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Good morning, readers and book lovers, and welcome to—gasp!—still another open forum. Last week we had the unusual treat of reading a diary about a book that changed a reader’s life: this week it’s back to discussing something completely different.

This morning we’ll discuss first editions. Bibliophiles and certain antiquarians delight in first editions of books, spending time and money to acquire them. Other people simply require books to contain ideas, whether in fictive or nonfiction form, and if we acquire a first edition it’s quite unintentional.

But first, breakfast! In Texas the backyard pears have already been picked off the tree, so we’re having delightful Microwave Pear Crisp (recipe here).


 photo Pear_Crisp-2_zps2f19ecdb.jpg

This toothsome dish of just-tender pears with a crunchy oatmeal-and-walnut topping takes only minutes to make. Feel free to drizzle heavy cream or silky vanilla yogurt over your portion, if you like. We have strong hot coffee or up-and-at-‘em green tea with lemon juice and honey to accompany the crisp.

Now, if you’ve smacked your sticky lips in satisfaction, please follow me into the salon.

My late father collected books and there may well have been a first edition or two among them. For twenty-eight years after his death those books lined the walls of my living room from floor to ceiling: it did impress my resume clients, in the days when I was running a resume service from home. I housed the books partly because of their associations with my father and partly because I thought one day I might get round to reading the ones I hadn’t already read; however, in year 28 I began to realize that I would never read George Borrows’ The Romany Rye, nor Jefferies’ Bevis, nor Hogben’s Mathematics for the Million. In 2008, having had a New Vision for the living room, I kept a few books that had sentimental value and sold the rest to a store that purveyed used books.

Speaking for myself, I’ve never cared whether or not a book was a first edition, I’ve simply been interested in what the book contained. Yet collecting first editions of books is a worthwhile hobby, far better than some I can think of, and for the money-minded, it can be quite lucrative. The association of first editions of fine books and their value as an inheritance reminds me of a novel I once read.

China Court: The Hours of a Country House
by Rumer Godden is a peculiar novel, told with the past, present, and future all mixed up. Some readers might find this irritating.

 photo China-Court_zps716de4a7.jpg

However, the point is that the nineteenth-century character Eliza—unloved, unappreciated, and on the shelf—needing some kind of solace after sacrificing her matrimonial hopes to care for her orphaned siblings—collected first editions not only for their value but for the poetry, philosophy, or plays they contained, as in this excerpt:

It is often dark when she comes in. Sometimes the servants are having their nine-o’clock supper, sometimes it is even too late for that.  If Jared is at  home a light will be burning in the morning room; another light is in the drawing room where Lady Patrick, alone too, sits with her embroidery frame, stitching, her needle making an even small plock-plock sound as it goes through the silk. At ten o’clock she will cover the frame and go to bed—alone.  Sometimes, everyone has gone to bed and Eliza lets herself into a sleeping house, takes the soup or stew Cook has left for her on the range, and goes upstairs.

If it has been a blank day she blows out her candle at once, but if she has found something then, sitting up in bed, her red shawl huddled around her, the light of the candle throwing her shadow huge onto the walls, she will read and brood until the early hours of the morning. “’Too late have I loved thee, O Thou beauty  of ancient days…’” croons Eliza or “’Man is a reed, but a thinking reed,’” or “’I have seen the thorn frown all winter   long; bears yet in spring a rosebud on its top,’” or, because she is, as all single women are, deeply romantic,

Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night…

--and, as she grows older, what truly comes to pass, “’My mind to me a Kingdom is…”

She keeps these lines and many others in her mind all day, remembering them as if they were a nosegay and every now and then she could sniff their fragrance. No one seeing her going about the house, in her brown house frock and apron, silent or tart, fault-finding, would have guessed what beauty was in her mind. “Poor old Aunt Liz. She doesn’t have much,” and Mr. Alabaster opened the last book.

