August 28, 2014

Fernando Flores wins Honorable Mention (and 10,000 bucks) in this year's Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award!

Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas, Vol. 1, by Fernando Flores

We received some exciting news here at CCLaP headquarters this week -- author Fernando Flores has just won Honorable Mention in this year's Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award, for his novella Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas, Vol. 1, which comes with a neat little paycheck for $10,000! For those who don't know, this is the brainchild of the hugely popular and award-winning author Sandra Cisneros; named in honor of her father, it celebrates Texas artists who take a particular pride in their craftwork, with this year's big winner being poet ire'ne lara silva and the other Honorable Mention going to David Tomas Martinez. Given that this is the first book Fernando has ever written, we're humbled and honored to see him receive this award, and is just one more sign of what a legitimate phenomenon Bullshit Artists has become down there in Texas where he lives. (For those who don't know, it continues to sell out in bookstores there every time we send a new shipment, and among other accolades it was the subject of a wonderful review by Austin's daily newspaper.) If you've never read the book yourself, then shame on you for missing out on one of the most entertaining titles in CCLaP's entire history; and with the electronic version being completely free, just like all our other books, there's nothing stopping you from going by the book's download page and securing a copy right this moment. A big congratulations to Fernando for this major literary achievement.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 11:17 AM, August 28, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP news | Arts news | Literature |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 25, 2014

CCLaP Recommends: Victorian bad boys

(In preparation of opening a new money-making website soon on the subject of rare books, CCLaP has recently become an affiliate seller at eBay; so we will now be doing weekly recommendations of other interesting book sales taking place there besides just our own, grouped by an interesting theme or subject each week. Please be aware that when you click on one of these particular links and then maybe end up buying the book, CCLaP receives a percentage of that sale as a commission for recommending it.)

This week: Victorian bad boys

The Modernist Era tried its darndest to repaint the Victorian Period as a time of backwards suppression and old-fashioned fuddy-duddy, mostly as a reaction to the "Genteel" times at the very end that really were like this; but before that was almost a century of sexual experimentation, scientific breakthroughs, proto-feminism and Romantic art, a time of boundary-pushing that led humanity directly into the contemporary world we live in now. Today, a look at five artists who really pushed those boundaries more than most others, and recommendations of great old books on sale at eBay that are associated with them.

De Profundis by Oscar Wilde, First Edition

Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, First Edition

Oscar Wilde. You can't have a list of Victorian bad boys without him, and in many eyes he encompasses the entire age perfectly -- a witty Irish gay man who flaunted his sexuality at a time when doing such a thing could land you in jail (which, indeed, is exactly what happened to him), like nearly everyone on today's list, Wilde embraced the tropes of the then brand-new Romanticism fully to the hilt, celebrated for his eccentricities even then and with his reputation having continually soared since. Try this first edition of his for $500 from Rain Dog Books; or for the truly dedicated, why not a first edition of his most famous work (and one of his only full-length narrative books), for a cool $3,600 or best offer from Burnside Rare Books.

The Collected Works of Dante Rossetti, First Edition

Dante Rossetti. One of the founders of the "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood," this movement of painters and writers believed literally that no good art had been made since the Renaissance artist Raphael, and called for a freer, more colorful, much more naturalistic style of creativity right in the same years that the Impressionists were doing the same thing way over on the opposite tip of Europe. Rossetti is making the list today because he once buried all his unpublished poetry in the coffin of his unexpectedly dead young hot wife, Elizabeth Siddal (as big a part of the Pre-Raphaelite mythology as any of the artists themselves), then when he changed his mind he literally dug up his wife's corpse in order to retrieve them again. Check out this , on sale for $250 from Rain Dog Books.

Song of Italy, by Algernon Swinburne

Algernon Swinburne. Yet another of the Pre-Raphaelites, the short and odd Swinburne got in a lot of trouble for the libertine lifestyle he advocated in his writing, although no less than H.P. Lovecraft called him the "only real poet" society had seen since the death of Edgar Allen Poe. Try out this first edition, first printing of his 1867 book , for $350 or best offer at J&J House Books.

Savoy Magazine issue 1, original printing

Aubrey Beardsley's Le Morte D'Arthur, First Edition

Aubrey Beardsley. About as tragically Romantic as tragically Romantic artists get, this celebrated but controversial illustrator literally died of consumption at the age of 25 (died of consumption! at 25!), but not before having a heavy hand in the establishment of the "Aesthetic" movement in visual arts, and causing all kinds of ruckus for his sexually explicit yet highly stylized posters and drawings. For those on a smaller budget, try this original printing of , featuring a profile of Beardsley and a custom Christmas card he designed for the issue, for around $200 or best offer from Fine Art Detail; or for those with a larger budget, don't pass up this first edition of the project he's most known for, a two-volume edition of (The Death of King Arthur), including their original wrappers, for $3,000.

Signed letter by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Edward Bulwer-Lytton. And okay, perhaps I'm having a bit of fun with you regarding this last writer; because I mean Bulwer-Lytton to fall on the "bad" side of "bad boy" today, an insanely popular author among his contemporary audiences (who outsold Stephen King when he was alive) but now famous for being considered among many the "Very Worst Writer of the Entire Victorian Age." He is the coiner, however, of such now famous phrases as "the great unwashed," "the pen is mightier than the sword," and the infamous "it was a dark and stormy night," and is absolutely worth collecting despite whatever actual literary quality there might be to his individual work. Try this Lytton once wrote to a "Miss Crump" thanking her for her recent unsolicited submissions of work, for just $175 from David J. Holmes Autographs.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 25, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 22, 2014

Book Review: "Dungeons & Drag Queens," by MP Johnson

(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last 18 months to be considered. For the complete list of all books reviewed here, as well as the next books scheduled to be read, click here.)
 
Dungeons & Drag Queens, by MP Johnson
 
Dungeons & Drag Queens
By MP Johnson
Eraserhead Press
Reviewed by Karl Wolff
 
Sleazella LaRuse wakes up cuffed and chained in a dungeon only to discover she has been betrothed to Houmak, the serpent god of a strange fantastical realm. The former MC of Green Bay's Bar Belle and fierce drag queen now finds herself embroiled in the strange affairs of sorcerers and magic in MP Johnson's latest novel, Dungeons & Drag Queens. Despite its ridiculous title and equally ridiculous premise, Johnson gives the reader an enjoyable quest narrative. He also delves into the biography of Sleazella (nee Todd McKinney), a lonely kid growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. One day he discovers Dina Dee's music video "I Bleed Pink" and Sleazella was born.

