Today's Bits: poe's first book at auction. scary fairy tales. new hunger games. and more.
- Going Once: A rare copy of Edgar Allan Poe's first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, is expected to fetch some pretty pennies at Christie's auction house. The volume was published in 1827 when Poe was still a teenager.
"This is known as the black tulip of U.S. literature," said Francis Wahlgren, head of books and manuscripts at Christie's in New York, which expects to get from $500,000 to $700,000 for the book on Friday. To the best of Wahlgren's recollection, the record is $250,000 for a copy of "Tamerlane" sold at auction nearly two decades ago.
No more than 40 or 50 copies of "Tamerlane" were printed, and only 12 remain. Poe's name doesn't even grace the cover of the 40-page book, which is credited to "a Bostonian."
If you can't make it to New York (much less meet the expected price), you might like to know that Powell's carries a limited edition 1923 reprint of the book for just $225.
- All Over the World: NPR suggests some great foreign fiction titles finally making their way to U.S. bookstores, including:
There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (translated from the Russian by Keith Gessen and Anna Summers)
Petrushevskaya's short stories — which use fairy-tale imagery and allegory to comment on Russia's Soviet past and corrupt present — combine Gogol's depths of absurdity and Shirley Jackson paranoia, to disturbing effect. It's an insane world in which these characters live, and they respond in kind.
I'm crossing my fingers that Disney picks up the film rights to some of these tales. An animated musical version of "The Cabbage-patch Mother" fills me with disturbed delight (don't expect your '80s Cabbage Patch).
Book News Round-up:
- HarperCollins will publish the third and final book in Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy on August 24, 2010. The previous two books in the series are the bestsellers The Hunger Games and the recent Catching Fire.
- Having trouble keeping up with all those year-end "best of" lists? Largehearted Boy makes it nice and easy with a "best of the best" list. It's comprehensive, to say the least.
And if it's the "best of the decade" lists you're after, look no further.
- Ever wonder how much an author earns on a mass market paperback that hits the New York Times' top twenty bestseller list? Now you know.
- In this short but enlightening video, Reading Comics author Douglas Wolk explains philosopher Immanuel Kant using superheroes. Yes, it really works.
- Something to keep in mind as you're doing (or thinking about doing... or just procrastinating from doing) your holiday shopping: Why E-book Readers Make Bad Holiday Gifts.
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
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