Book Collecting Resource: A Review of “Firsts – A Book Collecting Magazine”

Today we highlight a great book collecting resource:  Firsts: A Book Collecting Magazine.  Firsts magazine has been educating book collectors and highlighting collectible books for twenty years (first published in 1991).  Our hope is someday they put the past 20 years up online as the information published over the past 20 years is invaluable to people who collect First Editions as well as book collectors in general.  Each issue usually covers an author and all of their respective books, including helpful book collecting checklists.  Other monthly features include general book collecting information, calendar of upcoming book signings, book fairs, and events, a “Points” column where readers write in with questions about identifying certain first editions, and a great “Books into Film” monthly column where a book and the subsequent movie are reviewed and compared.

Firsts Book Collecting Resource:  A Review of Firsts   A Book Collecting Magazine

Firsts is a must have for any collector of First Editions or book collecting in general.  Collectors and Booksellers often write guest articles that are very enjoyable and informative.  If you are looking for a great gift for a book collector, consider a subscription to Firsts: A Book Collecting Magazine


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Collectible Book Highlight: Great Collectible Copy of The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez Reverte

Club Dumas First Edition 219x300 Collectible Book Highlight: Great Collectible Copy of The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez Reverte

As we are both avid readers and book collectors here at Best Book Recommendations, from time to time we like to highlight exceptional or rare books for sale on the internet by booksellers from around the world.  The initial print run for many collectible first editions tends to be small, so as time goes on the number of pristine copies of rare first editions available for collectors to acquire shrinks.  Many books not published in the last 10 years can be very difficult to find, or the copies available are priced exceedingly high.  We try to highlight collectible books and First Editions for sale that are priced below past sales and others currently listed for sale.

Today’s post is just such a book.  It’s a very collectible book and it has a strong “cult” following, it is in exceptional condition (as claimed by the bookseller) and it is priced below others for sale on sites like AbeBooks.  A perfect First Edition of the original 1996 UK Edition published by the Harvell Press.  This is the first time The Club Dumas was translated and published in English (it was originally published in Spanish.  The author is from Spain).  Here is our book review of The Club DumasClub Dumas Signed 186x300 Collectible Book Highlight: Great Collectible Copy of The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez ReverteOkay, so $500 isn’t exactly a bargain but we’ve seen copies of this book sell for over $1000.  So considering the discount from other copies listed and this copies pristine condition, if you looking for a UK First/First of The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez Reverte, this one has our recommendation.

View more details about this copy of The Club Dumas

If you’ve never read The Club Dumas, you should treat yourself!  If you’re you’re more the movie type, take a look a great movie based on The Club Dumas.  It is called The Ninth Gate and stars Johnny Depp as the book collecting hero Corso.

Book Collecting Tips | Book Collecting Resources | Best Books of 2011

The Club Dumas: A Novel
 Collectible Book Highlight: Great Collectible Copy of The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez Reverte
by Arturo Perez-Reverte
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Long out-of-print Science Fiction Classic Now Available: “Anno Dracula” By Kim Newman

Fans of Science Fiction, Steampunk, Alternative History and Gothic Horror will rejoice worldwide this week as the long out of print “cult classic”, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman is being reprinted by Titan Books and released on May 24th, 2011.

Anno Dracula is an amazing blend of gothic horror, vampire, steampunk and alternative history, and is a must read for anyone who a fan of any of those genres.  The author asks the reader a simple question: What if Dracula had won in his confrontation with Dr. Van Helsing and the other protagonists from Stoker’s novel? His ultimate objective, it appears, was to Anno Dracula by Kim Newman Long Out Of Print 300x300 Long out of print Science Fiction Classic Now Available: Anno Dracula By Kim Newmanmarry Queen Victoria and claim the British throne for himself. To cement his rule, the vampire spreads his curse to create a whole new class of subject, the undead. Within this mess Dr. Seward finds himself cast in the role of Jack the Ripper as he seeks to destroy the undead in his quest for vengeance. With a fine eye for literary satire Newman throws in plenty of Victorian characters from other great works just for kicks.

Newman fills the book with an amazing cast of characters. To begin, there are the two main characters, The vampire Genevieve Dieudonne and the human Charles Beauregard who are sent to investigate the Ripper murders. While they can’t be much more different from each other, the two of them share a great chemistry, particularity as both are world weary from their respective lives. It is through them, and their respective views of this world, that the reader is shown not only this world but the large cast of supporting characters. These supporting characters include real historical figures such as Sir Charles Warren, Florence Stoker (Bram’s Wife), the victims of Jack the Ripper and Oscar Wilde amongst others. Then there’s the cast of fictional characters including characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories (such as Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes plus the occasional reference to the great detective himself), Inspector Mackenzie and the good doctors Jekyll and Moreau who not only say true to the original characters who fit into this world almost seamlessly with the real ones. There’s also characters from Stoker’s original novel as well including Dr. Jack Seward who plays a major role in the proceedings of the novel. Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort, the infamous count from Transylvania himself, only appear in the novel’s ending but their appearance is well worth the wait as it makes for an incredible and unforgettable finale. The result is a great and fun to read novel that is full of an incredible characters as.  Anno Dracula is a must read for anyone who is fan of Science Fiction, Alternative History, and Steampunk.

