Signed Books

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by DNO, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    About three years ago, while going through a thrift store, I stumbled on a novel signed by Margaret Atwood. That was the start of a bit of an addiction. A rather compulsive collector, I became enamored with signed books. There is something very special about a book that has actually been in the hands of its author, rather than simply shipped from the publisher and sold to a consumer.


    Being retired, I didn’t really want to spend much on yet another collection so I have restricted my search for signed books to thrift stores, church rummage sales and house contents sales. I’ve not been disappointed. Most books have cost between $2 and $5. It’s a pretty thrifty way of collecting! (pun intended)


    I now have 365 signed books, all from those sources. Most are signed by the author,. Some are signed by the subject of the book in the case of a biography, and some are signed by both. I haven’t picked up every signed book I have found and I find I’m getting more selective. That’s the normal progress in any collection, of course.


    Many of my books are of fairly restricted Canadian interest, of course. I have books signed by 8 Prime Ministers and all sorts signed by Canadian writers. However, I have some that may interest others. I’ll post a few of my favorites here. My picture quality isn't the greatest. Most were taken quickly as a means of recording the book.


    Does anyone else have a fascination for these signed beauties?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  2. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    This is one of my favourites. Anyone of my generation will recognize this photo immediately. The book is a biography of Kim Phuc, the girl seen in the centre of the photo, running from the burning village. The book is signed not only by the author, Denise Chong, but by the subject herself.

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  3. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    I guess it's the thrill of the hunt that has always drawn me to the collecting world. I know I was pretty excited to find this one in a Sally Ann shop.

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    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  4. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    When I was a kid, my father loved the Red Skelton show. I still remember the Clem Cadidlehopper character. Who knew that Red tried his hand at fiction?

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  5. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    I think I'm pretty lucky to live in a large city. I have quite a few thrift stores I can go to and there are contents sales pretty well every weekend. It also makes ones like this easier to find. Sting only held book signings in 3 North American cities, I believe. In each city, he only signed 100 books. Who would give one of these away? I'm just lucky they did, I guess.

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  6. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom One Too Many

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    Those are very neat. One of my prized possessions is an autographed copy of "Holt Hartmann vom Himmel" by Erich Hartmann, top scoring fighter ace of all time. The Author autographed it for my dad sometime back in the 1970s. I also have an autographed copy of some books by Irving Stone ("Lust for Life", "The Agony and the Ecstasy"). I was fortunate enough to have taken a class with Mr. Stone in the mid 1980s, just a few years before he passed away.
     
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  7. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The stuff I tend to pick up in used bookstores tends to be so obscure that signed copies go unnoticed, and I've managed to find some interesting stuff just browsing around. I have a signed and inscribed copy of Rudy Vallee's first autobiography from 1930, along with a number of his radio scripts with his own pencil notations, and several items signed and otherwise inscribed by Correll and Gosden -- creators of Amos and Andy -- including what's probably the last autograph Freeman Gosden ever signed right before his death in 1982. I've also got signed works by a couple of my favorite radical/feminist authors of the Era -- Elizabeth Hawes and Mary Inman. For the latter, not only is the book -- her 1940 groundbreaker "In Woman's Defense" -- signed, but I found a penciled note from her in the back of the book to the person she loaned it to, asking that it be returned to her when the reader is done. She died in 1985, so whoops, sorry about that.

    Probably the rarest signed book I have is "The Crime and the Criminal" by Dudley Schoenfeld, from 1937 -- a psychological study of the Lindbergh Kidnapping Case by the psychiatrist who advised the prosecution during Hauptmann's trial. It's hard to find this book under any circumstances, so getting a signed copy was a surprising bonus.

    The most unexpected signed items I ran across was a small stack of "Shazam!" comic books from the 1970s, autographed by C. C. Beck, the creator of Captain Marvel himself. I had read and enjoyed this comic when I was a kid, and picked them up without really looking -- and when I sat down to read them, I was astonished to discover what turned out to be Beck's signature at the bottom of the first page of each issue. I don't know if they were his personal copies or he signed them at a comic convention, but I was pleased to find them. "Holy Moley!"

