Sunday, November 07, 2010
My Rescued Orphans
One person's garbage is another person's treasure.
Well, maybe in this case "garbage" is too strong of a word… at any rate, I capitalized on what other people did not want, this weekend.
I went to the 49th Annual Rockcliffe Park Used Bookfair and I picked up a total of 32 books for $68.50. That's an average of $2.14 per book.
And I mean, these are gorgeous, lovely books! Some of them are hot off the press, like Martin Amis's The Pregnant Widow, which I was going to buy at full price.
I think I paid $4 for it here!
Wow -- some real beauties were to be found -- let's not call them "used".
Let's call them…. "previously loved." Discarded by original owners. Nabbed up, literally adopted by me -- and I have cleared out an entire shelf of old slip-cased National Geographics to make way for these lovelies.
My shelf issues are at a critical Stage of Displacement… in other words, if anything is to go on, something else has to come off.
My question tonight involves first editions.
One of the most awesome books I snapped from the Realm of Obscurity was this pristine edition of John Steinbeck's The Winter of Our Discontent.
<-- The thing is PERFECT!
One of my favourite arguments I like to muster in any sort of literary environment is, "Who is a better writer, Steinbeck or Hemingway?"
You'd be surprised at how this innocent [yet devilish] question will turn the calmest of folks into raging piranhas. It's a downright barracuda of a question to drop at your next gathering!
Anyhoo -- my answer is always Steinbeck.
I just love him. Yes, better than Papa.
So, as you can imagine -- the only disfigurement on the dust jacket of this book was from the bit of drool that fell from my mouth as I slapped the thing into my book box.
And now -- my question...
I have since wondered if this is a FIRST EDITION.
My research has revealed that the book was published in 1961 by The Viking Press.
With this very dust jacket on it.
My book is a 1961 Viking, but nowhere in it does it SAY "First Edition".
My fellow Bookovores [<-- should be an official tax-exempt cult]… can you please help me on this conundrum? Do first editions always have to declare their... Firstness?
Is it possible that I may have nabbed a first edition for $3.00?
In which case I will be very content, this winter? Should I be setting aside a special exalted place on my shelf for this serendipitous gem?
Or should I just place it amongst the other rescued orphans?