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Italy in Bocca – how rare cookbooks with cardboard covers inspired a food film

Roberto Serrini, an editor and filmmaker, and Peter Boggia, a motorcycle mechanic, are two friends from Queens with a shared love of books and food, particularly authentic Italian cuisine.

Inspired by a series of rare cardboard-bound, handwritten cookbooks published in 1976 by a small Italian publisher called Edizone Il Vespro, Roberto and Peter have made a short documentary film called Italy in Bocca.

Roberto Serrini (left) and Peter Boggia (Pic: italyinbocca.com)

The ‘In Bocca’ series of cookbooks explores 20 different regions of Italy (Roma in Bocca, Veneto in Bocca, Umbria in Bocca etc) through authentic recipes, and also poetry, art, and history. Filled with eye-catching illustrations that vary in style, these are scarce books with less than 50 copies available on AbeBooks.

The day before the Covid-19 lockdown began in New York, Roberto and Peter decided to have a “last supper” and cook four recipes from the books. Using minimal video equipment, simple, quality ingredients, and their raw passion for food, the two friends created a lively short nfilm that celebrates the cookbooks and Italian cuisine.

We tracked down Peter and Roberto as the Covid-19 lockdown continued, and asked some questions about the cookbooks, their documentary and the joy of Italian cooking.

AbeBooks: Tell us about the books. Where did you first see them? What are they like?

Peter: “It goes back pretty far. A friend’s father and his grandfather were avid readers and collectors of books and comics. His grandfather went to Italy regularly and had a few of these cookbooks, and we, as teenagers, were paid to clean and organize all these books. We stumbled upon the cookbooks and we both fell in love with them. They jump out at you. They weren’t my books but I never forgot them. Over the years, I built my business and lived in various places, and I sometimes thought ‘where are those books?’ I couldn’t even remember the name of the series. I started hunting around the Internet and found they were called the In Bocca series and I started buying them up. Once I got one or two, I fell in love with them again and I only recently completed the set. It took a long time. Roberto and I did a trip to Italy where we really bonded as friends and afterwards I gave him one of the books as a thank you. The Roma book, which is where his family is from.”

AbeBooks: The art work is eye-catching, not typical 1970s style. They look a little like a graphic novel?

Roberto: “This Roma book blew my mind right off the top. The cover was a full illustration, from hand-painted transfers, and the pages were from recycled rough oatmeal. There were a lot of bright colors from different regional artists and different themes from food to politics, history and poetry. They really do capture your imagination unlike any other cookbook I have seen. They transcend food and go into the culture of Italy. You get a sense of the country and the people, and their love for the land. They just kind of attack you with these wild illustrations and colors.”

Peter: “The outside is cardboard but inside the illustrations are extremely vibrant. The illustrations are quirky and strange, and have a bit of meaning to them. Sometimes they are just having fun with you – Mount Vesuvius blowing up with pasta sauce or the Coliseum overflowing with Carbonara.”

Striking illustrations on cardboard covers

AbeBooks: And the cardboard covers. Are they are fragile?

Roberto: “Yes, that makes them cool. They are made from a material you really don’t want to make a cookbook with. They are delicate and easily bend at the corners. They almost have an organic lifespan, which I think is beautiful when you are talking about food and culture.”

AbeBooks: Which recipes did you decide to cook?

Peter: “That was a hard decision. There were so many weird quirky dishes. We had to reel it in a bit with our decision-making. I made Milanese. We both have a minor obsession about that dish, and have crawled around Milan looking for the best ones.”

Roberto: “We did four dishes – Vitello tonnato, which is thinly sliced veal with a tuna sauce, which if it doesn’t sound good to you, you’re wrong because it’s amazing.  Rigatoni with a chicken liver sauce, which both of us raised an eyebrow to. It sounded funky but turned out to be amazing too. We then did a classic Suppli, that’s rice balls, or Arancini. Peter helmed that dish and slayed it. We’ve made that dish several times since and you can see my body has changed since discovering this recipe. The final one was the Milanese chop. It’s a comfort food and if you do it right and use the right amount of butter, which is the size of small baby actually, it comes out like everything that is good in the world.”

There’s a graphic novel quality to the illustrations (Pic: italyinbocca.com)

AbeBooks: What did you learn by cooking the recipes?

Peter: “Roberto and I are close friends and have traveled a lot together. We share the same passions. We wanted to prove that we could try and make these dishes. I had never really made risotto, and it came out nicely. I just went for it and I had Roberto to keep me in check. It’s all in the ingredients. We’ve talked about it multiple times. We are not cooks, we are home cooks but we have taste. We came to realize the ingredients should be the best ingredients.”

AbeBooks: So the lockdown started and you spent your time editing the film?

Roberto: “I’m an editor and mostly direct commercials. We made this film just because I happened to have a camera with me. We didn’t have a reason or point. As we were putting together the footage, all this horrible news from coming from Italy. It was the beginning of the pandemic and they were getting hit harder than anywhere else. It affected how the film turned out. We wanted people to remember all the great things about Italy and realize that they are suffering and need help.”

Handwritten recipes of regional dishes (Pic: italyinbocca.com)

AbeBooks: What are you going to do with the film?

Roberto: “It has become clear that this could easily become an on-going project. We’ve had chefs calling and it has touched a lot of people. We weren’t expecting that, but we made it with love and it’s a really authentic piece of material. We can see it being a series, there are 20 books and 20 regions. We are now talking to various people to develop it into a bigger project.”

AbeBooks: Should the In Bocca cookbooks be republished?

Roberto: “We hope so. The day after we released the film, the daughter of the man who started Il Vespro, the original publishing company, called us. She was on the phone telling us about how this was her father’s biggest project and something he really cared about. She hadn’t heard about the books for 30 years and then all of sudden these two kids from New York made this video. She said the handwriting in the book was her aunt’s. It blew my mind. So yes, I can see these books being republished, hopefully in the same format because the cardboard covers are so unique. People love cookbooks, they are the closest thing we have to spell books in the real world.”