In the book, Sleazella escapes the clutches of Dravor and the mighty Gaktal. They seek a bride for the powerful serpent god Houmak. Unbeknownst to them, Sleazella isn't exactly the queen they are looking for. Sleazella admits she is the fiercest queen in the universe, but not necessarily the exact fit when it comes to producing heirs. After her escape she encounters the horrific slavwolves and the brave Blada Femma. Since this is a bizarro novel, the beasties and the barbarians aren't your usual color-by-numbers epic fantasy elements, unless your Dungeons Master is seriously weird. The slavwolves have multiple nipples that reveal mouths filled with razor-sharp teeth and the Blada Femma have a means of combating their enemies that is more Hard-R than PG-13.

One of the wonderful things about Dungeons & Drag Queens is its sly subversion of body horror. Body horror is a common element used in bizarro fiction, except in this case Sleazella is the most normal character in the entire book. While sophomoric humor is in abundance, Sleazella is treated as a sympathetic character. Amidst all the terrifying creatures and strange cultures she encounters, one wishes could get back to the Bar Belle and MC at her fiercest. Johnson's addition of biographical information adds the necessary human element. (Those accusing Johnson of homophobia either haven't read the book, or having read the book, simply don't know how to read. The charges are unjustified and rather ridiculous. You are laughing with Sleazella, not at Sleazella, a fine distinction. This is the exact opposite of "Gays are icky.") The grossness involves lots of fluids with blood, puke, and guts aplenty. Similar to David Lynch's treatment of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen as a floating disease-ridden personification of pure evil in his Dune movie. Among the grotesque and depraved surroundings, Sleazella, no saint by far, comes across as the most dignified. Her enemies may consider her nothing more than a "he-wench," but she knows she's the fiercest queen in the universe.

Bizarro fiction is an acquired taste. Dungeons & Drag Queens is violent, childish, gross, and weird. Depending on your own individual tastes, these are either positive or negative attributes. I enjoyed reading the book, but I also enjoyed reading the drag queen-centric novel, Our Lady of the Flowers, by Jean Genet. About the only thing similar between the two is that they have a drag queen main character.

Eraserhead Press, the publisher, has published works like The Baby Jesus Butt Plug by Carlton Melnick III and Ass Goblins of Auschwitz by Cameron Pierce. I give Dungeons & Drag Queens a lower score because it is part of such a niche genre. As I said before, bizarro fiction is an acquired taste and not for everyone. On a more personal note, I really enjoyed the book and had a fun time reading it.
 
Out of 10/8.9; much higher for fans of bizarro literature.
 
Read even more about Dungeons & Drag Queens: Official site | Amazon | GoodReads | LibraryThing | Shelfari

Filed by Karl Wolff at 9:00 AM, August 22, 2014. Filed under:
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

The CCLaP Weekender for August 22nd is here!

CCLaP Weekender for August 15, 2014

This week's edition of our new e-magazine, The CCLaP Weekender released every Friday morning, is now online for your free downloading pleasure. It features a new piece of original fiction by Joseph G. Peterson; a photography feature highlighting the work of Italian artist Elena Pezzetta; and our usual look at the upcoming week of Chicago literary events. Use the links below to access it right now.

Right-click here for PDF / Voluntarily donate 99 cents
Online version at Issuu.com (or just use the embedded version above if you're seeing it)

CCLaP Showcase: Amber Hargroder

And don't forget about the August edition of our new reading series and open mic, the CCLaP Showcase being held at City Lit Books in the Logan Square neighborhood (2523 N. Kedzie). Being held THIS TUESDAY, the 26th at 6:30 pm, it will feature local playwright Amber Hargroder (amberhargroder.com), performing from her various works (including her recent hit "Marilyn Monroe, Whoever You Are"). There will also be room for six open-mic slots, for performances of five minutes apiece (strictly timed); if you'd like to sign up in advance for one of these slots, drop us a line at cclapcenter [at] gmail.com. (Don't forget that the entire thing will be recorded for our podcast as well.) Do make sure to go by the event's Facebook listing for more, and we hope to see all you Chicagoans there.

Don't want to keep coming by the website for all this stuff? Then sign up for our weekly email newsletter, which will send you not only a reminder every Friday morning about each new issue of the Weekender, but also a recap of everything that has happened with the center in the last seven days (including news about recent author features and events from around the US, a look at all our latest eBay rare-book auctions, links to each book review we posted at the blog that week, and a lot more). To subscribe, simply sign up using the box below. We never sell your information nor send more than one email a week, and you can quit at any time!










Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 22, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Publishing | Literature | Photography | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 20, 2014

CCLaP Rare: "The Woman of Andros" by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

The Woman of Andros by Thornton Wilder (1930), First Edition First Printing

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

The Woman of Andros

By Thornton Wilder (1930)
First Edition, First Printing

DESCRIPTION: Born in the college town of Madison, Wisconsin, three-time Pulitzer winner Thornton Wilder is undoubtedly best remembered now for his summer-stock favorite Our Town, but this public intellectual's career spans a far wider range than just this; a former student at Oberlin, Princeton and Yale, who was rejected by his classmates for ironically being "too smart," he put in time as a professor at Harvard and the University of Chicago among other places, was a military hero in both World War One and Two, saw one of his plays turned into the hit Broadway musical "Hello Dolly!," and basically invented all the tropes of the modern disaster movie with his very first novel, 1927's massively popular The Bridge of San Luis Rey. And today's book being auctioned, 1930's The Woman of Andros, was the very first thing he published after that surprise bestseller; a reflection of his time as a literary scholar, it's an updating of the ancient Roman comedy Andria, a short but heady little book that asks such philosophical questions as why humans invent class systems and what the meaning of life is. Being offered for a very affordable price today because of a condition issue with the dust jacket (but see below for more), this is a wonderful piece of Early Modernist history and a must-have for any Thornton completist.

CONDITION: Text: Very Good Plus (VG+). Still in generally great shape, except for sunning along all top edges and spine. Dust jacket: Good (G). In most respects still in very good shape, minus a few small tears along the edges and folds; but unfortunately the spine has been bleached by the sun to near illegibility, which lowers the resale value of the book overall quite a bit. As confirmed by the McBride Guide to the Identification of First Editions, an agreement in date on the title page and copyright page makes this a first edition, and a lack of additional printing notices makes this a first printing as well.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at Bookworks, Chicago, spring 2012.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$20 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $40
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 20, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 19, 2014

CCLaP Rare: "Passion Play" by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

