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Misprinted copy of Go Set a Watchman sells for £988

Go Set a Watchman

A misprinted copy of Go Set a Watchman has sold for £988 on the AbeBooks marketplace. Earlier this month, it emerged that a number of the UK first editions were missing sections of text from pages toward the end of Harper Lee’s novel.

The Guardian had reported:

A number of the first 25,000 copies of Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set a Watchman are missing paragraphs and sentences from the final pages – with many readers complaining it has tainted their reading of the book. It is unknown how many of the books purchased are missing the pieces of text.

The novel, a sequel to Lee’s 1960 debut, To Kill a Mockingbird, sold more than 105,000 copies in the UK on its first day of release. According to publisher Penguin Random House, the misprint occurred after an error at the printers resulted in six pages towards the end of the UK edition having missing lines.

In a statement the publisher added: “Due to an error in the printing process a limited number of copies of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman are faulty. Replacement copies are currently being printed and the situation will be resolved swiftly.”

“It was just incredibly frustrating,” said Mike Bell, who pre-ordered the book so it would arrive on the day of its release. “It seems a shame to mess up the printing on such a historic book. There were several sentences that were incomplete or missing entirely and it just really bothers you and disrupts your reading. I’ve got a new copy coming so I’m going to go back and reread those pages but it’s a bit late now.”

Well, Mr Bell’s flawed copy potentially has some value. Let hope he didn’t throw it away. There are no other misprinted copied listed for sale on the AbeBooks marketplace right now and it appears the misprints are limited to the UK. The buyer who purchased this particular book was not located in the UK.

Some collectors enjoy picking up literary oddities and these misprinted Watchmen books definitely fall into that category.


The top 10 summers in fiction

summer-book-tove-janssonThe Guardian’s Tim Lott has a post today chronicling what he believes to be the Top 10 Summers in fiction (reproduced below). What do you think? What would you add? I think it’s a solid list, though I’d want to include The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The latter takes place over three years, true, but the summers, when Dill visits, are so perfectly written.

Here are Lott’s choices:

1. The Magus by John Fowles
Fowles is no longer a fashionable writer, but The Magus for me was the ultimate summer book when I first read it in my early 20s. Set on the Greek island of Phraxos, full of mystery, sexual undercurrents and discomfiting plot reversals, it is the work of a master storyteller. Some critics have complained of it being a work of adolescent sexual fantasy, and their claims are not groundless. But few books have transported me more effectively into their imaginative territory. I am astonished that no one has tried to make a film of it since the disastrous adaptation of 1968.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
What is there left to say about this most perfect novel? The beauty of Fitzgerald is that he writes so simply and directly, and yet with such depth and presence; such a quiet yet powerful “voice”. Set in 1922, like all great summer novels it creates an atmosphere of heat and water and mystery – the greatest mystery being Gatsby himself. One of my favourite scenes in all literature, when Gatsby shows Daisy Buchanan his expensive shirts in a pathetic effort to convince her that he is worthy of her love, is just one small and luminous piece of a remarkable whole.

3. The Last Weekend by Blake Morrison
This unreliably narrated novel tells of a single weekend in August in which a friendship is gradually unpicked by male rivalry and sexual competition. Morrison starts by making you laugh – and finishes by horrifying you with the relentlessness and self-deceiving ruthlessness of his protagonist.

4. The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell
For some reason, despite effectively winning the Booker prize twice, Farrell has never entered the popular imagination as one of the greats. This is his masterpiece. Complex, rich, dark and very funny, it is set at the time of the so-called Indian Mutiny of 1857, and explodes imperial pretensions with such a light touch that one could read it simply as comedy, although it is in fact multi-layered and profound. No one writes like Farrell: he manages to capture the real randomness and absurdity of everyday life (and even being under siege in India has its own everday-ness) with unparalleled skill.

5. Atonement by Ian McEwan
For my money, McEwan’s greatest book, and something of a departure from what came before (and after). Set in the summer of 1935, but with a distinctly Edwardian feel, the country-house setting evokes all the usual spirits of sex, corruption and innocence, but with such authenticity you feel it is being done for the first time.