After many years Eliza’s collection of first editions, ignored by Eliza’s family, finally come to the attention of the modern descendants. They sell the first editions, by now extremely valuable, to save China Court from being sold to pay death duties.

The ending of the book is guaranteed to outrage feminist sensibilities, so it’s just as well that China Court, published in 1961, is now out of print.

What about YOUR library? Have you acquired a first edition, either accidentally or on purpose? Will you try to get on “Antique Road Show” with it and make buckets of money, or are you keeping your first edition because you cherish the fine binding, the quality of the paper, or the perfection of the font used to print the pages? Do tell us about it!

The floor is yours.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have a couple... (11+ / 0-)

    that I inherited from my great-grandmother. Including a falling apart first edition of Gone with the Wind and a poetry book from the 1800's on hand cut paper. I probably have some first edition Stephen King's around somewhere as well, if not my mother does. I know Mom has my Aunt's Oz books, and some of those may be first editions.

    I've never had the money to invest in first editions, other than books I bought when they first came out that just happen to be. Maybe some of those will be worth a lot some day.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:10:32 AM PDT

  •  A number of firsts and signed firsts, (10+ / 0-)

    though few of exceptional quality. A minor fetish.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:26:42 AM PDT

  •  I've a few books (9+ / 0-)

    that have become valuable,a few that were spendy when they entered my life as giftsan. I can't imagine parting with them because I like them and because I am too darn lazy.
    At some point after I shuffle off this mortal coil,I imagine my very modern children will send them to Salvation Army,there to be rediscovered. Hopefully by someone who can use them.
    Thanks for the lovely essay and as for the fact you already are eating pears?!?! Color me boggled and green with envy.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:27:28 AM PDT

  •  I too have several, but one that is special to me. (12+ / 0-)

    A first edition (American) of The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers.

    Believe it or not, there is a controversy over which edition is actually the "first" edition: the salamander or the butterfly; some even claim it is the leather-bound King in Yellow volume (which is the one I have).

    The volume is a collection of short stories roughly held together by the mention of a play (entitled "The King in Yellow") in several of the stories. In a later edition, the editor's introduction notes:

    For his weird tales, Chambers took some names from Ambrose Bierce, and his own stories were later mined by H. P. Lovecraft and the pulp magazine writers of his circle. Such usage has kept "The King in Yellow", if not alive, then at least in the awareness of readers of the fantasy and horror genre. For all I know, the references have now spread to board games, rock music albums and cult television programs.
    The reason it has remained in my quite small permanent library is its provenance. An artist friend of mine who lives in Brooklyn was invited to a weird party in Manhattan. A beautiful, huge brownstone was being gutted by the owner's son, who was not fond of the triple crown moulding, the hand crafted bookcases, marble fireplaces, etc. Everything was being removed and essentially put in a big dumpster on the street. The party?  Friends and friends of friends gathered to observe the wreckage and told they could take anything thy might want or need.

    My friend rummaged through what he described as a small mountain of books piled in the middle of the library and chose a single volume because of the illustration on the cover. Over coffee a few mornings later, he presented me with the book and the story, as payment on a favor of fixing the toilet in his apartment. Except for the Manuel Menan painting I received in payment of a bathroom renovation in the French Quarter, it is the nicest payment I have ever received for plumbing work.

    Significant in the bibliographic sense of being one of the first "horror" or "macabre" books ever purchases, I think the volume is worth more than the 41-year-old car I drive. Go figure.

  •  Readers, I must leave for a while (9+ / 0-)

    to take Miss Pink Cheeks to swim class. It's the last one, thank goodness.

    Will be back at 11 to respond to comments. Please keep the discussion going, and to help it along, I've just taken another large dish of Pear Crisp out of the oven and made some more coffee.

    See you later!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:45:26 AM PDT

  •  I'm much more of a record collector, and have (10+ / 0-)

    a few albums and singles that are each worth more than $100. I'd have to do some research to estimate prices. I'm very good on British punk and new wave, '76-'84.