Passion Play by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

Passion Play by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

Passion Play by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

Passion Play by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

Passion Play by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

Passion Play by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

Passion Play by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

Passion Play by Jerzy Kosinski (1979), First Edition First Printing

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

Passion Play
By Jerzy Kosinski (1979)
First Edition, First Printing

DESCRIPTION: It's a bit of a miracle that author Jerzy Kosinski ever even made it to adulthood and an American literary career in the first place: a Polish Jew who survived World War Two because of fake ID papers from a sympathetic Catholic priest, he only managed to escape the post-war Communist Poland afterwards by literally inventing a fake American institution to justify his travel visa, as well as fake Communist intellectuals who "promised" via letters that he would return after his trip. But survive he did, eventually getting a degree from Columbia University and then becoming a lecturer at Yale, Princeton and other prestigious schools, a bitterly ironic fact given his death by suicide in 1991. Before his late-life troubles, though (including a series of health problems and multiple accusations of plagiarism), Kosinski churned out some of the most admired novels of the entire countercultural era, including 1965's The Painted Bird (considered by many to be one of the best books ever written about the horrors of WW2), and his most famous, 1971's Being There, a proto-Forrest Gump story whose Hollywood adaptation garnered Peter Sellers an Oscar nomination. Today's book being auctioned, 1979's Passion Play, is from the very tail end of this countercultural-era streak, and in Kosinski's own words is the most autobiographical thing he ever wrote; the story of a polo expert undergoing a mid-life crisis, our hero "Fabian" criss-crosses the country in an RV, having casual sex with a series of strangers, and ruminating on all kinds of issues that were hot to its late-'70s time period. A forgotten gem of the Postmodernist period, Kosinski is due for a major new cultural reassessment soon; and at its highly affordable price today, this is a great volume for any completist to pick up, especially now when it's still relatively easy to put together a complete set of all his books.

CONDITION: Text: Very Good Plus (VG+). In all respects in nearly the same condition as it appeared brand-new in stores, except for a tiny paper tear on the front cover (see photos for more). Dust jacket: Very Good (VG). In generally great shape, except for various small tears and folds along the edges. Stated "First Edition" on the copyright page.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Printers Row Book Fair, Chicago, June 2014.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$20 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $40
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 19, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 18, 2014

CCLaP Rare: "Sophie's Choice" by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

Sophie's Choice by William Styron (1979), First Edition First Printing

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

Sophie's Choice
By William Styron (1979)
First Edition, First Printing

DESCRIPTION: Is there any one author out there who better defines the intellectual tricks of Postmodernist literature more than William Styron? A born-and-bred Southerner whose grandparents had owned slaves, Styron himself was a humanistic liberal with an early love for William Faulkner, reflected in his massively popular literary debut, the 1951 dysfunctional-family saga Lie Down in Darkness. But after an extended period in Europe (where, incidentally, he helped co-found The Paris Review), it was in the '60s and '70s where Styron really came into his own as a writer, first with the instantly controversial 1967 Pulitzer winner The Confessions of Nat Turner (a revisionist piece of historical fiction about a real but failed slave rebellion in the 1830s), followed by today's book for sale, the equally controversial National Book Award winner Sophie's Choice from 1979. Originally banned in Poland where it is partially set, it's the story of a non-Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, whose infamous "choice" was regarding which of her two children were to be killed in the camps and which would be allowed to live; the novel itself, then, is set in a contemporary Brooklyn where Sophie now lives post-war, and the messily complicated relationships she has with a Jewish intellectual and a Styron stand-in who both live in the same boarding house where she does. A book that explicitly makes a comparison between the behavior of '40s Nazis and '60s Southern whites, it's not only considered one of the most important novels of the 20th century, but its equally famous Hollywood adaptation essentially kickstarted Oscar-winner Meryl Streep's career; and those making a point to collect the most famous titles of the Postmodernist Era will absolutely want to have this one in their library, a "sleeper gem" that is almost guaranteed to go up in value as the years continue, and go up big.

CONDITION: Text: Very Good Plus (VG+). In all respects in nearly the same condition as it appeared brand-new in stores, except for a small dent in the upper-right corner of the front cover. Dust jacket: Very Good Minus (VG-). In generally great shape, except for a pair of quarter-inch tears on the top front and top back covers, plus various folds on the inside flaps. Stated "First Trade Edition" on the copyright page.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at Ravenswood Books, Chicago, autumn 2013.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$20 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $40
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 18, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 15, 2014

The CCLaP Weekender for August 15th is here!

CCLaP Weekender for August 15, 2014

This week's edition of our new e-magazine, The CCLaP Weekender released every Friday morning, is now online for your free downloading pleasure. It features a new piece of original fiction by Matt Rowan; a photography feature highlighting the work of Chicago artist Matthew Thornton; and our usual look at the upcoming week of Chicago literary events. Use the links below to access it right now.

Right-click here for PDF / Voluntarily donate 99 cents
Online version at Issuu.com (or just use the embedded version above if you're seeing it)

CCLaP Showcase: Amber Hargroder

And don't forget about the August edition of our new reading series and open mic, the CCLaP Showcase being held at City Lit Books in the Logan Square neighborhood (2523 N. Kedzie). Being held on Tuesday, August 26th at 6:30 pm, it will feature local playwright Amber Hargroder (amberhargroder.com), performing from her various works (including her recent hit "Marilyn Monroe, Whoever You Are"). There will also be room for six open-mic slots, for performances of five minutes apiece (strictly timed); if you'd like to sign up in advance for one of these slots, drop us a line at cclapcenter [at] gmail.com. (Don't forget that the entire thing will be recorded for our podcast as well.) Do make sure to go by the event's Facebook listing for more, and we hope to see all you Chicagoans there.

Don't want to keep coming by the website for all this stuff? Then sign up for our weekly email newsletter, which will send you not only a reminder every Friday morning about each new issue of the Weekender, but also a recap of everything that has happened with the center in the last seven days (including news about recent author features and events from around the US, a look at all our latest eBay rare-book auctions, links to each book review we posted at the blog that week, and a lot more). To subscribe, simply sign up using the box below. We never sell your information nor send more than one email a week, and you can quit at any time!










Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:05 AM, August 15, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Publishing | Literature | Photography | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

CCLaP Rare: "The Chicago Speller," Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

Chicago Speller, Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

Chicago Speller, Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

Chicago Speller, Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

Chicago Speller, Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

Chicago Speller, Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

Chicago Speller, Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

Chicago Speller, Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

Chicago Speller, Grade Eight, July 1944 edition

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

The Chicago Speller, Grade Eight
From the Chicago Public School District (Don C. Rogers, Superintendent)
July 1944 edition

DESCRIPTION: A great example of the mini-textbooks that were handed out by the millions in the Chicago Public School system during the early 20th century, this particular copy of the "Chicago Speller" was intended for eighth-graders, with wonderful two-toned illustrations on both covers and a bit of history about the city itself on the inside. One of the last titles put out by the Wheeler Publishing Company, which seems to have gone out of business right after World War Two, the copyright date of this particular copy is 1941 but the book itself clearly states "July 1944" on the inside front cover. A wonderful little piece of Chicago history at an extremely affordable price.