View collectible First Edition Copies of Anno Dracula

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Anno Dracula
 Long out of print Science Fiction Classic Now Available: Anno Dracula By Kim Newman
by Kim Newman
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The Map of Time by Felix J Palma – Great New Book to Read

Set in Victorian London with characters that are both imagined and real, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. It can be considered historical fiction, a thriller, a mystery, fantasy, time travel, science fiction, and a vast array of other sub-genres and as a result will be a book that appeals to a vast number of readers.

Map of Time COVER NOT FINAL The Map of Time by Felix J Palma   Great New Book to ReadTold by an omniscient narrator, it hooks the reader immediately with a character who plans a suicide. Thereafter, each page of this complexly rich book keeps the reader riveted with its cast of amazing characters – both imaginary and real – including Jack the Ripper, Bram Stoker, Joseph Merrick (the elephant man), Jules Verne, and others. Numerous plot twists, heart-wrenching loss, and a travel into the past and present, keeps the reader guessing and holds their interest to the very last page. It makes the reader think about what might happen if one could change the past and how that would affect the present and the future.

What happens if we change history? Felix J. Palma explores this question in The Map of Time, weaving a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting—a story full of love and adventure that transports readers to a haunting setting in Victorian London for their own taste of time travel.

The book has so much to offer – part mystery, part romance, part steampunk, part fantasy, and full of creativity and adventure, this novel is sure to please. But you’ll have to wait until June 2011 for its release. It’s available for pre-order now. Get it! Get it now! Book Collectors we recommend you pre-order a copy to ensure you receive a first edition, first printing.

Strange and wonderful as well as magical and smart, the author has done more than written a wonderful novel, he’s concocted a supernatural tour de force. Time travel, tragic love, murder and mystery all combine in what is nothing short of a surprising, satisfying and mesmerizing read.

View collectible copies of The Map of Time

The Map of Time
 The Map of Time by Felix J Palma   Great New Book to Read
by Felix J. Palma
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Check out the May 2011 Shipment of the Powell’s Indiespensable Series

We just received our latest shipment in the Powell’s Books “indiespensable” Signed First Edition Series. This is a great shipment and includes the following:

  • A signed copy of Bright before Us, in a limited hardcover edition exclusive to Indiespensable subscribers
  • The interview and Indiespensable Q&A with Katie Arnold-Ratliff on collectible cards
  • A signed excerpt from a critically praised debut novel – Wire to Wire by Scott Sparling
  • Moby Dick in Pictures, a nice notepad, and a great Powell’s tote/bookbag.

indiespendable signed first edition club 2 300x168 Check out the May 2011 Shipment of the Powells Indiespensable Seriesindiespensable 4 300x168 Check out the May 2011 Shipment of the Powells Indiespensable Series

indiespensable signed first editions 6 300x168 Check out the May 2011 Shipment of the Powells Indiespensable Seriesindiespensible may 2011 300x168 Check out the May 2011 Shipment of the Powells Indiespensable Seriesindiespensable bright before us 300x168 Check out the May 2011 Shipment of the Powells Indiespensable Seriesindiespensable signed first edition club 21 300x168 Check out the May 2011 Shipment of the Powells Indiespensable Series

In our opinion, the Powell’s Indiespensable series is the best First Edition Club around! If you only sign up for one First Edition Club (FEC), it should be the Powell’s Indiespensable series for the following 3 reasons:

1) Amazing selections every time.
2) Sometimes the selections are special indispensible editions only released to subscribers. For example, if a book is published as a soft cover, Powell’s in the past has produced a special Hardcover edition for Indiespensable subscribers (Tinkers 2010, Bright Before us 2011). These “special editions” are often very collectible. Many books also often come with unique Indispensible only slipcases.
3) Every shipment also includes special Indiespensible gifts such as advanced reading copies of upcoming books, t-shirts, book bags, tote bags, mugs, candy and more.

Powell’s Indiespensable Series is a must for book geeks, book nerds and bibliophiles alike! Know someone who collects or loves books? A Powell’s Indiespensable subscription is that special kind of gift that your book-lover will never forget. The cost is $39.95 (including shipping) every 6 weeks. You can cancel at any time.  Find out more information here.