Learn more about the In Bocca film, the cookbooks, and Peter and Roberto, at their website.

Find copies of the In Bocca cookbooks.


25 Out-of-Print Books That Were Used Bestsellers in 2019

Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus Sedgwick’s debut novel from 2000 is bizarrely out-of-print. This fantasy story, aimed at young adults, imagines a future where England is covered by water and the city of Norwich is now an island. Zoe has been left behind and struggles to survive amid the chaos. This piece of environmental fiction doesn’t look so fictional today.

Celia, A Slave by Melton A Mclaurin

In 1850, 14-year-old Celia became the property of Robert Newsom, a Missouri farmer. For the next five years, she was abused by her master. Based on court records, correspondences and newspaper articles, this non-fiction account describes the extraordinary events concerning this young woman’s bid for justice and survival.

It’s Always Something by Gilda Radner

Radner’s memoir was last published in 2009. It’s funny and painful. The comedienne died in 1989 from ovarian cancer and this book describes her struggle against the disease. Radner was one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live and this book takes its title from one of her character’s catchphrases.

Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia by Suzanne Massie

An in-depth look at Russian history from 987 to 1917, spanning the ascension of Vlad and the Orthodox Church to the factors that led to the Revolution. Czars, serfs, merchant, and babushkas – nearly a thousand years of critical history that is still impacting the world today.

Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora

This book was published in 1986 and remains the best field guide to mushrooms. Why hasn’t it been republished when foraging is bigger than ever?  David Arora provides a beginner’s checklist of the 70 most distinctive and common mushrooms, plus detailed chapters on terminology, classification, habitats, mushroom cookery, mushroom toxins, and the meanings of scientific mushroom names.

Monet’s Table: The Cooking Journals of Claude Monet by Claire Joyes

Monet lived for half his life in the famous house at Giverny where he entertained countless visitors. The recipes collected in his cooking journals include dishes Monet encountered on his travels or had enjoyed in restaurants in Paris, as well as recipes from friends, such as Cézanne’s bouillabaisse.  Illustrated with reproductions of Monet’s paintings, photographs of Giverny, selected shots of dishes, and facsimile pages from the notebooks themselves.

Typical American: A Novel by Jen Gish

This novel portray the Chinese immigrant experience in America and follows the fortunes of the Chang family as they adjust to their new surroundings. They quickly become caught up in suburban life and the American dream. First published in 1991 and last reprinted in 2008.

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America by John M. Barry

One of America’s greatest natural disasters occurred in 1927 when the Mississippi flooded. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, influenced politics, and forced thousands of people to move north. A timely reminder of how nature cannot be controlled.

Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale by Garth & Vicky Waite

An illustrated account of a newly married couple’s first year on the tiny Scottish island of Easdale. The book took six years to complete, and will delight anyone who dreams about quitting the city and heading to a remote island. First published in 1985.

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans by A.J. Baime

This non-fiction book encapsulates the plot of the Ford vs Ferrari movie starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, released in November 2019.  It describes how Henry Ford II, Lee Iacocca and Carroll Shelby reinvent the Ford motor company by racing at Le Mans in the 1960s.

Gnomes by Wil Huygen

First published in Dutch in 1976 as ‘Leven en werken van de kabouter’, Gnomes was the first in a series of Gnome-related books written by Wil Huygen and illustrated by Rien Poortvliet. The book explains the life and habitat of gnomes. No, really.

Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog

Non-fiction. Mary grew up fatherless in a one-room cabin, without running water or electricity, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Rebelling against the aimless drinking, cruel missionary school, and violence of reservation life, she joins the new movement of tribal pride sweeping Native American communities in the 1960s and 1970s. Originally published in 1990.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

This novel describes the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the food she cooks. In desperation, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close. What could go wrong? Like Water for Chocolate was published in 1989 by Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel, who uses magical realism throughout. Not published in English since the 1990s.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

This children’s book won a Newbery Medal but hasn’t been published since 2009. Still hugely popular in schools. Jeffrey Lionel ‘Maniac’ Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run. His feats change the course of a racially divided small town.

Mapping the Mind by Rita Carter

Last published in 2010. Drawing on the latest imaging technology and the expertise of scientists, Carter explores the geography of the brain. The book’s 150 illustrations present an illustrated guide as Carter shows how our personalities reflect the biological mechanisms underlying thought and emotion, and how behavioral eccentricities may be traced to abnormalities in the brain.

Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk

Published in 2006, a portrait of Lincoln’s personal struggles and how depression influenced both the president’s character and leadership. Shenk discovers the president’s coping strategies, including his rich sense of humor and a tendency towards quiet reflection.

Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson

A reminder of why hurricanes should never be under-estimated. Not published since 2008, this non-fiction book describes how Galveston in Texas, was destroyed in 1900 by a storm that killed 6,000 people.  It is still the greatest natural disaster in American history and human arrogance played a huge contributing role in the death toll.

Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler

Last published in 2013, this is the true account of a boy’s harrowing journey through the vast wilderness of the Katahdin Mountains. Twelve-year-old Donn Fendler steps away from his scout troop for only a minute, but in the foggy mountains of Maine, he finds himself lost and alone.

Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick

Last published in 2013. The first person to successfully raise newborn elephants, Daphne Sheldrick has saved countless African animals from certain death. In this memoir, Daphne describes her remarkable career as a conservationist. She also shares the story of her relationship with the Tsavo National Park warden whose death inspired the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Lyddie by Katherine Paterson

This children’s novel was last published in 2004. When 10-year-old Lyddie and her younger brother are hired out as servants to help pay off their family debts, Lyddie is determined to find a way to reunite her family. Hearing about the textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, she heads to the city. Paterson is best known for Bridge to Terabithia.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible

Published once in 2003, this cookbook is still in demand from curry fans. With over 150 recipes, Jeffrey starts with the best curry recipes in India today, moves on to Asian curries, and even includes European curry ideas such as French curry sauces.