CONDITION: Text: Very Good Minus (VG-). In generally great shape for a children's paperback that's now 70 years old, although with a few creases on both covers and a fabric spine that has torn a bit on its bottom edge. Contains pencil marks on various completed worksheets throughout. Issued without a dust jacket.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Beecher Book Fair, February 2014.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$20 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $40
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 15, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Nonfiction | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 14, 2014

CCLaP Rare: "The Stars" by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

The Stars, by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

The Stars, by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

The Stars, by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

The Stars, by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

The Stars, by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

The Stars, by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

The Stars, by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

The Stars, by Eugene Field (1901), First Edition First Printing

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

The Stars: A Slumber Story
By Eugene Field (1901)
First Edition, First Printing

DESCRIPTION: It's a shame that those writers who primarily get known through short ephemeral work (stories in magazines, columns in newspapers, slam poems at open mics) are so quickly destined to get forgotten by the culture at large, because many of these writers were actually the most fascinating people of their times, and it's a shame they didn't leave behind a more substantial body of work to be remembered by. Take Eugene Field, for a good example, the "poet laureate of children's verse" (or so his ravenous fans called him); a true literary vagabond in one of the more interesting times in American literary history (from the end of the Civil War in the 1860s to the dawn of the 20th century, when such authors as Mark Twain, Henry James and Field himself established America's very first globally respected arts community), over his life he put in at least a year apiece in St. Louis, Massachusetts, Galesburg Illinois, Columbia Missouri, St. Joseph Missouri, Kansas City, Denver, and a good stint in Chicago, where he lived literally one block away from CCLaP's headquarters here in the Uptown neighborhood. (His house still stands, for pilgrims who want to visit, at the corner of Clarendon and Hutchinson, in a historical district full of other grand homes from when this was Chicago's first-ever wealthy suburb in the middle of the woods, way back in the 1890s.) And all this time he was plugging away at a series of newspapers syndicated nationally, and getting paid good money for it, delivering a combination of humorous verse, children's poems, witty screeds about intellectuals, and a long-standing feud with Boston, a sort of Dave Barry of his age who was adored by tens of millions of genteel middle-classers.

Thankfully, though, much of this work was eventually collected up into a series of standalone hardback books; this one today, for example, was put out by The New Amsterdam Book Company in 1901, not very long after his tragically young death, and contains not just his long-form poem "The Stars" but two critical assessments of the author as well. An extremely hard-to-find volume, as are all of Field's non-illustrated first editions from these years (instead, the public tended to respond much more favorably to the illustrated second editions, the most notorious being Maxfield Parrish's 1904 adaptation of Poems of Childhood), this is a true gem for any serious collector of Victoriana or children's literature, as well as those interested in the first wave of late-19th-century Chicago authors (also including Theodore Dreiser, Upton Sinclair and Carl Sandburg) who helped establish the city's first-ever legitimate artistic bona fides.

CONDITION: Text: Good Plus (G+). Although still in solid shape, this particular copy's spine is rather beat up on the top and bottom corners, with a bit of sunning and staining on the covers as well. The inside front flap features a handwritten inscription from a previous owner which states, "Agnes Lee From Aunt Mary Jan 16th 1919." Issued without a dust jacket. As confirmed by the McBride Guide to the Identification of First Editions, a matching date on the title page and copyright page, and lack of additional printing notices, makes this a true first edition, first printing.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Oak Brook Book Fair, April 2014.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$50 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $80
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 14, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 8, 2014

The NSFW Files: "Lost Girls" by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie

The NSFW Files | A CCLaP essay series

(Once a month through 2013, CCLaP staff writer Karl Wolff investigates literature of a more carnal kind with The NSFW Files. Despite being erotic, is there literary value to be found? For all the essays in this
series, please click here.)


Lost Girls, by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie

 
Lost Girls
by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie
Review by Karl Wolff
 
Personal History: Alan Moore wrote an epic erotic comic. And Lost Girls also carried with it hints of controversy. As a longtime fan of Moore, I had to see what he did with this particular genre of comics.

The History: Published in 2006, Lost Girls is still too new to have "a history," at least in the same way as Story of O or Naked Lunch. Those two novels were controversial and shocking when they first hit bookstores, but have since accrued literary respectability and legitimacy with the addition of so many years. Lost Girls isn't even ten years old, therefor I will hold off on any premature announcements to its status as a classic.

The exact nature of the controversy is in its depiction of child sexuality. Without the proper contextualization, the words "child sexuality" comes across as shocking and horrific. This requires unpacking and seeing it within the narrative framework of Lost Girls. Moore and Gebbie have created a work that explores an erotic world based on the fictionalized lives of three protagonists from children's literature. Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and Wendy from Peter Pan. Here is what Alan Moore has to say about this, "if we'd have come out and said, 'well, this is a work of art,' they would have probably all said, 'no it's not, it's pornography.' So because we're saying, 'this is pornography,' they're saying, 'no it's not, it's art,' and people don't realize quite what they've said." (quote from The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log). The whole art versus pornography conundrum, while saving the authors and readers the headache of legal prosecution, does little to solve the issue.

This is what makes the arts different from the sciences. Because of the slippery subjectivity of artistic intentions, reader reactions, and critical interpretation, things can get ugly when butting against the ferocious consequences of the law and psychology. Back when I began this essay series, I cited Susan Sontag's "The Pornographic Imagination." In Sontag's influential essay, she works diligently to support erotica and pornography as a legitimate literary genre. She also goes out of her way to avoid discussing either legal or psychological aspects of the works she selected. But (and this is key) the works she discussed were prose. Lost Girls is a comic, a medium built upon an interplay between words and image. It is these images where things get dicey.

At CONvergence this year I attended a panel titled "Fetishes: Gone Too Far?". During the discussion, one of the key points was the interrelated issues of controversy versus legality. Like William S. Burroughs, I hold an ideological position of "First Amendment absolutist." What this means is that I believe artists should have almost no restrictions in terms of subject matter. In a related legal case, Neil Gaiman went so far as to assert that comic book characters have no claims to legal personhood. Comic book characters do not exist in the same way that fictional characters represented by a film or stage actor exist. And in cases like these, where someone is prosecuted for possessing a comic where underage characters have sex, is a dangerous precedent. One shouldn't confuse moral judgments (what said person does with said comics) with legal writ. What is moral and what is legal isn't always a 1:1 ratio. This holds especially true in a multi-ethnic, multicultural pluralistic democracy like the United States.

But with any absolutist position, this has a number of caveats. This circles back to context, genre, and child sex. The First Amendment protects speech not acts. Lost Girls is work of fiction and, as such, is legally protected free speech. This isn't a how-to manual on how to solicit children for sexual acts. And even with the protection of the First Amendment, it is clear that the depictions are artistic renderings. When it comes to photographs or filmic representations, the context changes entirely, since that brings up a host of issues like age of consent, coercion, criminal enterprise, and more.

I spend a lot of space discussing the context and particulars because one should be able to read Lost Girls without fear of legal prosecution.

Despite the sensational subject matter, Lost Girls is a groundbreaking erotic comic that Moore and Gebbie use to explore issues of genre, history, and narrative.