Best Books 2010 | Best Books 2011 | Book Collecting Tips | Book Collecting Resources

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

David Mitchell is one of our favorite contemporary authors because he always seems to reinvent himself with each book, and it’s certainly fun to watch and read. His novels like Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas spill over with narrators and language, collecting storylines connected more in spirit than in fact. In his latest novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, a historical novelDavid Mitchell Thousand Autumns Cover 225x300 The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell set in Japan at the turn into the 19th century, when the island nation was almost entirely cut off from the West except for a tiny, quarantined Dutch outpost. Jacob is a pious but not unappealing prig from Zeeland, whose self-driven duty to blurt the truth in a corrupt and deceitful trading culture, along with his headlong love for a local midwife, provides the early engine for the story, which is confined at first to the Dutch enclave but crosses before long to the mainland. Every page is overfull with language, events, and characters, exuberantly saturated in the details of the time and the place but told from a knowing and undeniably modern perspective. It’s a story that seems to contain a thousand worlds in one.

David Mitchell has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize two times (number9dream in 2001 and Cloud Atlas in 2004). Mitchell has the speech disorder of stammering and has stated he considers the recent Oscar winning film The King’s Speech to be one of the most accurate portrayals of what’s it’s like to be a stammerer.  I’d probably still be avoiding the subject today had I not outed myself by writing a semi-autobiographical novel, Black Swan Green, narrated by a stammering 13 year old.”

If you enjoy book production as an art form, be sure to check out the UK First Printing as it is beautiful. View collectible and signed First Editions of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is one our Best Books of 2010.

Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts (2003)

Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts is officially a novel, but as much of the events portrayed in the book are based on actual events in the author’s life in Bombay, India from 1981 to 1987, it could also be shantaram book cover1 Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts (2003)categorized as autobiographical. Most of the characters have been disguised or blended, but Roberts insists that the core events and details are authentic. This is a big book packed with amazing adventures, people, births, deaths, schemes, criminal acts, drugs, heart wringing acts of charity, horrific prison stays, good deeds, criminal acts and the Bombay mafia. This is a great book by an amazing author and when you finish it you will feel as if you lived it yourself. For someone who has been to India, Roberts portrays it with a flawless and delicate precision. If you want to experience India without going there, reading the authors descriptions of the people, culture, food, customs, smell and poverty will get the job done. This is a perfect picaresque novel of the gut wrenching saga of an escaped New Zealander criminal turned Bombay slum hero, getting by with just his wits and his heart, in a foreign, poor and corrupt city.

Shantaram is the name that Indian villagers bestow on Lindsey or “Lin”, the main character and narrator: It means “man of God’s peace.” The real life story of David Gregory Roberts is full of wrong turns, starting with heroin addiction when his marriage ended and he lost custody of his daughter. He supported his habit with a string of armed robberies, got caught and sentenced to 19 years in prison, served two years, escaped and headed for Europe. He got sidetracked in Bombay and stayed for seven years — and that is where the story unfolds.

Lindsey meets two very important people shortly after his arrival in Bombay: Prabaker, a fearless street guide who becomes his loyal friend and companion throughout much of the story, and Karla, a beautiful and enigmatic Swiss-American woman with a mysterious past with whom he falls in love. Prabaker takes Lin to his home village for a visit, and they end up staying for six months, after which they return to Bombay and settle in a slum where Lin sets up a clinic. Knowing little more than first aid, he hooks up with the local mafia and trades medicine for favors. The mafia connection eventually leads to money laundering and forged passports, and Lin goes to prison again. Following his release, revelations about his acquaintances come to light which changes everything. Roberts is currently writing the sequel rumored to be titled “Mountain Shadow” and has said in interviews he also plans on writing a prequel. While it received a lot of praise upon its release, we don’t run into very many people who have read it. This is an amazing epic of a book that will last with you forever so we decided to make it today’s recommendation.

View collectible and rare signed first editions of Shantaram

 Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts (2003)
by Gregory David Roberts
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Bright Before Us by Kaite Arnold-Ratliff

Bright Before Us is a first novel by Katie Arnold-Ratliff, published by the literary house, Tin House. With this novel, Arnold-Ratliff, an assistant editor at O, The Oprah Magazine, forcefully enters the literary world.

Bright Before Us1 Bright Before Us by Kaite Arnold RatliffThe novel’s narrator, Francis Mason, is a twenty-something, progressive second grade teacher in San Francisco. On a field trip to the beach with his class, Mason discovers the body of a suicide victim. The trauma of the experience unravels Mason, who becomes lost in memories of his childhood love, Nora, who lost her parent’s in a car accident, and forces him to contend with marital unhappiness and anxieties about his wife’s pregnancy. Mason rapidly unhinges and becomes slightly paranoid, mixing reality and fantasy, while he contends with choices and understandings about love and loss. Mason ends up on a road trip (see a cool map documenting the trip that Arnold-Ratliff put together on her website) and addresses his fears.