    I've got a friend with a basement full of comic books, and some of those are worth thousands. He's obsessive. He goes to all local estate sales, carts home boxes of comics, combs through them for a handful of gems, then puts the rest of the boxes up on eBay.

    My brother has some first editions, and many collectibles, if you're into French stuff from the 17 and 1800s.

    Good Morning, Diana, thanks for the Pear Crisp. I'm flying to Texas first thing tomorrow, which is part of why I'm up so early today. Breaking fast, coincidentally, on fresh ground Colombia Supremo and Trader Joe's Ultimate Berry Pie.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:46:36 AM PDT

  •  I have quite a few first editions and signed books (6+ / 0-)

    I collect them when I can. Has to be something I'm interested in.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:57:45 AM PDT

    •  A nice avocation, exlrrp (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      P Carey, boran2, Most Awesome Nana, exlrrp

      Have you ever thought of getting them appraised, just for kicks?  Might be interesting to see the value.

      Are your collectibles fiction or nonfiction?

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:08:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Almost all non fiction (3+ / 0-)

        The books are not well known, many by obscure authors (ever hear of Ted Wurm?) on specific subjects like railroading, art and war .
        Don't know if you ever heard of Lucius Beebe---he was quite a flamboyant character who wrote railroad books (and other books) He is probably the most responsible for launching the railfan genre of books. I have almost all his books, mostly first editions, many of them signed. I can't see them having much value tho, I bought most of them for less than $50 in used bookstores.
        I met Beebe once in Virginia City Nevada when I was a kid (he was the owner of The Territorial Enterprise at the time.) He was an openly gay man living with his partner since the '30s, pretty much out there. He was the first man I ever met I knew was gay.

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:21:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What an interesting backstory, exlrrp! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Most Awesome Nana

          Imagine Beebe's having the courage to live as openly gay in those days. More power to him! For some reason his name seems vaguely familiar, although I'm not sure why.

          Your collection sounds quite esoteric! :)

          "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

          by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:42:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've got... (7+ / 0-)

    ...a few including For Whom The Bell Tolls.  It's not rare as Hemingway was very well known by the time it came out, but it's fun to have.  

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:06:19 AM PDT

  •  Turns out my watch is fast, have another few (5+ / 0-)

    minutes to chat, thankfully.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:07:49 AM PDT

  •  When I was working at a used paperback store (7+ / 0-)

    seven or eight years ago, someone brought in copies of the first American editions of the first two Lord of the Rings books -- The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Two Towers -- in very good condition;  the pirated Ace editions that caused Tolkien so many problems.

    Since the store owner let us employees take whatever books we wanted, I quietly slipped them in my bag (wishing the person who who had brought them in also had a matching Return of the King!).

    •  Wow, niemann, that was quite a coup! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Most Awesome Nana, niemann

      Congratulations on your acquisitions.

      Don't you love used book stores? One becomes enspelled--one's eyes glaze over on entering that rarefied atmosphere in which discovery lurks just round the corner.  I miss that feeling. It's less and less possible to experience it, with bookstores disappearing faster even than the poor old bees.

      Nice to see you again, do have another bite of Pear Crisp.

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:45:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And that smell of slowly decomposing acid-filled (0+ / 0-)

        ... paper?   :-)

        It's a lovely smell, but also sad when you think about what it really signifies.

        In fact, your comment just made me remember that downtown there is a paperback of short stories by H.G. Wells that I've been meaning to buy for some time, and I keep forgetting to go in.  I am going to write a note to myself RIGHT NOW to do it TODAY!

        Thanks for the prompt.

    •  I have them too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      niemann

      Not that rare (unless mint condition) ; but uncommon, and interesting if you want a "cheap" edition of LOTR before the 1960s revisions.

      The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

      by raboof on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 10:00:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  First edition of (6+ / 0-)

    Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique."