The Book: Lost Girls centers its narrative around an Austrian hotel on the eve of The Great War. At the hotel we meet Wendy Durling, Dorothy Gale, and Alice Fairchild. As the story progresses, Wendy, Dorothy, and Alice recount erotic tales from their childhood. We see eroticized origin stories. Dorothy masturbates during a tornado. Wendy meets a strange boy in the park who initiates her (and her young brothers) into the world of adult sexuality. Alice engages in sexual escapades with a schoolmistress named Mrs. Redman (a sexualized version of The Red Queen). They continue regaling each other with their erotic autobiographies admist sexual shenanigans at the Austrian hotel.

In a way Lost Girls comes across like slash fiction, the sexualized version of fan fiction. This is relevant since Moore and Gebbie are using characters and situations from classic literature.

But Moore and Gebbie further complicate things. The hotel proprietor named Monsieur Rougeur lends the women The White Book, an anthology of erotic pastiches allegedly written and illustrated by such luminaries as Aubrey Beardsley, Guilliame Apollinaire, Oscar Wilde, and Egon Schiele. Near the end of Lost Girls, the specter of war hovers ever closer. Archduke Francis Ferdinand is assassinated and various European powers prepare an imminent war. The husbands of the three female protagonists leave to attend to the immediate crisis. The hotel is emptied but for Dorothy, Wendy, and Alice, and the lusty hotel staff. It is during this orgy that Monsieur Rougeur recounts his own origin story. He tells about his life as a master forger and pederast. In typical Moore fashion, the comic depicts three simultaneous storylines. The first is a story from The White Book; the second is Rougeur's life story; and the third is the present-day hotel orgy. But because Rougeur is a master forger, we don't know whether he is telling the truth with his story. And this relates back to the alleged authenticity of the art in The White Book. Lost Girls exists simultaneously as an epic piece of slash fiction and as an avant-garde exploration of narrative itself.

The very final scenes involve German soldiers breaking a mirror (a prop present in the prologue) and a slow pull back that reveals the entire narrative was a dream by a dying soldier in a trench. One recalls the endings of Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and : the common ending trope all these works had was that it had been a dream.

The Verdict: As I stated previously, I'm avoiding any verdict saying Lost Girls is a classic. Too early to tell. Although this will be yet another example within Alan Moore's oeuvre that scholars can puzzle over, dissect, and contextualize. Despite its controversial subject matter, it holds its own both within Moore's body of work and against other erotic comics.
 
Read even more about Lost Girls: Official site | Amazon | GoodReads | LibraryThing | Shelfari | Wikipedia
 
Coming next: The NSFW Files in book form! I'll have at least three more bonus essays and a concluding essay on erotica as a literary genre.

Filed by Karl Wolff at 9:00 AM, August 8, 2014. Filed under:
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

The CCLaP Weekender for August 8th is here!

CCLaP Weekender for August 8, 2014

This week's edition of our new e-magazine, The CCLaP Weekender released every Friday morning, is now online for your free downloading pleasure. It features a new piece of original fiction by Bruce Douglas Reeves; a photography feature highlighting the work of Seattle artist Todd Schlemmer; and our usual look at the upcoming week of Chicago literary events. Use the links below to access it right now.

Right-click here for PDF / Voluntarily donate 99 cents
Online version at Issuu.com (or just use the embedded version above if you're seeing it)

CCLaP Showcase: Amber Hargroder

And don't forget about the August edition of our new reading series and open mic, the CCLaP Showcase being held at City Lit Books in the Logan Square neighborhood (2523 N. Kedzie). Being held on Tuesday, August 26th at 6:30 pm, it will feature local playwright Amber Hargroder (amberhargroder.com), performing from her various works (including her recent hit "Marilyn Monroe, Whoever You Are"). There will also be room for six open-mic slots, for performances of five minutes apiece (strictly timed); if you'd like to sign up in advance for one of these slots, drop us a line at cclapcenter [at] gmail.com. (Don't forget that the entire thing will be recorded for our podcast as well.) Do make sure to go by the event's Facebook listing for more, and we hope to see all you Chicagoans there.

Don't want to keep coming by the website for all this stuff? Then sign up for our weekly email newsletter, which will send you not only a reminder every Friday morning about each new issue of the Weekender, but also a recap of everything that has happened with the center in the last seven days (including news about recent author features and events from around the US, a look at all our latest eBay rare-book auctions, links to each book review we posted at the blog that week, and a lot more). To subscribe, simply sign up using the box below. We never sell your information nor send more than one email a week, and you can quit at any time!










Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:05 AM, August 8, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Publishing | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Photography | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

CCLaP Rare: "Where Angels Fear to Tread" by E.M. Forster (1905), First American Edition [1920] First Printing

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (1905), First American Edition (1920), First Printing

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (1905), First American Edition (1920), First Printing

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (1905), First American Edition (1920), First Printing

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (1905), First American Edition (1920), First Printing

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (1905), First American Edition (1920), First Printing

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (1905), First American Edition (1920), First Printing

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster (1905), First American Edition (1920), First Printing

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

Where Angels Fear to Tread

By E.M. Forster (1905)
First American Edition [1920], First Printing

DESCRIPTION: The early 20th century was a sneakily fascinating time in British literary history, mostly because of the British public really starting to wrestle for the first time with its role in colonialism, class and Empire, as seen in a series of authors at the time who tiptoed and danced around the subject without ever quite stating their opinions in a plain way. Take E.M. Forster for an excellent example, a closeted gay man who was hugely critical of class and race issues in his private life (and who turned down an honorary knighthood once he was old and famous), but who was forced to only subliminally talk about all these subjects through a series of novels that at first glance seem simply like frilly romance stories. This is most clearly seen in such late-period masterpieces as Howards End and A Passage to India, but all the elements are there even in his very first book, 1905's Where Angels Fear to Tread (not published in America until 1920, with a first print run of of only 2,630 copies), written when he was just 26 years old. Ostensibly one of those "European Grand Tour" novels so popular at the time (see for example Forster's American peer Henry James, who literally made an entire career out of such stories), at first glance it seems to be the simple tale of a young middle-class British widow who falls in love with a penniless Italian while on vacation one summer, with her shocked family attempting to take control of the couple's eventual child once the woman dies at an early age herself; but a more careful reading reveals just how much contempt Forster has for the prim, sheltered Herriton family at the center of the story, and by extension his disgust for any person who puts "proper appearances" at a higher priority than personal happiness, a running theme of his entire career that he would express in much more subtle and powerful ways in later books. An extra-valuable book merely from the fact that it was Forster's first, even at its premium price today one is getting a steal (copies in better condition and with the dust jacket intact go for ten times as much), a perfect acquisition for Forster fans and those who professionally collect historically important pieces of Edwardian literature.

