I discovered a great comment that had been marked by wordpress as “spam,” and I fortunately rescued it from oblivion.

Vanessa from the Odyssey Bookshop commented about a fantastic scheme: Odyssey’s Signed First Edition Club. Each month, they send out a first edition that’s been hand-picked by the staff as a club selection, and signed by the author. Check it out:

The Odyssey has become the premier bookstore in Western Massachusetts for author appearances and signings. Odyssey staff read advance copies of books months before their publication, and are keyed in to those books which are likely to make an impact in the publishing world. We also know the books from small publishing houses, and those which will have ‘short press runs.’ This is important, since a book with a first edition printing of 5,000 copies will, all other things equal, likely have greater value down the road that one with 200,000 copies.

Past selections include The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Pulitzer Prize winer) and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and Sea of Poppies (both New York Times’ top ten picks of 2008). And the price? Publisher’s list price plus shipping. I can’t imagine a more rewarding treat to look forward to each month — or a better gift for a friend.

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.

Here’s my latest round-up of interesting news in the book world:

    Chuck Robert's 54,000-square foot book warehouse

    Chuck Robert's 54,000-square foot book warehouse

  • Should bargain hunters be blamed for the doomed book business? One bookstore owner claims that buying used books deprives the authors of their deserved income. [The New York Times]
  • More bad luck for Oprah. Yet another memoir she selected has turned out to be fabricated. This time, the author lied about meeting his wife at a concentration camp — he claimed she threw food to him over a barbed wire fence. In fact, they met in New York years after the war. James Frey breaths a big sigh of relief. [ABC News]
  • “[T]he web book business is literally the Wild West.” An independent bookseller with an online bookstore and a stock numbering in the tens of thousands talks about his booming business, in stark contrast to the troubles facing brick-and-mortar bookstores. [The Washington Post]
  • Get nine free e-books. Free books you say?! Yep. Absolutely free. And some nice picks too, all with at least 4.5 stars on Amazon. I haven’t read The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss yet, but I’ve heard it’s good, and I just may download it. [eReader.com]
  • London’s The Guardian has come out with a list of not-to-miss books in 2009. One title, 2666 by Robert Bolano, came out in the US in 2008. The rest of the list is largely comprised of British writers, and it offers an interesting perspective for those of us on the other side of the pond. [The Guardian]