6. Skios by Michael Frayn
Michael Frayn’s mind seems to contain such multitudes that it is hard to get a fix on what kind of a writer he really is, as he swings between philosophy, drama, comedy and serious literary intent. I like him best when he’s being funny, though, and Skios is his funniest book since Towards the End of the Morning. Again set on a Greek island, this is a classic plot involving the unlikely confusion of identities between a roué and stuffy academic, and for all its implausibility, you buy into it sufficiently to enjoy it. The mysterious ending is typical Frayn, lifting what was simply a deft piece of entertainment into the realms of the profound.

7. Nemesis by Philip Roth
Set in 1944 during a summer polio epidemic in Roth’s home turf of Newark, New Jersey, Nemesis is one of Roth’s most readable works. It makes uncomfortable beach material because it is fundamentally – like most of Roth’s work – a tragedy, with Bucky Cantor, the innocent at the centre of the narrative, the victim of a pitiless destiny.

8. Becoming Strangers by Louise Dean
In 2006, when I had the privilege of running the ultimate summer literary prize, the Le Prince Maurice Prize in Mauritius, this book won easily against the field. A work of humour and tenderness, set at a Caribbean resort and focused on two married couples, it was Dean’s debut and her finest novel to date.
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9. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
I have to admit that I do not love The Summer Book as much as some of the people I know who rave about it. It is somewhat self-consciously literary for my taste, and occasionally hard going, but that is because it resembles poetry more than it does prose and is shot through with meanings that are elusive and obscure. But I cannot help but admire it, even though given a choice, I would probably select Moominsummer Madness for my holiday reading.

10. The Go-Between by LP Hartley
Famous for its first line “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there”, this is a masterclass in plot, style and depth. Set in the summer of 1900 but published in 1953, it tells the story of adult desires impinging on childhood naivety. The 1970 Joseph Losey film does the novel justice, but it is no substitute for such sublime prose.


10 Film Recommendations for Book Lovers

dalloway

Look, even the most devout and voracious reader has to come up for air sometimes to prevent our eyes from crossing. And when we do, surely we must dip a toe into the waters of other hobbies. What’s nice, though, is how many of those hobbies can still sneakily support our bibliohabits. Film-watching, of course, is a no-brainer. With many of our most beloved stories adapted for the silver screen, it’s another avenue to spend time with our favourite literary characters.

And even in the case of original films that weren’t books first, many still explore literary events, people and stories in pleasing ways, which is a boon to a booklover.

With that in mind, here are 10 Essential Movies for Book Lovers, as compiled by Decider.com:

 

1. Iris.
This moving drama about British author Iris Murdoch features three incredible performances from Judi Dench (as Murdoch in her elderly years), Kate Winslet (as the young Murdoch), and Jim Broadbent (as her husband, John Bayley). All three were nominated for Oscars for their work (Broadbent won Best Supporting Actor) in this tragic story about one of the greatest British writers, her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and the love she shared with her husband throughout their turbulent years together.

2. Wonder Boys
Curtis Hanson’s comedy, which stars Michael Douglas as one-time literary great who’s now a beleaguered creative writing professor, follows a wacky cast of characters (Tobey Maguire, Robert Downey, Jr., Katie Holmes, and Frances McDormand round out the cast) over the course of one nutty weekend centered around a literary festival. It’s a great adaptation of Michael Chabon’s celebrated novel, Wonder Boys — even if an entire character was cut from the script.

3. Capote
Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as celebrated writer Truman Capote. Bennett Miller’s stark drama follows Capote as he travels to Kansas in order to write about the two men who are suspected of murdering a family as they slept. With his friend Harper Lee (played by Oscar nominee Catherine Keener) in tow, Capote gets uncomfortably close to the subjects in order to judge for himself whether or not they are guilty. The film serves as an intriguing biopic of the events that took place while Capote wrote his game-changing true-crime book, In Cold Blood.

4.  Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
Robert Altman produced this indie directed by his protégé Alan Rudolph, which stars Jennifer Jason Lee as the writer Dorothy Parker, one of the more celebrated writers who met daily at the Algonquin Hotel and were known collectively as the Algonquin Round Table. The film boasts a cast of characters that includes writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, George S. Hart, and Edna Ferber, and also features a star-studded cast that includes Matthew Broderick, Martha Plimpton, Lili Taylor, Jon Favreau, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

5.  Midnight in Paris
Like Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Midnight in Paris features an impressive roster of real-life writers and artists that will spark joy in any former English major. But Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning romantic comedy also has a fantasy bent to it, in which a modern-day writer (played by Owen Wilson) escapes into the glitzy social circles of 1920s Paris every night at midnight, where he rubs shoulders with Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and T. S. Eliot.