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

Published in 1996. The award-winning director describes the world of film, discussing the art and craft of directing, writers and actors, the camera, art direction, editing, sound tracks, distribution and marketing, and the studio role. Lumet died in 2011. His films include 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon and Network.

The Lunar Men : A Story of Science, Art, Invention and Passion by Jenny Uglow

Non-fiction published in 2003 by Faber and Faber. In the 1760s, a group of amateur inventors met and became friends in the Midlands. They formed the Lunar Society of Birmingham and their band included toy-maker Matthew Boulton, steam engine inventor James Watt, potter Josiah Wedgewood, poet Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen. These people launched the industrial revolution.

In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honor

Non-fiction, published in 2005. These days faster is better. But in the race to keep up, everything suffers – work, diet, health, relationships. Carl Honore uncovers a movement that challenges the cult of speed by proving that slower is often preferable. The slow movement covers food, cities and relationships.

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

Vreeland focuses on a single painting, Auguste Renoir’s instantly recognizable masterpiece, Luncheon of the Boating Party, which depicts a gathering of the artist’s friends having fun at a café terrace along the Seine. This novel is narrated by Renoir and seven of his models, and captures the hedonism of the era.


Marilyn Monroe’s personal library: an epic reading list

Marilyn Monroe was an avid reader. Books were a huge part of her life. In 1999, Christie’s staged an auction of her belongings, including her books. The list of the books from her shelves, published by the Booktryst blog several years ago, reveals the actress had an epic personal library, stretching across numerous genres.

Marilyn Monroe was an avid reader who was often seen with a book in hand

There are more than 400 titles on the list. Some are famous and still read today, some are now forgotten. The books appear to show a well-rounded person interested in fiction and non-fiction, and a deep appreciation of fine writing and books that challenge the reader to understand people and the world around them.

The list came to our attention after we heard about the Pinup Book Club, a community dedicated to reading the books from Monroe’s personal library, and also appreciating pinup culture.

Carly Maris, founder of the Pinup Book Club, and The Green Crow by Sean O’Casey

Each month, members read a different book from Marilyn’s library, which includes art, biographies, classical works, gardening and pets, literature, plays, religion, and much more.

Carly Maris is the founder of the Pinup Book Club, which operates mostly via Instagram. Carly joined us for an AbeBooks podcast interview to discuss the origins of the club, and the challenges and joys of reading a library from the 1950s. Obviously, Marilyn, who was photographed reading on numerous occasions, featured heavily in our discussion.

Monroe was just 36 when she died in 1962. For reference, here’s the list.

1) Let’s Make Love by Matthew Andrews
2) How To Travel Incognito by Ludwig Bemelmans
3) To The One I Love Best by Ludwig Bemelmans
4) Thurber Country by James Thurber
5) The Fall by Albert Camus
6) Marilyn Monroe by George Carpozi
7) Camille by Alexander Dumas
8) Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
9) The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt-Farmer
10) The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
11) From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming
12) The Art Of Loving by Erich Fromm
13) The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
14) Ulysses by James Joyce
15) Stoned Like A Statue: A Complete Survey Of Drinking Cliches, Primitive, Classical & Modern by Howard Kandel & Don Safran
16) The Last Temptation Of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis
17) On The Road by Jack Kerouac
18) Selected Poems by DH Lawrence
19 and 20) Sons And Lovers by DH Lawrence (2 editions)
21) The Portable by DH Lawrence
22) Etruscan Places by DH Lawrence
23) DH Lawrence: A Basic Study Of His Ideas by Mary Freeman
24) The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
25) The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud
26) Death In Venice & Seven Other Stories by Thomas Mann
27) Last Essays by Thomas Mann
28) The Thomas Mann Reader
29) Hawaii by James Michener
30) Red Roses For Me by Sean O’Casey
31) I Knock At The Door by Sean O’Casey
32) Selected Plays by Sean O’Casey
33) The Green Crow by Sean O’Casey
34) Golden Boy by Clifford Odets
35) Clash By Night by Clifford Odets
36) The Country Girl by Clifford Odets
37) 6 Plays Of Clifford Odets
38) The Cat With 2 Faces by Gordon Young
39) Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill
40) Part Of A Long Story: Eugene O’Neill As A Young Man In Love by Agnes Boulton
41) The Little Engine That Could by Piper Watty
42) The New Joy Of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer & Marion Rombauer-Becker
43) Selected Plays Of George Bernard Shaw
44) Ellen Terry And Bernard Shaw: A Correspondence
45) Bernard Shaw & Mrs Patrick Campbell: Their Correspondence
46) The Short Reign Of Pippin IV by John Steinbeck
47) Once There Was A War by John Steinbeck
48) Set This House On Fire by William Styron
49) Lie Down In Darkness by William Styron
50) The Roman Spring Of Mrs Stone by Tennessee Williams
51) Camino Real by Tennessee Williams
52) A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
53) The Flower In Drama And Glamour by Stark Young

American Literature
54) Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
55) The Story Of A Novel by Thomas Wolfe
56) Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe
57) A Stone, A Leaf, A Door by Thomas Wolfe
58) Thomas Wolfe’s Letters To His Mother edited by John Skally Terry
59) A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
60) The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
61) Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
62) Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
63) Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
64) The American Claimant & Other Stories & Sketches by Mark Twain
65) In Defense of Harriet Shelley & Other Essays by Mark Twain
66) The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
67) Roughing It by Mark Twain
68) The Magic Christian by Terry Southern
69) A Death In The Family by James Agee
70) The War Lover by John Hersey
71) Don’t Call Me By My Right Name & Other Stories by James Purdy
72) Malcolm by James Purdy

