Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Miss a Swell Event with the AV Club, but I Can Still Read the Inscriptions on the Signed Copies

If you've gone to a lot of our events lately, you'll notice that I'm no longer doing every single one of them. Needless to say, I have mixed feelings about that. But my bookseller Stacie simply does a great job, and why not take advantage of that?

So last week I put the AV Club's Inventory event in her hands, and now I'm regretting that I missed it. Not that I had much choice; the email newsletter had to get out the next day and at 7 PM, it was hardly half done. We wound up having close to 50 people, and I heard it was great fun.

In fact, I sort of read about it. The AV folks signed some of our books for stock, and I wound up reading all the inscriptions because they were all different. I've taken some photos of them. There are only five so one would say they are limited editions.

And just to tempt you further, here's the top 5 from their fitting list of "Rare Reads: 17 Books we wish were still in print."

1. The Phantom Blooper, by Gustav Hasford (1990). This was a novel that followed the characters from the story Full Metal Jacket.

2. Icons, by James Park (1992). A British collection of clever biographical sketches, that lost its snappy illustrations in later printings.

3. Survivor, by Octavia Butler (1978). A "thinly-veiled Star Trek novel" that Butler disowned, but since her death in 2006, that would normally not be a hinderance (see the publication of Vladimir Nabokov's The Original of Laura, due out today).

4. The Secret Life of Algernon Pendleon, by Russell H. Greenan (1973). A little-known writer whose It Happened in Boston was released as a 20th century rediscovery at the behest of Jonathan Safran Foer. With NYRB Classics, Dalkey Archive and other small presses chasing after this kind of novel, it's sort of shocking that it hasn't seen the light of day.

5. Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words (1976). It's supposedly more raw than Cash in the writing style, perhaps more about his relationship with God.

6. American Mythologies, by Marshall Blonsky (1992). An American take on Roland Barthes' Mythologies, breaking open the floodgates for the genre of popular semiotic analysis.

There are 11 more. Of them all, the only book I used to really sell well at Schwartz was Danny Peary's Cult Movie series. I remember when one of them went out of print and we were all a bit shocked, based on how we sold them.

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