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Sweet Association

[Editor's note: Titles mentioned in the post below are linked specifically to the copy from the Anne Rice collection. They are denoted by an image of Anne Rice (as shown at right) and the words "From the Library of Anne Rice."

If that copy has sold out, you will most likely be presented with other in-stock copies of the same title (i.e., not from the Anne Rice collection). In some cases, such as rare books, her copy may be the only one in stock, so if the title has sold, availability will show as "out of stock."

And don't forget, you can browse the entire collection here.

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Association Copy: This term, often scoffed at by laymen, is applied to a copy which once belonged to, or was annotated by, the author; which once belonged to someone connected with the author or someone of interest in his own right; or again, and perhaps most interestingly, belonged to someone peculiarly associated with its contents.

—John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors

The only way to improve on the news that Anne Rice has sold much of her personal library to Powell's is to report that she wrote in many of them and also affixed handwritten library markings to the spines of almost half of the books.

She signed her books, dated them, listed her address in them, jotted down weather conditions, and even noted where she bought them. She underlined, drew fluttering wings of parentheses down pages, placed removable colored tabs along fore edges complete with notes, and sometimes even left her own prose on the front free endpaper. Books that she used for research bear witness to serendipitous discoveries and moments of inspiration.

In the world of rare books, these are called association copies, and of the many thousands of books from her library that we will ultimately offer for sale, some stand out as exceptional.

The History of Lace is a title that is readily found in the U.K., but is less common here in the States. The copy from Ms. Rice's library was used in her research. It belonged to her when she lived in San Francisco, and part of the inscription reads, "Only the best lace for the vampires."

Frank Miller's Sin City: Hell and Back is also annotated. On the title page Ms. Rice recorded both her impression (liked it!) and remarks on a possible meeting with Miller. Rather than write across the artwork in the book, she used removable tabs to mark particular dialogue and images. If you're a fan of these two authors, then treat yourself to this unique copy.

It should come as no surprise that one of the authors most associated with New Orleans had A History of Louisiana by Alcee Fortier in her collection. This four-volume set was published in 1904. Though not signed or annotated by Ms. Rice, the books boast her library labels on the spines. Truly scarce, American Book Prices Current shows that 2001 was the last time a set has come up for auction.

If only she had written in her copy of New Moon.

Few personal collections have both breadth and depth. These books have been a joy to work with, not just because of their august provenance, but because they range from works on the origins of language to the meaning of faith to multiple copies of Wuthering Heights. Ms. Rice is a reader, and some of us here at Powell's are falling more and more in love with these books — and their former owner — every day.

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Kirsten Berg has worked as a used book buyer for Powell's for more than 10 years. She is experienced with technical and general reading material, and enjoys working with out-of-print and rare material the most.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. ABC for Book Collectors 8th Edition New Hardcover $30.95

4 Responses to "Sweet Association"

    salemite November 3rd, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Yeah, Anne Rice's copy of "Eat, Pray, Love" doesn't have any marginilia either--not even a wrinkled page! But those other books--with her library marks and notations--look fantastic!

    barb November 4th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    You make this collection an even sweeter treat for us all with your comments on Anne Rice's diversified reading, and clarification of "association copies"!

    Kelly November 22nd, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    So far I have bought 8 of Anne's personal library,including New Moon and Dracula!(I must admit I was keenly disappointed in the lack of commentary in either of those.)But,she did underline and mark a few things in Wuthering Heights! I have 3 more books in my cart as I type this,can't wait!!!

    Jessica September 17th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    So far I have bought 4 of Anne Rice's books. My favorite was a collection by Ben Johnson, not only was this book dated and annotated but her signature was inside the front cover! Another book I got was called Cause of Death which had one page where she noted a few things for her character Azriel! I was incredibly stoked! Even the two that don't have anything written in them are a treat to read just because I know where they came from.

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