Anthologies
73) The Portable Irish Reader (pub. Viking)
74) The Portable Edgar Allan Poe
75) The Portable Walt Whitman
76) This Week’s Short Stories (New York, 1953)
77) Bedside Book Of Famous Short Stories
78) Short Novels Of Colette
79) Short Story Masterpieces (New York, 1960)
80) The Passionate Playgoer by George Oppenheimer
81) Fancies And Goodnights by John Collier
82) Evergreen Review, Vol 2, No. 6
83) The Medal & Other Stories by Luigi Pirandello

Art
84) Max Weber
85) Renoir by Albert Skira
86) Max by Giovannetti Pericle
87) The Family Of Man by Carl Sandburg
88-90) Horizon, A Magazine Of The Arts (Nov 1959, Jan 1960, Mar 1960.)
91) The Drawings of Jean Dubuffet by Daniel Cordier





Biography
92)
The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham
93) Close To Colette by Maurice Goudeket
94) This Demi-Paradise by Margaret Halsey
95) God Protect Me From My Friends by Gavin Maxwell
96) Minister Of Death: The Adolf Eichmann Story by Quentin Reynolds, Ephraim Katz and Zwy Aldouby
97) Dance To The Piper by Agnes DeMille
98) Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It by Mae West
99) Act One by Moss Hart

Christian Science
100) Science And Health With Key To The Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy
101) Poems, Including Christ And Christmas by Mary Baker Eddy

Classical Works
102) Peace And Lysistrata: Two Plays by Aristophanes
103) The Nature Of Things by Lucretius
104) The Philosophy Of Plato
105) Mythology by Edith Hamilton
106) Theory Of Poetry And Fine Art by Aristotle
107) Metaphysics by Aristotle
108-111) Plutarch’s Lives, Vols 3-6 only (of 6) by William and John Langhorne

Counter-Culture
112) Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie
113) The Support Of The Mysteries by Paul Breslow
114) Paris Blues by Harold Flender
115) The Shook-Up Generation by Harrison E. Salisbury

Foreign-Language Texts And Translations
116) An Mands Ansigt by Arthur Miller
117) Independent People by Halldor Laxness
118) Mujer by Lina Rolan
119) The Havamal, ed. D.E. Martin Clarke
120) Yuan Mei: 18th Century Chinese Poet by Arthur Waley
121) Almanach: Das 73 Jahr by S. Fischer Verlag

French Literature
122) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
123) The Works Of Rabelais
124) The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust
125) Cities Of The Plain by Marcel Proust
126) Within A Budding Grove by Marcel Proust
127) The Sweet Cheat Gone by Marcel Proust
128) The Captive by Marcel Proust
129) Nana by Emile Zola
130) Plays by Moliere

Freud
131) The Life And Work of Sigmund Freud by Ernest Jones
132) Letters Of Sigmund Freud edited by Ernst L. Freud
133) Glory Reflected by Martin Freud
134) Moses And Monotheism by Sigmund Freud
135) Conditioned Reflex Therapy by Andrew Salter


Gardening and Pets

136-137) The Wise Garden Encyclopedia edited by E.L.D. Seymour (2 editions)
138) Landscaping Your Own Home by Alice Dustan
139) Outpost Nurseries – publicity brochure
140) The Forest And The Sea by Marston Bates
141) Pet Turtles by Julien Bronson
142) The Golden Throng: A Book About Bees by Edwin Way Teale
143) Codfish, Cats & Civilization by Gary Webster



Humor
144) How To Do It, Or, The Art Of Lively Entertaining by Elsa Maxwell
145) Wake Up, Stupid by Mark Harris
146) Merry Christmas, Happy New Year by Phyllis McGinley
147) The Hero Maker by Akbar Del Piombo & Norman Rubington
148) How To Talk At Gin by Ernie Kovacs
149) VIP Tosses A Party by Virgil Partch
150) Who Blowed Up The Church House & Other Ozark Folk Tales edited Randolph Vance
151) Snobs by Russell Lynes

Judaica
152) The Form of Daily Prayers
153) Sephath Emeth (Speech Of Truth): Order Of Prayers For The Wholes Year In Jewish and English
154) The Holy Scriptures According To The Masoretic Text

Literature
155) The Law by Roger Vailland
156) The Building by Peter Martin
157) The Mermaids by Boros
158) They Came To Cordura by Glendon Swarthout
159) The 7th Cross by Anna Seghers
160) A European Education by Romain Gary
161) Strike For A Kingdom by Menna Gallie
162) The Slide Area by Gavin Lambert
163) The Woman Who Was Poor by Leon Bloy
164) Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson
165) The Contenders by John Wain
166) The Best Of All Worlds, Or, What Voltaire Never Knew by Hans Jorgen Lembourn
167) The Story Of Esther Costello by Nicholas Montsarrat
168) Oh Careless Love by Maurice Zolotow
169) Add A Dash Of Pity by Peter Ustinov
170) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
171) The Mark Of The Warrior by Paul Scott
172) The Dancing Bear by Edzard Schaper
173) Miracle In The Rain by Ben Hecht
174) The Guide by R.K. Narayan
175) Blow Up A Storm by Garson Kanin
176) Jonathan by Russell O’Neil
177) Fowlers End by Gerald Kersh
178) Hurricane Season by Ralph Winnett
179) The un-Americans by Alvah Bessie
180) The Devil’s Advocate by Morris L. West
181) On Such A Night by Anthony Quayle
182) Say You Never Saw Me by Arthur Nesbitt
183) All The Naked Heroes by Alan Kapelner
184) Jeremy Todd by Hamilton Maule
185) Miss America by Daniel Stern
186) Fever In The Blood by William Pearson
187) Spartacus by Howard Fast
188) Venetian Red by P.M. Pasinetti
189) A Cup Of Tea For Mr Thorgill by Storm Jameson
190) Six O’Clock Casual by Henry W. Cune
191) Mischief by Charlotte Armstrong
192) The Ginkgo Tree by Sheelagh Burns
193) The Mountain Road by Theodore H. White
194) Three Circles Of Light by Pietro Di Donato
195) The Day The Money Stopped by Brendan Gill
196) The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins
197-198) Justine by Lawrence Durrell (2 editions)
199) Balthazar by Larence Durrell
200) Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
201) The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
202) The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett
203) Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dog by Dylan Thomas
204) Hear Us O Lord From Heaven Thy Dwelling Place by Malcolm Lowry