CONDITION: Text: Good Plus (G+). Although still in solid shape, this particular copy features scratch marks on the back cover, signs of fabric wear on all corners, a spine that has been bleached by the sun, and just the barest beginnings of structural weakness in the binding. Dust jacket: Missing. As confirmed by the McBride Guide to the Identification of First Editions, a matching date on the title page and copyright page, and lack of additional printing notices, makes this a true first edition, first printing.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Newberry Library Book Fair, July 2014.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$75 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $150
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 8, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 7, 2014

And this just in: Eleanor Stanford's "Historia, Historia" wins Peace Corps Experience Award!

Eleanor Stanford's 'Historia, Historia' Wins Peace Corps Experience Award

Exciting news that just came into CCLaP headquarters yesterday: Eleanor Stanford's CCLaP essay collection Historia, Historia has just won the 2014 Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award! This is given out each year by an organization called Peace Corps Worldwide, a group of current and former volunteers who all enjoy writing and reading about their experiences; so to have this award be determined by a group of her fellow Peace Corps writers is something extra-special to us, and we here at CCLaP are humbled and honored to have received it. I'm just so proud anyway of merely having this book in our catalog to begin with, mostly because it would normally be such a difficult title to place at a mainstream press, and I feel that this is the main benefit of small presses in the first place, that they provide a home to books that are hard to place elsewhere; partly it's a traditional academic nonfiction look at the Cape Verde Islands off the western coast of Africa, and a really insightful yet beautifully written analysis of the Creole language that's spoken there, but it's also a very daring personal memoir about the eating disorder Eleanor developed while there, and the things she now understands about the experience now that 15 years have passed since the events in question. This is one of the top-five biggest sellers in CCLaP's entire catalog, for a very good reason in my opinion, and it's a real thrill to see Eleanor be recognized by her peers in this way, the icing on a very good cake we've all been eating for the last few years. You can click here to see more details about the award announcement itself, or head over to [cclapcenter.com/historia] for a completely free copy of the ebook edition, if you've never read it yourself.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 11:40 AM, August 7, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Publishing | CCLaP news | Literature |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

CCLaP Rare: "Human Sexual Inadequacy" by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

Human Sexual Inadequacy, by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

Human Sexual Inadequacy, by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

Human Sexual Inadequacy, by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

Human Sexual Inadequacy, by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

Human Sexual Inadequacy, by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

Human Sexual Inadequacy, by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

Human Sexual Inadequacy, by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

Human Sexual Inadequacy, by Masters and Johnson (1970), First Edition First Printing

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

Human Sexual Inadequacy
By William Masters and Virginia Johnson (1970)
First Edition, First Printing

DESCRIPTION: It can be argued that the Postmodernist Era REALLY began the moment the US won World War Two in 1945, thus kicking off the Mid-Century-Modernist age and all the new optimism and curiosity about the world that it inspired; but that this loosening of uptight morals had to occur through baby steps, first coming through such conservative fields as science and medicine before finally invading the arts in the 1960s and then culture at large in the '70s. And certainly the rise of William Masters and Virginia Johnson supports this idea: a team that officially got its start in 1957, after being inspired by the work of proto-"sexologist" Alfred Kinsey in the years directly after WW2, Masters & Johnson were the first such scientists to study human sexual behavior directly through laboratory experiments (versus the reliance on after-the-fact interviews that Kinsey based most of his reports on), leading to rather titillating rumors coming from their offices at St. Louis' Washington University even in the same exact years that "Leave it to Beaver" was the most popular show on television. (How titillating? Well, even 50 years later, their work is the basis of a salacious new show on cable television, mostly known for its high level of nudity and sexual situations.) However, it wasn't until the actual Postmodernist Era that Masters & Johnson finally started releasing books to the general public about their findings, starting with the massive one-two punch of 1966's Human Sexual Response and today's volume being auctioned, 1970's Human Sexual Inadequacy, both of which sold tens of millions of copies and introduced society at large to such ideas as multiple orgasms in women, the four-stage process of arousal, and the fact that humans can continue having enjoyable sex at pretty much any age, given a healthy body and a willing partner. A pair of books that slipped as comfortably into the mainstream's changing perception of sexuality in general as a hand slips into a glove, and the volumes that ushered in such entirely new cultural developments as sex education for teenagers and sexual surrogates as legitimate therapy, we would literally live in a different world if not for these society-changing titles; and at its highly affordable price today, this is a must-have for fellow scientists, collectors of Postmodernist literature, and aging baby boomers looking for a nostalgic trip back to their hippie youths.

CONDITION: Fine (F). Nearly identical to how it originally appeared new in bookstores. Dust jacket: Very Good Plus (VG+). In nearly perfect shape, except for a bit of crinkling along some of the edges and a quarter-inch tear on the bottom spine (unfortunately more noticeable than usual in this case, because of the dust jacket being colored screenprinting over a white piece of paper).

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Oak Brook Book Fair, April 2014.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$20 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $40
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 7, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Nonfiction | Reviews |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 6, 2014

CCLaP Rare: "Ragtime" by E.L. Doctorow (1975), First Edition First Printing

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (1975), First Edition First Printing

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (1975), First Edition First Printing

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (1975), First Edition First Printing

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (1975), First Edition First Printing

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (1975), First Edition First Printing

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow (1975), First Edition First Printing

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

Ragtime
By E.L. Doctorow (1975)
First Edition, First Printing

DESCRIPTION: Among collectors of Postmodernist first editions, a popular guessing game is to determine which of the novels of our own age will eventually be the ones most sought after in another 50 years from now, and which will have fallen into forgotten obscurity by then, not only in terms of individual titles but of the authors in general writing these titles; so the smart collector of contemporary novels relies on a series of intuitive choices backed up by a bit of luck, looking to outside cultural touchstones to help tell which particular books will hopefully stand the test of time. Take for example E.L. Doctorow, who as of the time of this write-up (August 2014) is still alive and publishing new books on a regular basis; although it's impossible to foretell with 100-percent accuracy what literary fans of future generations will think of him, he's at least had the kind of long and popular career that will at minimum guarantee that he's still remembered in another half-century from now, and placed in that short list of writers that future historians will use to define the Postmodernist Era in general (along with, most likely, such authors as Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, John Updike, John Irving, Susan Sontag, Joyce Carol Oates, and many more).