While Arnold-Ratliff’s uses simple and approachable language, there is nothing simplistic about this novel. Arnold-Ratliff paints a vivid and believable portrait of San Francisco (an excellent choice of back drop for this novel) and paranoia. At one point, Mason’s paranoia becomes so intense that the novel begins to feel more like a murder mystery than a literary novel. Arnold-Ratliff effectively switches her approach in every chapter as a way of marking two separate but interlinked story lines. The risk with a novel that explores the inner-psyche of its characters is that the plot stagnates (if there is one at all). Throughout the novel, Arnold-Ratliff maintains authorial command and convincingly propels the narrative forward.

Bright Before Us is a fantastic great new book from a promising young author and is highly recommended.

Here is what some other reviewers think:

“Katie Arnold-Ratliff’s undeniably gorgeous prose and ability to launch troubled characters into impossible, tumultuous situations mark her as a writer to watch.” Booklist

“In Bright before Us, Katie Arnold-Ratliff writes sentences that have the luminous candor of X-rays, laser-traceries of the human heart. Young Francis is a fascinating and exquisitely drawn character, and the urgency of his story left me breathless.” Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

Bright before Us — an ambitious debut novel from O assistant editor Katie Arnold-Ratliff — is a nihilistic road trip of a book, full of lyrical, dreamlike prose. It’s also a story that reminds us that love, however deeply felt, is not necessarily pretty or kind.” O, The Oprah Magazine

Citrus County by John Brandon – Recommended Book Review

John Brandon’s horrifying yet oddly empathetic second novel, Citrus County is full of unexpected sources of pressure that impel the reader to keep turning the pages.  It is one of those books that you just don’t want to put down.  It is not a long book and can easily be read in one sitting.  If you are looking for a edgy and unique book from an up and coming very talented author you’ve never heard of, then this is the book for you.

The two protagonists are in junior high: delinquent-in-training Toby, a blank boy with strange eruptions of insight; and Shelby, a smart girl who has just moved to Citrus County, Fla., with her father and 4-year-old sister. Brandon skillfully puts you inside the head of these two incredibly damaged teenagers who are capable of, and eager to do, pretty despicable things, pretty terrible things.

In the opening pages, teenage Toby crosses over from detention-prone youth to serious felon. He kidnaps a child and becomes intimately involved with the child’s older sister Shelby, who is his classmate. Meanwhile, his geography teacher dreams of offing a fellow faculty member and deliberates about whether this is something he can do.  In lesser hands, the plot lines would be far-fetched. But here they allow the author to explore the nature and causes of evil as well as the differences between thought and action.

John Brandon is a very talented young author and certainly one to watch.  His first novel, Arkansas was released in 2008.  Both are great books to read and we highly recommend them both.

Citrus County
 Citrus County by John Brandon   Recommended Book Review
by John Brandon
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A Moment In The Sun By John Sayles

A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles.  A Great New Book To Read

Filmmaker and writer John Sayles has a new book out titled A Moment in the Sun and it’s a monster.  The story begins in 1897 and a tumultuous time in America’s history. Gold has been discovered in the Yukon. New York is under the sway of influence of both Hearst and Pulitzer. In a few months, an American battleship will explode in a Cuban harbor, plunging the U.S. into war. This is a big book, spanning five years and half a dozen countries, but this is the unforgettable story of that extraordinary moment: the turn of the twentieth century, as seen by one of the greatest storytellers of our time, John Sayles.

Though he will always be best known as a filmmaker of films like Matewan, Eight Men Out, and Lone Star, Sayles is also a very accomplished novelist.  His 1977 novel Union Dues was a finalist for both the National Book Award and Nation Book Critics Circle Award.

This book is filled with a lyrical intensity and stunning detail that recall both Doctorow and Deadwood, A Moment in the Sun takes the whole era in its sights—from the white-racist coup in Wilmington, North Carolina to the bloody dawn of U.S. interventionism in the Philippines. Beginning with Hod Brackenridge searching for his fortune in the North, and hurtling forward on the voices of a breathtaking range of men and women—Royal Scott, an African American infantryman whose life outside the military has been destroyed; Diosdado Concepcíon, a Filipino insurgent fighting against his country’s new colonizers; and more than a dozen others, Mark Twain and President McKinley’s assassin among them—this is a story as big as its subject: history rediscovered through the lives of the people who made it happen.

First edition, first printings of this book will undoubtedly become very collectible.  First editions of Union Dues are worth as much as $400.

View collectible signed First Editions of A Moment In the Sun

A Moment in the Sun
 A Moment In The Sun By John Sayles
by John Sayles
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