January 2009


012

I read once that the dust jacket comprises 80% of a book’s value. It’s a good idea to protect your dust jackets in an archival cover, so that you can read, handle, and display the books without worrying about wear to the jacket.

Brodart is the go-to manufacturer of dust jacket covers for most libraries and rare book dealers. There are lots of different options on the website for covers, and it’s a bit confusing. After researching the different options, I decided to get an assortment package of the Fold-On Archival covers. I figured an assortment pack would be good for me, someone with a small personal library with books of various sizes.

So I purchased the 100-count pack of covers for $33.15, and an 8″ bone folder for $9.45 to make clean folds where size adjustments are necessary. The covers are extremely easy to assemble with the dust jackets and to adjust the size when needed.

A photo of the books I covered today, and my current reads.

Advertisements

0032I recently rearranged the books on my shelves featuring (1) a shelf organized by color, (2) a shelf of creams and blacks, and (3) a shelf of miscellaneous school books. So I decided to post some pictures. Cleary I have been avoiding work. Anyone else need their bookshelves organized?

I have lots more books, but these are most of my first collection hardcovers. I’ve actually been weeding through my paperbacks in order to gather trade-ins to take the used bookstore. When I was in New Orleans, I traded in 15 of my used paperbacks to get a first edition of Louise des Bernieres‘s Corelli’s Mandolin (retail: $45).

I love having books around. They make a room cozy, and the various colors and designs are so pleasing to the eye.

0151

I like the way the black-covered books look grouped together — the titles really pop.

I also think books generally look better in height order (unless you’re grouping them some other way, such as by color), because otherwise books can look like a jumbled mess.

How do you organize your books?

accordioncrimesOver the weekend, I shopped at Books for America‘s amazing sale of used books. I’ll do a profile on Books for America (located in Washington DC) later, but it’s enough now to say that it’s a charity bookstore that has amazing prices.

And those amazing prices were half-off this past weekend. The hardcovers I bought were originally $4, marked down to $2. I bought six books for over $12 with tax! Incredible.

Two of the books weren’t first editions — I just wanted to have them. They were Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (which I have read before, though a long time ago) and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer, which I want to read eventually (though I might have to schedule that in 2011).

The others I bought because I suspected they might be first editions, and of course because I wanted to read them as well. I never buy books just for the potential value of them, because I’ll likely be wrong that the book’s a first edition and them I’m stuck with a book I don’t want. Those were Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver; Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx; Leap of Faith by Queen Noor; and The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike.

And of course, I came home and did my requisite Alibris analysis (checking to see what the market prices are for first editions). Alas, Accordion Crimes apparently had a limited edition run of 2500 signed copies, and my copy is not one of those. Who knew?! My copy does have a number line with a “1.” Judging from copies for sale on Alibris, I’d guess my copy is about $15. Pristine copies of the signed limited edition are listed for $200.

The Prodigal Summer is probably worth around $20, Leap of Faith isn’t really worth anything, and The Witches of Eastwick, because of the limited run of 250 printed by the Franklin Library (John Updike always does this), is worth around $10. I take into account the condition of the books when I make these estimations.

Checking the prices is just a fun exercise for me; I have no intention of turning around and trying to sell any books. Not anytime soon, anyway!

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth StroutYet more acclaim for Robert Bolano‘s 2666.

It made the National Book Critics Circle‘s list of finalists for its 2008 awards.

The other titles rounding out the finalists in the fiction category are Marilynne Robinson‘s Home; Aleksandar Hemon‘s The Lazarus Project; M. Glenn Taylor‘s The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart; and Elizabeth Strout‘s Olive Kitteridge.

Noticeably absent is Toni Morrison‘s A Mercy, which received lots of buzz last year — including a spot on both The New York Times‘ and The Washington Post‘s lists of top 10 books for 2008.

Click here for the rest of the finalists in the categories of poetry, criticism, biography, autobiography, and nonfiction.

barack_obama_reading1In the spirit of the inaugural celebration, here’s a post devoted to President-Elect Barack Obama’s love of reading. He himself has written two critically-acclaimed books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, attesting to his appreciation of the power of words.

Culled from a variety of sources (see some articles on the topic at the end of the post), here’s a list of some of the books that Barack Obama has voiced his appreciation for:

Fiction

Poetry

Nonfiction

And Barack Obama himself is no stranger to being a widely-read and renowned writer; his books spent time at the top of the New York Times’ bestseller list and a signed first edition copy of Dreams from My Father sold on Abebooks.com for $5,500.

To read more about Barack Obama’s literary tastes, read “Barack by the books” at Salon.com and “From books, new president found voice” at New York Times.

from WebUrbanist

Stacks of books everywhere. A jumbled mess of books toppling over on the shelves. There are better ways to display your books!

And there are more options than a traditional, orderly bookcase. I found this great post on WebUrbanist featuring creative ways to store books. Short on space? Make a staircase out of bookshelves! Hang them from hangers! Build a fort of books for your children to live in!

So maybe these examples of creative bookshelving aren’t all the most practical, but they’re pretty awesome. Check them out at WebUrbanist.

from Bookshelf

And while you’re at it, check out another blog entirely devoted to bookshelves, like the one pictured above. That’s right — all bookshelves, all the time. Bookshelf.

Dangerous Laughter, by Steven MillhauserI haven’t posted in a while — my negligence is a function of getting back into the swing of real life after the holidays. Real life is much busier than I remember it being.

I’m back in DC, and there two major news stories here. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen much else on the local news. 1) The inauguration is upon us, and that means crazy time here. 2) It is really freaking cold outside, which has a critical effect on news story #1.

Since the windchill today has been in the single digits, I’ve decided to shut myself indoors. I made myself a warm pot of jasmine green tea, curled up under a blanket, and savored the first two stories from Dangerous Laughter, by Steven Millhauser.

The two stories I read, especially the first, were wonderful. I usually don’t read short stories, but I’m finding that they offer quick, self-contained, and satisfying escapes from reality. And in the unwelcome busy-ness I’m finding myself in, that’s wonderful.

I’ll get back on track with my posts on book collecting soon.

Next Page »