6. Miss Potter
Perhaps your literary tastes skew a bit… younger? Well, this charming biographical film about Beatrix Potter (played by Renee Zellweger) may bring delight to your heart, especially as it includes animated sequences of her famous stories and characters, particularly Peter Rabbit.

7. Quills
If your tastes run darker, then how about this drama that follows the notorious Marquis de Sade (played by Geoffrey Rush), his final years at the French asylum at Charenton, and his efforts to publish his saucy tales through the black market despite Napoleon’s orders than his books be banned. Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet, and Michael Caine co-star in this Oscar-nominated adaptation of Doug Wright’s controversial play.

8. The Hours
Nicole Kidman won an Oscar for her portrayal of the great Virginia Woolf  in this ensemble drama that shows how three women — Woolf, a 1950s housewife (played by Julianne Moore), and a modern-day version of Clarissa Dalloway (Meryl Streep) — across time are connected to Woolf’s tour de force, Mrs. Dalloway.

9. Ruby Sparks
Zoe Kazan wrote and stars in this fanciful satire about an anxious and introverted young writer (played by Paul Dano) who struggles to replicate his early success with a new novel. After drafting up the image of a young woman named Ruby Sparks, he’s startled to learn that the woman he created with his mind has come to life. Soon he discovers how to get over his writer’s block: by controlling the woman of his dreams.

10. Dead Poets’ Society
This much-beloved, modern classic stars Robin Williams as John Keating, a new English teacher at the prestigious (albeit fictional) Welton Academy, who shakes up the lives of his students (a motley crew including young Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, and Robert Sean Leonard) and inspires them not just to read and enjoy poetry, but also achieve their best selves. 


Ali Smith Wins 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

how-be-both-smith

Big congratulations to Ali Smith, whose novel How to Be Both has been announced the winner of this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. The book has been called eloquent and lyrical, unusual and magical, and a modern revelation.

This year marks 20 years of the prize, which was formerly known as the Orange Prize for Fiction.

The prize comes with the honour and prestige, a cheque for £30,000 and a limited-edition bronze statuette known as a “Bessie”, created and donated by an artist named Grizel Niven.

Congratulations as well to the other five finalists for their excellence and recognition:

Outline by Rachel Cusk

The Bees by Laline Paull (find signed copies)

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (find signed copies)

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (find signed copies)

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (find signed copies)

The prize began with a longlist of 20 books, then down to the six semi-finalists of the shortlist, and today at last the winner was announced, live-streamed and live-tweeted from the awards ceremony.


BBC radio show sparks interest in forgotten farming book from 1944

The Farming Ladder by George Henderson

A long forgotten farming book published in 1944, that promotes small-scale agriculture, is in demand again after being featured on a BBC Radio 4 show at the weekend.

The Farming Ladder by George Henderson was the basis for Sybil Ruscoe’s On the Farm, which is broadcast at 6.35am on Sunday mornings. The book outlines the best methods for agricultural production on small farms, and was intended to encourage soldiers, returning from World War II, to take up farming.

Since Sunday, The Farming Ladder was the most searched for book on AbeBooks.co.uk – the online marketplace for used and rare books.

Although farmers are early risers and often listen to early morning radio while milking or feeding animals, the book is also going to appeal to many other people interested in sustainable farming, local produce and organic food.

Henderson was convinced that small farms could be profitable and his book describes an intensive but chemical-free style of mixed farming where animals play a vital role by providing natural fertilizer – manure. The Farming Ladder details cattle, sheep, poultry and pig husbandry on a small scale.

According the radio show, Henderson’s motto was the three S’s – no smoking, no swearing and no standing about. The book, which appears to have been reprinted several times, turned Henderson into an agricultural celebrity in the 1940s and 1950s with thousands of people visiting his 85-acre Oathill Farm in Oxfordshire to learn more about his methods.

Henderson’s widow, Elizabeth, a former land girl, is still alive and was interviewed in the show. George’s granddaughter Kate, who’s in her early 20s, works on Oathill Farm today.

The Farming Ladder is also available as a print on demand book.