    First edition of "The Professor's House" by Willa Cather which I bought at a McGovern for president auction.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:21:26 AM PDT

    •  First edition of "Feminine Mystique," Radiowalla? (2+ / 0-)

      That's really something!  Ha--I'm so ancient I remember when Friedan was doing a book tour about that book! We attended her lecture at the Unitarian church in Tulsa.

      Willa Cather--now she's an author I haven't read, although I understand she's well regarded in the area of classic American literature. Your first edition is probably quite valuable in more ways than one.

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:47:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hi, Diana (0+ / 0-)

        If you haven't discovered Willa Cather, you are in for a treat.  She is a master of elegantly simple prose and her characters are finely drawn.  Although "The Professor's House" is considered one of her best works, it is not my favorite.  Her sensitive portraits of the American prairie really grip me so when she changes venues to the southwest, I get disappointed.  
        "Death Comes for the Archbishop" is also situated in the southwest and is probably considered her masterwork.

        My personal favorites are O, Pioneers, A Lost Lady, My, Antonia and Lucy Gayheart. Sapphira and the Slave Girl   is also excellent although it takes place in the south. Whatever you try, I doubt that you will be disappointed.  

        I have never met Betty Friedan, alas.  She was a true visionary and we owe her a lot.  I often wonder what she would be thinking today..

        It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by Radiowalla on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 11:17:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have first editions of several books (4+ / 0-)

    Including most of those by my friend Walter Hunt.

    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

    by Ellid on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:39:24 AM PDT

  •  I have six copies of signed first editions. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa, se portland

    But they aren't valuable and never will be. That isn't a concern. All are anthropology/archaeology books.

    Three were written by my very favorite professor and he inscribed them to me because of the work I did as his research assistant.

    The three others are also connected to work I did as a graduate student.  

    A couple of days ago I obtained a first edition for $2 at the library book sale. It is James Beard's Beard on Pasta. Don't think Antiques Roadshow will ever be interested! If there are any others in my collection, it is totally by accident.

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:58:48 AM PDT

    •  Didn't realize you're an archaeologist, Most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Most Awesome Nana

      Awesome! That's such a fascinating field.  I subscribe to Archaeology Today just to keep up with some of what's going on. I have a Thing about Roman Britain.

      Your first editions are valuable to you, and that's what matters.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:50:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I used to own about twenty years ago (3+ / 0-)

    a first edition of Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here."  Have no idea what happened to it.

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:22:32 AM PDT

    •  And in the meantime, amyzex, you found out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Most Awesome Nana

      that it CAN happen here and already has! Bummer.

      The book is probably in an obscure closet somewhere in your house under the box of Halloween wigs you bought years and years ago. ;)

      BTW, is It Can't Happen Here about this country turning into a theocratic plutocracy?

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:52:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More of a fascist dictatorship (0+ / 0-)

        since fascism was all the rage in the 1930s when the book was written.  But at the end there's some hope, as many regions are in open rebellion against the dictatorship.

        The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

        by amyzex on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:39:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a bunch of firsts, collected not because (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, Crider, Diana in NoVa

    of intention, but because of content.  And then there are the couple I've inherited:  A leatherbound first of U. S. Grant's Autobiography which, like all the first editions, bear the print autograph of Grant's dedication.  My family thought they were signed, but in research I learned that Grant lived just long enough to finish the writing and left the dedication to be printed in a de luxe edition, thinking that the increased value and cost of the book would help to settle his debts.  Firsts of an 1890's 12 volume History of Our Country with beautiful hand colored prints of various Civil War battles.

    But the greatest book I have in custody is a 1508 edition of The Collected Works of Peter Crinitus.  He was a minor philosopher in the Ficinian School, and this book is the first ever collected edition of anyone's writings, at least in the West.  It's in Latin, of course, and was used as a textbook for about 200 years--lots of notes in the margins, and the hands date from fifteenth through seventeenth century.  It was gift from a former professor and a friend who has been a father to me.  He gave it to me when I finished my dissertation, saying he knew I would give it a good home, and I was the only person he knew who could read both the handwriting and the Latin.  