Modern Library
205) The Sound And The Fury/As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
206) God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell
207) Anna Christie/The Emperor Jones/The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill
208) The Philosophy Of Schopenhauer by Irwin Edman
209) The Philosophy Of Spinoza by Joseph Ratner
210) The Dubliners by James Joyce
211) Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson
212) The Collected Short Stories by Dorothy Parker
213) Selected Works by Alexander Pope
214) The Red And The Black by Stendhal
215) The Life Of Michelangelo Buonarroti by John Addington
216) Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
217) Three Famous French Romances
218) Napoleon by Emil Ludwig
219) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (second copy)
220) The Poems And Fairy-Tales by Oscar Wilde
221) Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland/Through The Looking Glass/The Hunting Of The Snark by Lewis Carroll
222) A High Wind In Jamaica by Richard Hughes
223) An Anthology Of American Negro Literature edited by Sylvestre C. Watkins

Music
224) Beethoven: His Spiritual Development by J.W.N. Sullivan
225) Music For The Millions by David Ewen
226) Schubert by Ralph Bates
227) Men Of Music by Wallace Brockway and Herbert Weinstock

Plays
228) The Potting Shed by Graham Greene
229) Politics In The American Drama by Caspar Nannes
230) Sons Of Men by Herschel Steinhardt
231) Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin
232) Untitled & Other Radio Dramas by Norman Corwin
233) Thirteen By Corwin by Norman Corwin
234) More By Corwin by Norman Corwin
235) Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill (second copy)
236) Best American Plays: Third Series 1945-1951
237) Theatre ’52 by John Chapman
238) 16 Famous European Plays by Bennett Cerf and Van H. Cartmell
239) The Complete Plays Of Henry James
240) 20 Best Plays Of The Modern American Theatre by John Gassner
241) Elizabethan Plays by Hazelton Spencer
242) Critics’ Choice by Jack Gaver
243) Modern American Dramas by Harlan Hatcher
244) The Album Of The Cambridge Garrick Club

European Poetry
245) A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Houseman
246) The Poetry & Prose Of Heinrich Heine by Frederich Ewen
247) The Poetical Works Of John Milton by H.C. Beeching
248) The Poetical Works Of Robert Browning
249) Wordsworth by Richard Wilbur
250) The Poetical Works Of Shelley
251) The Portable Blake by William Blake
252) William Shakespeare: Sonnets edited by Mary Jane Gorton
253) Poems Of Robert Burns edited by Henry Meikle & William Beattie
254) The Penguin Book Of English Verse edited by John Hayward
255) Aragon: Poet Of The French Resistance by Hannah Josephson & Malcolm Cowley
256) Star Crossed by MarjorieTilden

American Poetry
257 and 258) Collected Sonnets by Edna St Vincent Millay (2 editions)
259) Robert Frost’s Poems by Louis Untermeyer
260) Poe: Complete Poems
261) The Life And Times Of Archy And Mehitabel by Don Marquis
262) Pocket Book Of Modern Verse by Oscar Williams
263) Poems by John Tagliabue
264) Selected Poems by Rafael Alberti
265) Selected Poetry by Robinson Jeffers
266) The American Puritans: Their Prose & Poetry by Perry Miller
267) Selected Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke
268) Poet In New York by Federico Garcia Lorca
269) The Vapor Trail by Ivan Lawrence Becker
270) Love Poems & Love Letters For All The Year
271) 100 Modern Poems edited by Selden Rodman
272) The Sweeniad by Myra Buttle
273) Poetry: A Magazine Of Verse, Vol.70, no. 6



Politics
274) The Wall Between by Anne Braden
275) The Roots Of American Communism by Theodore Draper
276) A View Of The Nation – An Anthology: 1955-1959 edited by Henry Christaman
277) A Socialist’s Faith by Norman Thomas
278-279) Rededication To Freedom by Benjamin Ginzburg (2 copies)
280) The Ignorant Armies by E.M. Halliday
281) Commonwealth Vs Sacco & Vanzetti by Robert P. Weeks
282) Journey To The Beginning by Edgar Snow
283) Das Kapital by Karl Marx
284) Lidice by Eleanor Wheeler
285) The Study Of History by Arnold Toynbee
286) America The Vincible by Emmet John Hughes
287) The Unfinished Country by Max Lerner
288) Red Mirage by John O’Kearney
289) Background & Foreground – The New York Times Magazine: An Anthology edited by Lester Markel
290) The Failure Of Success by Esther Milner
291) A Piece Of My Mind by Edmund Wilson
292) The Truth About The Munich Crisis by Viscount Maugham
293) The Alienation Of Modern Man by Fritz Pappenheim
294) A Train Of Powder by Rebecca West
295) Report From Palermo by Danilo Dolci
296) The Devil In Massachusetts by Marion Starkey
297) American Rights: The Constitution In Action by Walter Gellhorn
298) Night by Francis Pollini
299) The Right Of The People by William Douglas
300) The Jury Is Still Out by Irwin Davidson and Richard Gehman
301) First Degree by William Kunstler
302) Democracy In America by Alexis De Tocqueville
303) World Underworld by Andrew Varna

Prayer
304) Catechism For Young Children
305) Prayer Changes Things
306) The Prophet by Kahlil Bibran (a second copy)
307) The Magic Word by Robert Collier
308) The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (a third copy)
309) His Brother’s Keeper by Milton Gross (3-page extract from Readers’ Digest, Dec 1961)
310) Christliches Vergissmeinnicht by K. Ehmann
311) And It Was Told Of A Certain Potter by Walter C. Lanyon
312) Bahai Prayers