A map of George Henderson’s Oathill Farm

Farmer and author George Henderson

The Farming Ladder published by Faber and Faber

A photograph from The Farming Ladder

Further images from Henderson’s book


The 16th century book that launched a thousand travel books

Navigationi et Viaggi offered by Isseido Booksellers of Tokyo

Travel writing has been around for about two thousand years with both the Romans and Greeks documenting their experiences of early exploration. However, the 16th century marked the real start of travel writing with advances in printing technology and numerous explorers – from Francis Drake to Martin Frobisher – traveling to the corners of the globe on behalf of their respective superpowers.

Tokuei Ueda, foreign books manager at Isseido Booksellers, opens the copy of Navigationi et Viaggi

The Isseido Booksellers in Tokyo recently gave AbeBooks a special insight into one particularly important travel book from this period. Giovanni Battista Ramusio (1485-1557) was a civil servant in the Venetian Republic but his real passion was geography and he keenly followed all the latest developments from the great explorers of this age.

Fluent in several languages, Ramusio amassed various books and manuscripts, and compiled his learnings into Navigationi et Viaggi (Navigations and Travels). The book includes details on the travels of Marco Polo, Niccolò Da Conti, Magellan, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and Giosafat Barbaro. Early maps of Brazil, Canada, New England, Africa, Asia and Japan were included.

The first volume was published in 1555 with the third volume published in 1556. The second was delayed by a fire that destroyed the manuscript (a not uncommon occurrence at this time) and was finally published in 1559. The book was so popular that is was reprinted several times and translated into several languages. People were genuinely eager to learn about the extent and nature of the world around them.

The copy offered by Isseido Booksellers covers volumes printed in 1563, 1565 and 1583, and is priced at £26,077 ($40,845). There are four more copies available on AbeBooks for higher prices, which indicates the importance of this particular book.

Navigationi et Viaggi


Osama Bin Laden’s bookshelf

I’m confused as to why the US authorities would release a list of the books that appeared on the shelves of Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistan compound but the list is now being analysed around the world.

Bin Laden read books about law, military strategy and, of course, books about the 9/11 attacks, including conspiracy theories. Fiction was not on his bedside table. Many people have called out the presence of books by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward and American academic Noam Chomsky. The book Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 AD by CR Haines actually looks very interesting to anyone who likes Spanish history.

Here is the full list of English language books

Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward

The 2030 Spike by Colin Mason
A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam by IA Ibrahim
America’s Strategic Blunders by Willard Matthias
America’s War on Terrorism by Michel Chossudovsky
Al-Qaeda’s Online Media Strategies: From Abu Reuter to Irhabi 007 by Hanna Rogan
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast
The Best Enemy Money Can Buy by Anthony Sutton
Black Box Voting, Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century by Bev Harris
Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier
Bounding the Global War on Terror by Jeffrey Record
Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions by Henry Sokolski and Patrick Clawson
Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 AD by CR Haines
Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies by Cheryl Benard
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Committee of 300 by John Coleman
Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert
Guerrilla Air Defense: Antiaircraft Weapons and Techniques for Guerrilla Forces by James Crabtree
Handbook of International Law by Anthony Aust
Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky
Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer
In Pursuit of Allah’s Pleasure by Asim Abdul Maajid, Esaam Ud-Deen and Naahah Ibrahim
Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II by William Blum
Military Intelligence Blunders by John Hughes-Wilson
Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky
New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin
New Political Religions, or Analysis of Modern Terrorism by Barry Cooper
Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward
Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum
The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall
Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins
The Taking of America 1-2-3 by Richard Sprague
Unfinished Business, U.S. Overseas Military Presence in the 21st Century by Michael O’Hanlon
The U.S. and Vietnam 1787-1941 by Robert Hopkins Miller


Inscribed first edition of The Little Prince goes on sale for £150,000

A remarkable early copy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic children’s story featuring a drawing and a note of thanks to Dorothy Barclay, the reporter’s assistant who helped the author estimate the number of stars visible from Earth, has gone on sale for £150,000.

The inscribed copy of The Little Prince

Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince, published in 1943, while living on Long Island in the United States. He asked a friend, Helen Lazeroff, a reporter on the New York Times, to help him find out how many stars can be seen from Earth. Her assistant, Dorothy Barclay, phoned the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan and reported back to the author.