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:23:06 AM PDT

    •  DrLori, what an impressive collection! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DrLori

      And how impressive you are, for being able to understand the handwriting and the Latin.

      A most interesting backstory, and thanks for sharing it with us.  I seem to think that poor old Ulysses Grant had a bit of a problem with That Demon Drink. Is my memory correct?

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:53:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He did indeed, but no more than any other man (0+ / 0-)

        of the age.  Apparently he would drink to excess only when he was bored, and he was very bored during the siege of Vicksburg, when the press dubbed him a drunk.  Sherman once famously said, “Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other.”

        A complicated man, a terrible President, he lost his voice to throat cancer, and it was a race between him and the illness as he finished his autobiography.  He won, but barely.

        "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

        by DrLori on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 10:14:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Does 'Crashing the Gate' count? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    I have a first edition copy of Crashing the Gate signed by both Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong. :)

    I once thought I had a first edition of Hemingway's For Whom the Bells Tolls, but I was told it was the second printing, not a first edition. Damn Powell employees, always there to dash your dreams.

    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:23:15 AM PDT

  •  Only cookbooks from the Victorian age (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, Diana in NoVa

    They have all these wonderful household tips and the occasional moral admonition.  I do treasure them.

    Happy birthday to Dawud Wharnsby:

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:24:23 AM PDT

    •  Only? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aravir, Diana in NoVa

      That sounds pretty cool to me. I looked at an early American cook book on-line and measurements were things like a hens egg amount this or a Guinean hens portion of butter.

      “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

      by se portland on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:28:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Including "Mrs. Beeton," aravir? (0+ / 0-)

      Ooh, I'm with you, I love old cookbooks too. I have a 19th-century book of English recipes that includes "Grassy Corner Pudding," made for young Oxford students, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

      Is Dawud Wharnsby Welsh? Thanks for the song!

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 09:39:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have several first editions. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    I'm not sure they're particularly valuable, though.  Most of them are new and the rest are from the WWI era and the 1920s - books for girls, not commonly known.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:52:30 AM PDT

    •  Used to read those "Girls' Annuals" all the time (0+ / 0-)

      as a child in Singapore. The girls in question were British, of course, Singapore being a Crown colony in those days. Those books were chock-full of stories, bits of history, riddles, and poems. I remember one biographical sketch of Mary Queen of Scots, titled "A Favorite of Misfortune."

      What are the books for girls that you have? They're not...aah...Elsie Dinsmore books, are they?  Was thinking of Gene Stratton-Porter last night while falling asleep:  Her Father's Daughter, The Magic Garden, Girl of the Limberlost, and Freckles. Those books are, like, terminally out of fashion today but in the author's day they did quite well.

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 09:43:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Two different series. (0+ / 0-)

        Betty Gordon.  I think I have all of them, but I've seen one list that shows a final book I don't have.

        The "Somewhere In" series.  It's six books about girls' adventures in different countries during WWI.  The youngest heroine is 10, the oldest 17 - the rest are 14, 15 and 16, as I recall.  Two of them are the same age, but I can't remember what age it is.

        Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

        by loggersbrat on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 11:59:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  First Editions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    I have first editions of Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath and William Buroughs's, Naked Lunch.  The first was a hand me down from my parents; the second bought at a rummage sale in Madison, Wisconsin in the mid-Seventies.

    I doubt that they're worth very much but I did enjoy reading them.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:01:58 AM PDT

    •  OMG, kaleidescope, I do wonder whether (0+ / 0-)

      "The Naked Lunch" first edition would be snapped up by City Lights Bookstore in San Fran, if it still exists.  I hope it does. That place was the coolest of the cool.

      Wouldn't surprise me if those who value first editions and spend to acquire them would be quite interested in your first edition of The Grapes of Wrath. What a title, eh?