So why make the argument that his 1975 novel Ragtime will eventually be the most valuable one of all? Well, to start with, one can argue that it's simply his best book: a piece of historical fiction written in Doctorow's trademark style (that is, of combining real people from that era with completely fictional elements, using the precision of a historian but the imagination of a fantasy author), it's a dark funhouse mirror of subversive Americana published just in time for the country's bicentennial, a shockingly frank look at the racism and sexism that was so rampant during the "glorious" years during the turn of the 20th century, and the kind of naked new look at history that largely helped define Postmodernism to begin with. (See also from these years The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron, plus pretty much every novel Gore Vidal wrote in the 1970s.) Now add the fact that this particular book completely changed Doctorow's career, from just another interchangeably obscure academic author to suddenly a popular superstar in the mainstream bestseller list, and now a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award (and surprisingly, a finalist in that year's science-fiction Nebula Award); and then from a collector's standpoint, add the fact that this was a bit of a surprise to everyone involved, and hence the very first print run of this book was shockingly small, compared to every other book by Doctorow that came afterwards, all of which had enormous first print runs, thus making the financial value of any individual copy a lot less. Now add its lasting historical legacy -- including being named one of the 100 best American novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library -- then finally add its historical legacy in the popular culture -- namely, an insanely popular 1981 movie version (nominated for eight Oscars and featuring the very last screen appearance of James Cagney), and an equally popular 1998 Broadway musical (which won four Tonys and was nominated for another nine).

It's for all these reasons that this book is being offered at its relatively premium price today, compared to other popular novels from the 1970s that one might pick up for much cheaper; and although no one can predict with exact accuracy what the future may hold, it's this collector's opinion that such a book is almost guaranteed to eventually increase in value at least tenfold or more, for the young patient collector willing to park this on a shelf and wait for history to catch up to it. Fated to be an eventual jewel in the book collection of anyone into it for the long haul, don't let this modern diamond in the rough pass you by.

CONDITION: Text: Fine (F). Almost identical to how it appeared brand-new in bookstores. Dust jacket: Very Good (VG+). In almost perfect shape, except for just the tiniest bits of crinkling and dirt along the top edges, and with the price on the inside flap clipped off. (In fact, to be clear, many other dealers would list this dust jacket in Fine condition, and is only being downgraded today in the effort to be as fair as possible.)

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at Bookworks, Chicago, summer 2013.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$60 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $120
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 6, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 5, 2014

CCLaP Recommends: Contemporary authors you should be collecting in their entirety

(In preparation of opening a new money-making website soon on the subject of rare books, CCLaP has recently become an affiliate seller at eBay; so we will now be doing weekly recommendations of other interesting book sales taking place there besides just our own, grouped by an interesting theme or subject each week. Please be aware that when you click on one of these particular links and then maybe end up buying the book, CCLaP receives a percentage of that sale as a commission for recommending it.)

This week's theme: Great contemporary authors to be collecting in their entirety

Since this is nearly impossible to do with older authors, one of the most fun activities among collectors of contemporary first editions is to attempt to put together a complete set of books by a particular author; if guessed correctly, such a collection will be worth an enormous fortune in another half-century or more if kept all together that entire time, a very reasonable goal to shoot for if you're a collector currently under the age of 40. Here, five recommendations of living and currently publishing authors who you might want to take a bet on.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon. A great example of our contemporary time's habit to flirt back and forth between high art and low art in the literary world, and between academic respect and genre conventions, Chabon is perhaps the only Pulitzer winner in history to have also written a comic book, with his titles equally at home at a science-fiction convention as at Bread Loaf. Try for example this first edition, first printing of his early 1988 hit for $150 or best offer, from Rare Book Cellar.

The Twenty-Seventh City, by Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen. Brilliant, controversial, name-checked by the President of the United States, pouty and old-fashioned when it comes to the literary world and the literary industry -- Franzen has almost everything you want when looking for contemporary writers who have a good chance of still being famous and thus collectible in another 50 or 100 years from now. Check out for example this signed first edition, first printing of his fellow 1988 hit for $100 or best offer (the year both he and Chabon broke into the national consciousness at the same time, which is why their names seem to forever be linked), from Buyers Cellar.

The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie. A writer who seemingly keeps getting more fascinating with every passing decade, he was one of the Postmodernist pioneers who helped break the color barrier for academically revered authors, went into hiding for years because of an international death threat from one of the most powerful religious figures on the planet, and has been voted three times in a row now the greatest writer to ever win the Booker Prize. Try this signed first edition, first printing of his infamous 1989 by Polynomics for $300; or for the truly dedicated pick up this super-rare mint-condition first edition of his Booker Winner and magical-realism definer , for a cool $750 from Bookbid.

Beloved, by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison. What's one of the future areas of highly collectible literature that no one seems to be thinking about right now? Writers of color, that's what! And in the future, Morrison will be seen as important and as groundbreaking to our age as William Faulkner is seen as to Early Modernism, so you're a fool not to be picking up her highly affordable catalog of work right now when you still have a chance. Here for example, pick up a first edition, first printing of her groundbreaking 1987 novel and Oprah favorite for only $60, from Woolf6738.

Tenth of December, by George Saunders

George Saunders. Most likely to be remembered in the future for being one of the first authors to bring respectability to a new subgenre still mostly thoroughly in the underground, known collectively as "bizarro," that is likely destined to become a much more increasingly popular form of the arts as the generations click on, just like how it was difficult in the 1910s to predict that science-fiction in general would be the billion-dollar business it is today. Signed copies of even his newest in mint condition, last year's , are going already for $100 at Feral Books, so get on top of this author's oeuvre while you still have a chance to do so relatively cheaply.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:05 AM, August 5, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

CCLaP Rare: "Van Bibber and Others" by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

Van Bibber and Others, by Richard Harding Davis (1892), illustrations by Charles Dana Gibson, First Edition First Printing

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

Van Bibber and Others
By Richard Harding Davis (1892)
First Edition, First Printing

DESCRIPTION: The Victorian Age is littered with fascinating people who have now been mostly forgotten by the public at large; take for a good example Richard Harding Davis, who had just as interesting a life as, say, his buddy Theodore Roosevelt, but is remembered by only a fraction of people who know the latter. A Philadelphia native who is credited with founding the football team at Lehigh University, Davis unfortunately didn't last there very long because of partying too much as an undergraduate; and when his dad finally pulled some strings and got him a job as a journalist, he used the opportunity to become one of the era's first sensationalist reporters, writing regularly about such subjects as abortion and suicide and becoming the first journalist to do a report about the first electrocution execution in history. This led to him becoming a managing editor at the influential Harper's Weekly, and it's there (along with his time at Scribner's Magazine as well) where he really had his most influence over the development of the new "periodicals" industry in the United States, becoming a widely admired war correspondent who traveled extensively through Africa, Japan, Central America, the Caribbean and more, and eventually being one of the "yellow journalists" who was accused by the public of fabricating the Spanish-American War on behalf of William Randolph Hearst (an accusation that Davis vehemently denied throughout his life, and frankly with there being a lot of evidence to support the theory that Davis and Hearst in fact hated each other). And in the meanwhile, Davis almost singlehandedly established the reputation of Roosevelt's "Rough Riders," was an accomplished novelist and playwright, was one of the first authors to have a successful adaptation career in the nascent Hollywood film industry, and was married to famed Vaudeville performer Bessie "Yama Yama Man" McCoy to boot.

