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Book News: New Hunger Games, Scary Fairy Tales, and More

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:

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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the 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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2 Responses to "Book News: New Hunger Games, Scary Fairy Tales, and More"

    L. D. Mitchell December 5th, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Once again, Tamerlane proves the value of vanity publishing...



    Dan December 6th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    You are cordially invited to a free exhibition
    at the Boston Public Library

    The Raven in the Frog Pond:
    Edgar Allan Poe and the City of Boston

    December 17, 2009 - March 31, 2010

    For more information, please see:

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