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 09:45:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Although I don't collect them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    I own a certain number.

    The period from the mid-1980's to the late 1990's saw the rise of gay literary novels.

    Back when such things were more widespread (most have been put out of business now thanks to the rise first of Borders and then of Amazon) I would haunt the aisles of LGBT bookstores (Lambda Rising in DC, A Different Light in San Francisco) waiting for new books from my favorite authors to appear, or showing up for their book tours. While not everyone had their works appear in hardcover editions, at least initially, a number did, particularly during the years when St Martins Press had a line dedicated to (mainly gay male) authors. The result is that I have a bunch of first editions, often signed, by people like Edmund White, Christopher Bram and David Leavitt and...well don't ask me to name names; I'm at work and my bookcases are at home.  I have quite a few first editions by writers who did not continue to write; all to often because they passed away during the height of the AIDS epidemic. But their work lives on.

    •  Oh, sfbob, that's sad about the writers who died (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob

      during the height of the AIDS epidemic. What a cruel disease it was and still is.

      There's a gay bookstore in London--or at least, there was--that I loved visiting during vacations in that city. It was called "Gay's the Word" and I used to buy heaps and heaps of Mel Keegan's gay sci-fi and adventure stories there.

      I like gay fiction because in the books I've read, both partners are equally intelligent and courageous. Neither does something so stupid that he has to be "rescued" by the other. They're both financially equal too, which I like.

      Get so tired of het romances, which we get ad nauseam 24/7 from the media, Hollywood, and the establishment press.

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 09:51:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannett (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    I'll have to check, but I'm pretty sure my copy is a 1st edition.

    I'm a paperback kinda gal (ok, now I'm an audiobook kinda gal).

    Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

    by raincrow on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 11:26:38 AM PDT

    •  Would be interesting to find out whether you do (0+ / 0-)

      have a first edition, raincrow!

      My Father's Dragon sounds like a sci-fi novel. Is it?

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 11:37:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a very cute story for kids (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Diana in NoVa

        The writer's tells her/his father's tale of stowing away as a little boy to an island where he rescues a baby dragon. In his pack he takes bubble gum, hair ribbons, a brush, comb, mirror, and probably some other stuff I can't remember -- and ends up using every bit of it to avoid being eaten by the wild animals he encounters.

        Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

        by raincrow on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 04:04:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a first edition of Catcher in the Rye. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    It is still my favorite book, and was a gift for my 18th birthday from my much older sister.

    It is my most prized possession, not because of its worth, but because it was a gift from my sister.

    "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

    by MichiganGirl on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 11:59:48 AM PDT

    •  Oh, what a nice story, MichiganGirl! (0+ / 0-)

      I still like Catcher. Was enraptured by it when I was 16!  It just seemed so fresh and lively, so unlike the other books I was reading.

      Your sister must be the greatest!

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 04:15:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don’t collect (or really care about) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    first editions, but I do have a copy of the three-volume first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.  I got it from my mother some years ago.  I’m not sure, but I think that she latched onto it in the days when she ran the library book sale in the small town where she lived.  It’s quite fascinating to read what was thought worthy of inclusion in 1768-71.

    Let’s see.  I’ve a first edition of Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy; it was a Christmas present when I was kid.  I’ve a first edition of Arnold D. Wadler’s crackpot One Language ~ Source of All Tongues, published in 1948 by the American Press for Art and Science.

    In general I couldn’t care less whether a book is autographed, but I do have two autographed first editions that mean something to me: both books — Mary Gentle’s Ash and Nicky Browne’s Warriors of Ethandun — were gifts from the authors, for help rendered.

    •  Your collection sounds both esoteric and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BMScott

      interesting, BMScott!

      Yes, I'm with you--more interested in what's between the covers than whether it's a first edition or not, although I know there is a certain cachet connected with first editions.

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 04:17:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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