    Another oddity I have is a two-volume set of Brian Rust's American Dance Band Discography 1917-1942, which isn't signed by Rust -- but was the personal copy of the noted jazz historian Richard Sudhalter, and is copiously annotated with his own notes and observations about various records listed.
     
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  8. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    That is great stuff, Lizzie. I like them all...from the obscure to the famous.

    I particularly enjoy books either by more controversial authors or about controversial subjects. I picked up a signed copy of 'Crazytown' today. That was an expose by investigative journalist Robin Doolittle of our last, and happily gone, mayor, Rob Ford.

    I also picked up three signed 'Marv' books. These were put out each year by the artist Marv Newland. They basically consist of dabbles and drawings from his sketchbooks. Newland was the animator who created the short, 'Bambi Meets Godzilla'. In the 1997 copy, he actually jotted a little cartoon with his signature.
     
  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Re Lizzie's post, how come they haven't made a new Shazam movie amidst the blizzard of superhero blockbusters of recent years - where it seemed no comic-book hero was too obscure to get a movie? Or did they and unaware me missed it?
     
  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There's been talk about it for years, but nothing's ever come together. The character has been so mutilated over the past couple of decades from what he was originally, that I don't know if it would even be recognizable if they did make one.

    The think I liked most about the '70s comics was that they heavily reprinted Captain Marvel stories from the forties and early fifties, many of which were filled with very subtle social satire, and Beck's art style perfectly matched this mood. It was also completely lacking in any sort of nihilistic cynicism, which would make a movie for today's audience a tough sell.
     
  11. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I have quite a few signed bits. In terms of books, I have signed editions by Leonard Nimoy, Tom Baker, Terry Pratchett, Reggie Kray, Colin Bateman, Tommy Ramone, Nick Cave, and a few others. Couple of small run memoirs by folks who lived through the occupation of the Channel Islands. Bill Henkin's 1979 book on Rocky Horror, signed by many of the original cast. All my other signed bits are programmes, concert tickets, and photos (the Ramones, Tim Curry and other Rocky Horror folks, Dick Dale, Johnny Rotten, Debbie Harry...).
     
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  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    ^^^"nihilistic cynicism," could not agree more that it describes the underlying philosophy of many of today's TV shows, movies and comic books. As an example, "Family Guy," a show I admit on the right day I can enjoy (Stewie and Brian have their moments), is basically just that: everything anyone could possibly consider moral, a value, a position worth defending for its goodness, its uplifting message, its positive view is mocked, undermined or dismissed.

    I have no issue with some shows having a nihilistic cynicism as their guidepost as some people are nihilistic cynics, but it is this viewpoint's dominant position in entertainment that is corrosive. While some argue that entertainment simply reflects society, I think it is a two-way flow where the pervasiveness of that view in entertainment creates an acceptance and acceleration of it in society.

    I enjoy Tarantino films - nihilistic cynicism is lurking beneath (and, quite often, popping up through) the surface of those movies, but I also enjoy movies where positive values produce good results: "Call the Midwife," "Begin Again," and "The Hundred-Foot Journey" are reasonably decent examples of this (and all are very small niche shows / movies). I'm all for all ideas and values, all viewpoints and philosophies being out there, I am just dispirited by the forceful dominance of nihilistic cynicism in our main-stream entertainment today as I believe it is both planned and corrosive to society.

    I am agnostic myself, but greatly enjoy "Going My Way," as I can appreciate the uplifting message and positive, life-affirming view of Christianity presented in that movie regardless of my own religious view. You know that movie couldn't be made today - outside of , maybe, as a Hallmark Special - as our society has become / been made too cynical to accept its straightforward sincerity.
     