In the book, the Little Prince meets a businessman who is counting the stars – 501,622,731 – which he claims he owns. The grateful author inscribed this copy to Barclay and drew a picture showing a disappointed Little Prince after landing on Earth.

In the sketch, the downcast Prince says (written in French): “You’d have to be completely crazy to have chosen this planet. It is only pleasant at night when the inhabitants are asleep.”

However, below the figure Saint-Exupéry has added (again in French): “The Little Prince was wrong. There are on Earth some inhabitants whose straightforwardness, sweetness and generosity of heart make up for the avarice and egotism of the others. For example, Dorothy Barclay …”

The book, an English language first edition published by Reynal & Hitchcock, is offered for sale by London-based bookseller Peter Harrington (check out their video below about the book). This copy of The Little Prince is by far the most expensive one for sale on the AbeBooks marketplace.

The book for sale also includes a typed note from Barclay to Saint-Exupéry saying she thought the book was “movingly beautiful.”

The Little Prince remains one of the most iconic books published in the 20th century. Translated into dozens of languages, it tells the story of a crashed pilot who meets a young prince who has fallen to Earth. Saint-Exupéry, a pilot himself, died when his plane disappeared over the Mediterranean in 1944 so collectible copies of this nature are extremely rare.

Saint-Exupéry’s inscription to Dorothy Barclay in The Little Prince

This particular copy is around £150,000 out of my personal price range but I can recommend The Little Prince 70th Anniversary Gift Set which includes an audio CD of the fable narrated by Viggo Mortensen.


Next stop Munich’s pop-up rare book fair

My colleague Charlotte Lacroix visited the ILAB pop-up rare book fair in Munich earlier today. The event took place in Kaufmanns-Casino and I particularly adore the idea of books appearing in a place of gambling.

Kaufmanns-Casino is a famous cocktail venue where Munich’s movers and shakers like to drink after work and it’s been that way since the 19th century. Everyone who is anyone in Bavaria has been there. Located on the prestigious Odeonsplatz, Kaufmanns-Casino hosted around 120 guests for today’s ILAB book fair.

One of the organizers, Eberhard Köstler, welcomed the guests and a good number of local booksellers were in attendance, including Abeceda Antiquariat, Christof Groessl, Hartung & Hartung, J. J. Heckenhauer, Daniela Kromp, Antiquariat Kurz, Musikantiquariat  Marion Neugebauer, Dasa Pahor and Thomas Rezek.

Enjoy Charlotte’s pictures.

Eberhard Köstler welcomes the guests

Kaufmanns-Casino is located in one of Munich's upmarket areas

Kaufmanns-Casino is located in one of Munich’s upmarket areas

The team from Antiquariat Kurz display their books

A selection of collectible items from Hartung & Hartung

A selection of eye-catching rare books on display in Munich

More rare books on display in Kaufmanns-Casino


A photographic tour of the ILAB pop-up rare book fairs around the world

In Groningen, Netherlands, the ILAB book fair took over an entire street with booksellers Lyseth Belt and Theo Butterhof leading the way.

To celebrate UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day, ILAB booksellers have organised pop-up book fair around the world. Take a photographic tour of the events going on around the globe today. Visit the ILAB pop-up book fair blog for more details.

In Antwerp, Belgium, two booksellers (Erik Tonen and Peter Everaers) combined for an event at Bibliotheek Permeke.

In Barcelona, Spain, the famous Las Ramblas street staged a pop-up book fair.

Also in Spain, Bilbao hosted another pop-up book fair at Librería Anticuaria Astarloa.

In Hungary, Budapest's Instituto Cervantes hosted a book fair.

In Hungary, Budapest’s Instituto Cervantes hosted a book fair.

In the Netherlands, booksellers took over Haarlem Central Station.

In the Netherlands, booksellers took over Haarlem Central Station.

In Japan, a pop-up fair was hosted at the World Antiquarian Book Plaza in downtown Tokyo.

In Japan, a pop-up fair was hosted at the World Antiquarian Book Plaza in downtown Tokyo.

In London, the historic Middle Temple library became a book fair for the day.

In London, the historic Middle Temple library became a book fair for the day.

In Salisbury, the book fair was hosted via a VW campervan.

In Salisbury, UK, a book fair was hosted via a VW campervan belonging to bookseller Amanda Hall.

Salisbury's campervan book fair.

Salisbury’s campervan book fair.