Psychology
313) Man Against Himself by Karl A. Menninger
314) The Tower And The Abyss by Erich Kahler
315) Something To Live By by Dorothea S. Kopplin
316) Man’s Supreme Inheritance by Alexander F. Matthias
317) The Miracles Of Your Mind by Joseph Murphy
318) The Wisdom Of The Sands by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
319) A Prison, A Paradise by Loran Hurnscot
320) The Magic Of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
321) Peace Of Mind by Joshua Loth Liebman
322) The Use Of The Self by Alexander F. Matthias
323) The Power Within You by Claude M. Bristol
324) The Call Girl by Harold Greenwald
325) Troubled Women by Lucy Freeman
326) Relax And Live by Joseph A. Kennedy
327) Forever Young, Forever Healthy by Indra Devi
328) The Open Self by Charles Morris
329) Hypnotism Today by Leslie Lecron & Jean Bordeaux
330) The Masks Of God: Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell
331) Some Characteristics Of To-day by Rudolph Steiner

Reference
332) Baby & Child Care by Dr Benjamin Spock
333) Flower Arranging For Fun by Hazel Peckinpaugh Dunlop
334) Hugo’s Pocket Dictionary: French-English And English-French
335) Spoken French For Travellers And Tourists by Charles Kany & Mathurin Dondo
336) Roget’s Pocket Thesaurus by C.O. Mawson & K.A. Whiting

Religion
337) What Is A Jew? by Morris Kertzer
338) A Partisan Guide To The Jewish Problem by Milton Steinberg
339) The Tales Of Rabbi Nachman by Martin Buber
340) The Saviors Of God: Spiritual Exercises by Nikos Kazantzakis
341) The Prophet by Kahlil Gilbran (4th copy)
342) The Dead Sea Scrolls by Millar Burrows
343) The Secret Books Of The Egyptian Gnostics by Jean Doresse
344) Jesus by Kahlil Gilbran
345) Memories Of A Catholic Girlhood by Mary McCarthy
346) Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell

Russian Literature
347) Redemption & Two Other Plays by Leo Tolstoy
348) The Portable Chekhov
349) The House Of The Dead by Fyodor Dostoevsky
350) Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
351) Best Russian Stories: An Anthology edited by Thomas Seltzer
352) The Plays Of Anton Chekhov
353) Smoke by Ivan Turgenev
354) The Poems, Prose & Plays Of Alexander Pushkin
355) The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky



Science
356) Our Knowledge Of The External World by Bertrand Russell
357) Common Sense And Nuclear Warfare by Bertrand Russell
358) Out Of My Later Years by Albert Einstein
359) Men And Atoms by William Laurence
360) Man Alive: You’re Half Dead by Daniel Colin Munro
361) Doctor Pygmalion by Maxwell Maltz
362) Panorama: A New Review edited by R.F. Tannenbaum
363) Everyman’s Search by Rebecca Beard
364) Of Stars And Men by Harlow Shapley
365) From Hiroshima To The Moon by Daniel Lang
366) The Open Mind by J. Robert Oppenheimer
367) Sexual Impotence In The Male by Leonard Paul Wershub

Scripts And Readings
368) Medea by Robinson Jeffers
369) Antigone by Jean Anouilh
370) Bell, Book And Candle by John Van Druten
371) The Women by Clare Boothe
372) Joan Of Lorraine by Maxwell Anderson

Travel
373) The Sawbwa And His Secretary by C.Y. Lee
374) The Twain Shall Meet by Christopher Rand
375) Kingdom Of The Rocks by Consuelo De Saint-Exupery
376) The Heart Of India by Alexander Campbell
377) Man-Eaters Of India by Jim Corbett
378) Jungle Lore by Jim Corbett
379) My India by Jim Corbett
380) A Time In Rome by Elizabeth Bowen
381) London by Jacques Boussard
382) New York State Vacationlands
383) Russian Journey by William O. Douglas
384) The Golden Bough by James G. Frazer



Women Authors
385) The Portable Dorothy Parker
386) My Antonia by Willa Cather
387) Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather
388) The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers
389) The Short Novels Of Colette (A second copy)
390) The Little Disturbances Of Man by Grace Paley

There are other books which weren’t included in the auction that Monroe was reported either to have read or owned.

391) The Autobiography Of Lincoln Steffens
392-403) Abraham Lincoln (multiple volumes) by Carl Sandburg
404) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
405) Poems Of W.B. Yeats
406) Mister Johnson by Joyce Cary
407) The Thinking Body by Mabel Elsworth Todd
408) The Actor Prepares by Konstantin Stanislavsky
409) The Bible
410) The Biography Of Eleanora Duse by William Weaver
411) De Humani Corporis Fabrica by Andreas Vesalius
412) Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
413) Gertrude Lawrence As Mrs A by Richard Aldrich
414) Goodnight Sweet Prince by Gene Fowler
415) Mythology by Edith Hamilton
416) Stanislavsky Directs by Nikolai Mikhailovich Gorchakov
417) I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson
418) The Importance Of Living by Lin Yutang
419) Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
420) Psychopathology Of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud
421) The Rains Came by Louis Broomfield
422) The Rights Of Man by Thomas Paine
423) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
424) To The Actor by Michael Chekhov
425) Captain Newman, M.D. by Leo Calvin Rosten
426) Songs For Patricia by Norman Rosten
427) A Lost Lady by Willa Cather
428) Lust For Life by Irving Stone
429) The Deer Park by Norman Mailer
430) The Rebel by Albert Camus


Long live used books

Our latest video is a short celebration of used books, which are at the heart of the AbeBooks world. If you love vintage Penguin paperbacks, discovering a long forgotten out-of-print gem, or just receiving amazing value for money when book-buying, then this video is for you.