Today's book being auctioned is a lesser-known one from Davis's career, and one of the first he ever published, a delightfully self-righteous collection of short stories concerning a haughty aristocrat named Van Bibber and all the moral pronouncements he makes concerning the ethically weak idiots he's surrounded by in a late-Victorian New York City. (For an amusingly dark example of the book's entire tone, see the story "The Hungry Man Was Fed," in which Van Bibber literally takes a homeless man to dinner with him at a fancy restaurant, to prove that the man doesn't really want food in the first place with the money he's been begging for, then forces the man to pay for the meal with the surprisingly large chunk of panhandling change that he kept insisting he didn't actually have.) Of much greater interest with this book than the actual stories, though, is that it contains four original (uncredited) illustrations by a young Charles Dana Gibson, a friend of Davis's who would eventually become the most famous illustrator of the early 20th century, whose archetypal "Gibson Girl" largely helped define the looser look and style of young proto-feminist "suffragettes" around the turn of the century. (And in fact, the artist's equally famous "Gibson Man," which helped usher in the national craze for clean-shaven gentlemen in these same years, was modeled directly after Davis himself, as can plainly be seen by comparing photos of the author at the time with the illustrations that Gibson was pumping out by the dozens in those days.) Being offered today at an affordable price in order to encourage an actual sale, this is a wonderfully odd artifact for any fan of Gibson, Davis, or just late Victorian literature in general, and one of those perfect holiday gifts that looks a lot more expensive than it actually is.

CONDITION: Very Good Minus (VG-). In general still in great shape for its 124-year-old age, and with completely clean inner covers, although with a bit of fraying along its spine, a few stains on the front and back outer covers, and with a few cracks in the glue between the various folios found within (although please note with the spine still nice and tight). Issued without a dust jacket. As confirmed by the McBride Guide to the Identification of First Editions, an agreement in date on the book's title page and copyright page marks this as a first edition, and a lack of additional printing notices makes this a first printing as well.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Printers Row Book Fair, June 2014, Chicago.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$20 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $40
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 5, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 4, 2014

CCLaP Rare: "How Book of Cubbing," 1943 (last-ever mention of "Cubbing" versus "Cub Scouts")

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

How Book of Cubbing (Boy Scouts of America), 1943

(CCLaP is now selling rare and unusual books through the main website, shipped to customers through USPS Priority Mail and with full refunds always guaranteed. To see the latest full list of volumes for sale, please click here).

How Book of Cubbing
Boy Scout of America (1943)
Last Mention Ever of "Cubbing" Versus "Cub Scouts"

DESCRIPTION: The idea of introducing teenagers to the activities of "scouting" goes all the way back to the British Robert Baden-Powell in 1907, with the American version formally incorporated into an organization in 1910; but it wasn't until 20 years later that an official program was introduced for preteens as well, even though various individual experiments had already been tried under such monikers as "Junior Troops," "Boy Rangers" and "Cadet Corps." It was in 1930, though, that the BSA officially started the "Cubbing" program, heavily influenced by both Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and the then popular activity of "Americanizing" Native American culture (still seen in the Cub Scouts to this day, in such details as the "Webelos" program and the graduating "Arrow of Light" award); and now 85 years later, the Cub Scouts are far and away the largest and most popular section of the BSA in general, and the thing they're most known for in the general public eye.

And the BSA has of course been publishing official guidebooks to Scouting activities this entire time too; today's guidebook being auctioned, for example, is from 1943, and is the very last guidebook in history to refer to the program by its old term of "Cubbing," before switching officially to the "Cub Scouts of America" later in the year. (In fact, as you can see in the accompanying photos, there's even a note on the title page about how only some of the references to "Cubbing" within have been changed to "Cub Scouts," because of them literally running out of time before the manuscript had to be sent to press.) A fascinating 400-page slice of history containing literally hundreds of illustrations and photographs (unfortunately including, please be warned, several shots of children in blackface), it's being offered at an ultra-affordable price today because, frankly, it's not worth much to professional full-time book dealers; but this is the ultimate unique gift for any Scouting enthusiast in your life, a document charting an important moment of transition in Cub Scout history when the group really started becoming formalized nationally for the very first time.

CONDITION: Text: Very Good (VG). Designed especially ruggedly for outdoor handling by children, this volume is still in great shape for its 71-year-old age, except for various stains on its heavy fabric covers and a bit of yellowing on the inside flaps. Issued without a dust jacket. The front inside cover includes penciled notes from previous owner Elena Wilkins, as well as a mailing-label sticker from yet another previous owner, Mrs. Donley T. Schultz of Fairmont, West Virginia.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Printers Row Book Fair, June 2014, Chicago.

eBay auction
MINIMUM BID: US$20 / BUY THIS MOMENT FOR $40
(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP's main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 4, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Rare | Literature | Literature:Nonfiction | Reviews |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.

August 1, 2014

The CCLaP Weekender for August 1st is here!

CCLaP Weekender for August 1, 2014

This week's edition of our new e-magazine, The CCLaP Weekender released every Friday morning, is now online for your free downloading pleasure. It features a new piece of original fiction by Marian Hayes; a photography feature highlighting the work of Italian artist Francis Flower; and our usual look at the upcoming week of Chicago literary events. Use the links below to access it right now.

Right-click here for PDF / Voluntarily donate 99 cents
Online version at Issuu.com (or just use the embedded version above if you're seeing it)

CCLaP Showcase: Amber Hargroder

And don't forget about the August edition of our new reading series and open mic, the CCLaP Showcase being held at City Lit Books in the Logan Square neighborhood (2523 N. Kedzie). Being held on Tuesday, August 26th at 6:30 pm, it will feature local playwright Amber Hargroder (amberhargroder.com), performing from her various works (including her recent hit "Marilyn Monroe, Whoever You Are"). There will also be room for six open-mic slots, for performances of five minutes apiece (strictly timed); if you'd like to sign up in advance for one of these slots, drop us a line at cclapcenter [at] gmail.com. (Don't forget that the entire thing will be recorded for our podcast as well.) Do make sure to go by the event's Facebook listing for more, and we hope to see all you Chicagoans there.

Don't want to keep coming by the website for all this stuff? Then sign up for our weekly email newsletter, which will send you not only a reminder every Friday morning about each new issue of the Weekender, but also a recap of everything that has happened with the center in the last seven days (including news about recent author features and events from around the US, a look at all our latest eBay rare-book auctions, links to each book review we posted at the blog that week, and a lot more). To subscribe, simply sign up using the box below. We never sell your information nor send more than one email a week, and you can quit at any time!










Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, August 1, 2014. Filed under: CCLaP Publishing | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Photography | Profiles |
Go to Facebook Have a comment about this entry? Join the conversation at CCLaP's Facebook group.