Monday, May 2, 2011

Not Valuable, Just Sorta Cool

A few years ago, I - for reasons of pure nostalgia - started collecting old paperback sci-fi novels of the kind I used to rummage for in the local bookshops of my hometown. They certainly weren't worth anything, but it was cool - in that bittersweet way that looming middle-age tends to foster - to thumb through their yellowed pages and look at the now-vintage and hopelessly dated cover art. Frankly, it kind of reminds me of myself...

Just a harmless, mildly eccentric (and cheap) pastime, but soon it started to spread beyond the sci-fi pulpies and classics into pretty much anything I liked to read. I just like old books. Some of them, like my slipcased, 1965 Lord of the Rings trilogy are worth a fair bit of coin. Most are not, but I was in ye olde hometown this weekend rummaging, and came home with a few books, these three among them.

The copy of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is an early 1969 printing Dell (under the Delta imprint) softcover. This makes my fourth version of that title, and it's a really nice clean copy, though I still mourn the loss of the mint hardback book club edition (with dustjacket) that I found in an OKC bookshop for fourteen bucks and stupidly passed on...

The copy of A River Runs Through It  is an early trade paperback published by The University of Chicago Press. It's my third version of that particular title, along with the requisite movie tie-in edition and an old large-print softcover edition. A first-printing of the original hardcover wouldn't be worth quite as much as what a first-printing Vonnegut would, but it'd be close.

The copy of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast is nothing special, a 1965 Bantam printing, but since I don't currently have a copy, and since Paris is just about my favorite non bird-hunting or fishing place in the world, I brought it home.

I brought home a few others, nothing of note, really, just interesting titles. I haven't had any amazing or even mildly exciting book discoveries lately, but I keep looking because you never know what you'll find on those musty, dusty old shelves, and it keeps me out of those sterile, soulless, wincingly well-lit wi-fi hotspot/bongo drum venue/hipster cafes known as the big-box bookstores.

Ok, so I went there, too, but only to cruise the remainder tables...      


  1. Love hearing about good bookstore finds. Came across a moving sale at a store in Denver that was offering 25c softcover pulp novels from the 50s and 60s. I stocked up just for the covers of scantily clad women in peril only to find the stories were pretty entertaining too.

  2. We recently lost an old friend that was more of a family member than friend. We were cleaning out her apartment and were given her books to dispose. Among the books was To Kill a Mockingbird. Although not as valuable as a first printing would be, it was a first edition. It is worth more to us because of who owned it, read it and loved it, than the measure in dollars.

  3. Is it just me or was cover art just cooler BITD? We've become desensitised too covers just aren't as salacious as they were in the 50s and 60s. Sleaze just aint what it used to be