  13. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I think a nihilistic society is a society that's basically given up -- if there's nothing worth believing in, why bother to believe in anything? Everybody's a crook, everybody's got an angle, you can't rely on anybody for anything, so the hell with everybody and everything everywhere. The fifties conceived it, the sixties carried it to term, the seventies delivered it, the eighties nurtured it, and the nineties made it a way of life.
     
  14. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I agree with your definition (well said and without a lot of intellectual mumbo jumbo) and on my worst days agree that we are there or almost there - but on my best days, I believe the ship can still be turned around before going over the falls. I'd have to think a lot more about your sequence of events before agreeing or disagreeing with them.
     
  15. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    @LizzieMaine

    Aaah, that's, why this appeared in "The Big Lebowksi" in the 90's!
     
  16. vintage.vendeuse

    vintage.vendeuse A-List Customer

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    For American car buffs (or "Back to the Future" fans):
    My father was a design engineer at American Motors Corporation, which was bought by Chrysler in 1987. Dad was one of the lucky ones to be kept on by Chrysler and worked for them until his retirement in the late 1990s.
    Anyway, Dad often brought work home with him and I remember him sitting at the kitchen table late at night doing whatever it is that engineers do (I'm clueless, I went into the medical field). There were always some manuals stacked on Dad's kitchen shelf and one day I flipped through one. On the inside, at the top of the first page, was the signature "John DeLorean". I asked Dad about it and he simply passed it off with a casual comment along the lines of, "Oh, he must have been the original owner of that manual when he was at Chrysler. Manuals are often passed around and re-used for years."
    Dad might not have been impressed but I was. My brother now has the manual.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
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  17. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    The Delorean was an impressive motor that could have really revived the fortunes of a lot of Belfast folks, had John D not been more interested in blowing his money on stimulating the Columbian economy instead.... Still, Belfast's little bit of Hollywood, The Titanic aside...
     
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  18. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Doing some cleaning around the house today and have run across another sort-of-signed book -- a copy of the 1941 Sporting News Baseball Register which had formerly been owned by Cincinnati Reds executive Warren Giles. He always had a reputation as a pinchpenny type of guy, and this is borne out from the inscription on the cover -- "STOLEN FROM CROSLEY FIELD PRESS BOX." I guess when you're one of the big shots you can get away with that sort of thing.

    Giles later went on to become the longtime president of the National League. Wonder what else he swiped.
     
  19. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    ^^^ Stealing small items form work - books, office supplies, etc. - is something I've witnessed my entire career with confusion. People whom I believe would never steal from a store or someone else's house, feel perfectly justified or only mildly guilty (if confronted) with stealing relatively small things from work. Maybe the justification is something like "I don't get paid fairly," or "its such a big, rich company it won't matter," but even those making the argument probably know they are just kidding themselves.

    Now what I love about the above is the brazenness of announcing the crime. I'm not condoning the thievery, but applauding the style - like Cary Grant in to catch a thief.
     
  20. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    Well, it's pretty nippy here and it's snowing so I think I'll post a few more books.

    This one was written by Ben Johnson. He's the Canadian runner who broke the world record for the 100 metres at the Seoul Olympics. He ran it in 9.79 seconds. Cheers and excitement all around...until he failed the doping test. He's one of the earlier doping scandals...before Lance Armstrong. He and his trainer finally admitted to steroid use. He was temporarily banned and when he returned, he was caught again and permanently banned. Not a terribly bright fellow.

    I was going to pass on this book until I noticed what he put under his signature...."100 m, 9.79". Gads! This book was printed in 2010 by a vanity press. The man had the temerity to still be boasting about his bogus achievement! The book's a monument not only to vanity but to a bizarre sense of false achievement. I picked it up to go with other disgraced or disreputable writers in my collection.

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    (I may only post the one...my internet is having a case of the heebee-jeebees. Guess it can't take a little snow!)
     

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