Pedal power posters: vintage bicycle advertising

The Tour de France remains one of the world’s most significant and most grueling sporting events. The world’s most famous bicycle race was first staged in 1903 and its long history mirrors the development of the bicycle as a method of transport for leisure and work. Advertising posters for bikes have been around for even longer, stretching across art movements such as Belle Epoche and Art Deco. Enjoy these 10 original bicycle advertising posters, all offered for sale by the AntikBar poster gallery in London.

A striking French Art Deco poster from 1928, designed by Maurice Lauro. Automoto was a French bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer founded in 1902. It became part of Peugeot in 1930. £3,500.

A 1930 poster. The boy is saying “I also have a Peugeot” as a blue Peugeot car drives by. £650.

This 1908 Peugeot poster reflects the militaristic sentiments felt across Europe at this time as nations armed themselves for war. One soldier hands a message to a mounted colleague. Cycles Peugeot was founded in 1882 in France. £1,200

A very British poster from 1930. Phillips was formed in 1908 and later became part of Raleigh. The Birmingham-based manufacturer was Britain’s second-largest bicycle producer for many years after Raleigh. £450

The French also liked lions. This 1900 poster pitches Rochet cycles for customers around the world. £1,200.

Terrot was a manufacturer in Dijon, France. It began by building both bicycles and motorbikes before focusing solely on motorcycles. This 1920 poster combines their product lines. £800.

Boy meets girl. Royal Enfield was a brand name of the Enfield Cycle Company which manufactured motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines. £350

A Spanish poster from 1929. “Pulphi, the queen of the bicycles,” reads the tagline. The poster’s text at the bottom reads ‘champion of Spain’, but the Vuelta a España (Spain’s equivalent of the Tour de France) did not start until the 1930s. £550.

A Belle Epoque-style poster from 1890, advertising Humber cycles, a premium British manufacturer of bicycles founded by Thomas Humber, who expanded into various overseas markets. Humber eventually moved into making cars. Is the lady going to ride the bike that dress? £950

Riders using Automoto bicycles won the Tour de France in 1923, 1924 and 1925 – a fact that the company used in their advertising in 1925. Oddly, the winning riders suffered tragic ends. Frenchman Henri Pélissier won in 1923 but was shot by his lover in 1935. Italian Ottavio Bottecchia won in 1924 and 1925, but was found badly injured by a roadside in 1927. He died 12 days later. His death remains a mystery. £750


German novel banned by the Nazis appears in English for first time

A novel banned by the Nazis has been published in English for the first time after being translated by rare bookseller Simon Beattie.

The first English translation

At the Edge of the Night (Am Rande der Nacht in German) by Friedo Lampe was published in 1933, but it immediately infuriated the Nazis for its homoerotic content and depiction of an interracial liaison between a black man and a white German woman.

The Nazis removed all copies from sale and placed the book on their list of “damaging and undesirable writings”

Beattie’s English translation has been published by Hesperus Press. He told The Guardian:

“Lampe’s a very interesting author: a disabled, gay writer during the Third Reich … who somehow survived only to be shot by a Red Army patrol days before the end of the war. Although he gets an entry in The Oxford Companion to German Literature, nothing by him has ever appeared in English before.”

Simon Beattie

Beattie’s introduction to the novel reveals Lampe’s grave is marked with a wooden cross, carved with the words “Du bist nicht einsam”, or “you are not alone”.

The novel is set in Bremen and is an early example of magical realism.

Beattie has run his own bookselling business since 2010. Before that, he spent 10 years working for Bernard Quaritch’s antiquarian bookselling firm.


Talking Dust Jackets: An Interview with Martin Salisbury

Martin Salisbury’s book on iconic dust jacket design

The author of The Illustrated Dust Jacket 1920-1970 reveals why he loves artwork from this era.

A former illustrator, Martin Salisbury is a professor of illustration at the Cambridge School of Art in the Anglia Ruskin University in the UK. He is the author of a book called The Illustrated Dust Jacket 1920-1970, which showcases many of the great cover illustrations in modern publishing and the stories behind their creation. Martin’s also written another book called 100 Great Children’s Picture Books, but today we are talking about dust jackets.

AbeBooks: Your book, The Illustrated Dust Jacket, covers 50 years of design but is there one particular decade that is more important than others?

Martin Salisbury:  “The 1920s was the time when dust jackets were most influential because that’s when publishers were just starting to realise the potential of the dust jacket as a marketing tool rather than a protective wrapper.

“My personal favourite decade is the 1940s, the immediate post-war years. It just seems like the most creative period. It’s been called the neo-romantic period, but after all that austerity there seemed to be a craving for art, and literature, and poetry, and beauty. Some people criticize that period for being slightly in-ward looking. But there were many great designs and paintings during those years.”

AbeBooks: How did you discover the techniques and mediums used by each illustrator to produce their jacket art?

Martin Salisbury: “Having trained as an illustrator in the 1970s and worked as an illustrator before I got involved in education, the print processes, the techniques and the media are things I am very familiar with. I can recognize the processes from experience. My books are printed by offset lithography but going back in time people were using letterpress printing where artists had to print each color as a separation so there was a much closer relationship between artist and printer. Today, the illustrator can create their artwork in any media, be partly digital, and there is no real need to work closely with the printer. Anything can be printed. Some artists are now limiting themselves to two or three colors and returning to the more organic look. It’s a reaction to the overtly digital aesthetic.”

AbeBooks: Out of all the jackets you’ve seen and considered, is there one jacket that is your personal favorite?

Martin Salisbury: “There are many. The Illustrated Dust Jacket is full of personal favorites and many of the reproductions are from books I own myself.  There’s one that stands out, the jacket to Time Was Away published in 1948 in the UK and designed by John Minton, an artist who I have somewhat of an obsession about. The design falls into the neo-romantic period. It’s a gorgeous wrap-around cover that evokes travel and in this instance it’s a travel book about Corsica.”

