookery and the Black Swan. On the edge of downtown, Glover’s, which I have visited many times, is the archetypal used bookstore . . . the two-story former house groans under the weight of the thousands of dusty tomes. Glover’s excels in Kentuckian, books on horses and horse racing, the Civil War and military history. It’s fiction selection is like someone's maiden aunt--old, lean and best neglected.

Here are the books I purchased at Glover’s:

  • Kansas, A History of the Jayhawk State by William Frank Zornow
  • Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut

Both books were first editions. At $10, I thought the copy of Deadeye Dick was a bargain.

The Black Swan, which is near the UK campus, is the polar opposite of Glover’s. It’s tidy where Glover’s is unkempt. It bright and well lit, while Glover’s is gloomy. The books are bright and clean. There is a nice selection of modern first editions. It was my first visit there.

Here are the first editions I purchased at the Black Swan:

  • Tales of Burning Love by Louise Erdrich
  • Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

I like both book shops, which clearly appeal to a different clientele.

On Sunday, I flew to Lansing, Michigan. I flew here for work, but could not resist the attractions of the 43rd Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show. The show boasted more than 90 dealers from the U.S. and Canada.

Here it was I purchased:

  • Jacklight by Louise Erdrich
  • Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler
  • High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

A collection of poetry, Jacklight is Erdrich’s first book. It was paperbound . . . called “wraps” by those in the book trade. It was the one book I was searching for at the show. I am close now to assembling a run of Erdrich’s published works.

I am also close to a complete run of Anne Tyler. This has taken patience. Not because her books are rare, but because they are expensive. At least for me. Tyler has long been a favorite author of mine. I do sense that she has fallen out of favor with many collectors and, perhaps, if I continue to be patient I can snag her earliest books for a reasonable sum. Not that my wife will find any sum reasonable.

The copy of High Fidelity was a British first. It was surprisingly affordable. I now have British first editions of Hornby two earliest books, High Fidelity and Fever Pitch, his memoir of life as a football (soccer) fan. These books are coveted because they are the true first editions, preceding the American firsts. They are also coveted because Hornby is a Brit and collectors are always urged to “follow the flag,” which means to collect the earliest editions from an author’s home country.

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