Friday, May 10, 2013

My Bookshelves Part 2

My bookshelves actually don’t look all that different than they do when I posted pictures of them last year. But I have made some notable additions to it, which I thought I’d share with everyone. Despite the rise of ebooks and my own personal buying habits (which usually involve buying new books in electronic format), I do still have some affection for good old tangible books. And they are undeniably more photogenic, that’s for sure.

This is the aftermath of my month of reading nothing but Carol DeChellis Hill. I basically snagged every halfway-interesting copy of her books on the internet. From left to right, back to front, we have 3 copies of Let’s Fall in Love (hardcover (signed), UK hardcover, paperback), 3 copies of Jeremiah 8:20 (2 signed), Subsistence USA (hardcover), 2 copies of Henry James’ Midnight Song (An ARC and paperback), signed epistolary correspondence, 4 copies of The Eleven Million Mile High Dancer (ARC, 2 copies of uncorrected proof (blue & green), paperback), 2 copies of An Unmarried Woman (Uncorrected proof and paperback), magazines containing CDH short stories (Playboy, two issues of Viva), and two promotional photos included with advance copies of her work. Biggest private collection of CDH memorabilia? Probably not, but it’s still…ample.
This is a first edition of Gain inscribed by Richard Powers. The thing about Powers is that it’s been a policy of his since the beginning that he never signs an actual book. The best he will do during rare public appearances is sign a postcard or a bookplate or something like that. A lot of people then affix what he signed to the first page of one of his books. It’s not the best arrangement, but these sorts of improvised signed editions still sell for hundreds of dollars. I got this copy on eBay for a ridiculously small sum when nobody else was paying attention. Even came with a bonus Saul Bellow quotation.
I found one volume of The Last Tycoon manuscript, which complements my Great Gatsby manuscript facsimile. It’s actually part of a three-volume set. The one I have, part 2, is half handwritten manuscript, half corrected typescript. Pretty endlessly fascinating stuff.
I’ve always wanted one of those Ulysses manuscript facsimiles, and finally found one on eBay for less than $100 (they usually go for two or three hundred). It’s cool, but Joyce’s scrawl is borderline illegible. Luckily the third volume prints the entire novel and notes all the differences from the manuscript. It’ll be useful in the future when I drop everything and spend 6 months reading nothing but Joyce. That’s the plan, anyway.
Not really part of my bookshelf but I put this frame up next to it. It’s a few of the clippings I collected about David Foster Wallace. There’s stuff from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly. The guy tends to haunt my reading habits, so it seemed like an appropriate tribute. That black and white photo is my favorite picture of him, by the way. It was taken when he was in the middle of writing Infinite Jest and you can see the mountainous IJ manuscript in the foreground as well as all his books behind him (Nabokov, 2-volume OED). It’s always interesting when you can take a peek at an author’s library. I assume he’s working on IJ as the picture is being taken, and I love the small smile of quiet amusement on his face; I like to think that he had just written something that even he found clever or interesting or funny, maybe a moment during the Eschaton sequence (“Pemulis tells Lord he cannot believe his fucking eyes. He tells Lord how dare he don the dreaded red beanie over such an obvious instance of map-not-territory equivocationary horseshit as Ingersoll’s trying to foist”). RIP DFW.

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