Martin’s book highlights artists such as Victor Reinganum

AbeBooks: There are a number of travel books featured in your dust jackets book.

Martin Salisbury:   “Yes, previously travel wasn’t as accessible to ordinary people so the power to evoke another place is key. Time Was Away – that’s a line taken from a Louis MacNeice poem. It’s about the languor of being in a faraway place. You also see it in cookery books when they were trying to show where the recipes were coming from, trying to be exotic I think.”

AbeBooks: Perhaps you can explain how dust jackets changed from being plain wrappers that were often thrown away to being pieces of art used to market books?

Martin Salisbury:  “The dust wrapper term has clung on but originally they were just that – wrappers in the shop. They would serve to protect the book until the point of sale and then be thrown away. Towards the end of the century, wrappers would have some typography, occasionally printed decorations, and then in the 1910s and 1920s they started to become these wrap-around artistic jackets and they became the norm.”

AbeBooks: Do you ever come across beautiful vintage jacket designs that you’ve never seen before and that stop you in your tracks?

Martin Salisbury: “Fortunately, yes, but it’s becoming less and less frequent. I visit secondhand bookshops and book fairs. One still stumbles across somethings. Sometimes I recognize the artist and sometimes I don’t. Recently I came across a beautiful little book called The Last of the Dragons from 1947 by A. de Quincey and illustrated by Brian Robb, who used to be head of illustration at the Royal College of Art, a wonderful artist. I snapped it up for a mere £5. It seems to be very scarce. It’s a great joy to come across something you’ve never seen before.”

The first edition of Fitzgerald’s classic novel

AbeBooks: Are dust jacket illustrators always credited?

Martin Salisbury:  “Usually, but in the early years it was more common for artists not to be credited. However, sometimes you’d see that the artist had sneaked a signature onto the cover itself. Every now and again, there’s a cover where it’s impossible to find who did it.

“There have been many examples of uncredited artworks. For instance, the cover of the first edition of Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald, a beautiful South of France Riviera scene. I came across a copy at a book fair in London and opened it up in the hope of seeing the illustrator’s name but the only thing I saw was the price tag which was £18,000. I was so terrified that I put it back and I still don’t know who the artist is.”

AbeBooks: What are your thoughts on modern dust jacket design?

Martin Salisbury:  “We are in a golden age again. The UK has seen a surge in hardback book sales, led the children’s book market and we are seeing beautifully designed books. They had to become more and more beautiful to compete with the screen. Jackets are embossed and spot laminated. A lot do hark back to that mid-century period and people are using printmaking techniques like linocuts and wood engravings which are in vogue again, even if they are artificially created digitally.”

AbeBooks: What about jacket design in places like Germany and Russia during this period? There must have also been some influential designs in these countries?

Martin Salisbury: “Eastern Europe and Russia has a fantastic history in book design but it often was constructivist in design or Bauhaus themed, while my book focused on more pictorial designs. The Eastern European traditional is a lot more abstract, and harsh in a way but very beautiful. The Weimar Republic was an absolute high point – there’s a wonderful book by Taschen called The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic, but again more graphic than pictorial.”

AbeBooks: And finally what are you reading now?

Martin Salisbury:  “An extremely obscure book – based on the jacket design, which has been sitting by my bed for a very long time. It’s called Caribbean Nights by William J Makin and the jacket design is by Leslie Holland. It was published by Robert Hale in 1939.  It has the most beautiful exotic patterned design. It’s the memoirs of Makin when he was setting up a newspaper in Jamaica, it’s a mix between a travel book and a memoir. Absolutely fascinating.”


Don’t miss the 2018 PBFA Christmas Fair

The 2018 PBFA Christmas Fair is just days away. It takes place on Saturday, 1st December, from 10:30am to 4:30pm, at the Holiday Inn London in Bloomsbury, Coram Street, London, WC1N 1HT.

It’s the second successive year that the fair has been staged at the Holiday Inn in Bloomsbury and it is expected to attract a wide range of collectors. Close to 60 booksellers will be there, offering rare books, maps, manuscripts, fine art and ephemera. As always, the selection ranges from antiquarian titles to modern first editions, with many scarce signed titles, colourful and nostalgic children’s titles, rare travel books, cookery, history, natural history and beautiful illustrated works. Sellers from across the UK , from Edinburgh to West Yorkshire, are exhibiting at the event.

AbeBooks is proud once again to support this event.

The Holiday Inn London is yards from Russell Square Tube station on the Piccadilly Line. Kings Cross, St Pancras and Euston train stations are all less than a mile away.

Visit the PBFA website for more details, including a ticket for free admission.


The Illustrated Dust Jacket 1920-1970

One of our favourite books of 2018 has been The Illustrated Dust Jacket 1920-1970 by Martin Salisbury. This is a book for anyone who loves beautiful dust jackets. It traces the evolution of the book jacket from its functional origins as a plain protective covering. Salisbury celebrates the work of more than 50 artists from Rockwell Kent to Edward Gorey and NC Wyeth, and covers several styles including Art Deco from the 1920s and 1930s.

Find copies


Anna Burns’ Milkman wins 2018 Man Booker Prize

2018 Man Booker winner

Anna Burns has won the 2018 Man Booker Prize, becoming the first writer from Northern Ireland to take home the award. She wins £50,000 for Milkman, a novel set in the Troubles in Northern Ireland about a young woman being sexually harassed.

People are describing Milkman as “experimental” and it was an outsider to win. The novel is narrated by an 18-year-old girl – never named and known as Middle Sister – who is being harassed by an older paramilitary figure. It definitely carries undertones of the #MeToo era.

This is Burns’ third book. The 56-year-old has previously been shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Burns was born in Belfast and raised in the Catholic district of Ardoyne. She moved to London in 1987 and now lives in East Sussex. Her first novel was called No Bones and that is also an account of growing up in Belfast. She published a novella called Mostly Hero in 2014

See the book

See all the Booker winners