It’s a Please-Try-Not-To-Donate-Books month. This, no doubt, is why you sent me the Piglet snowglobe.
You may think it odd for me to write about what’s been coming in during a month when we don’t want donations. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you know better. People move, people clean out, and people die, all without asking my permission. And thus I can report on some of the specific items you can look forward to in July.
Because SOMEBODY out there has to be looking forward to finding the cast album from the Swedish production of My Fair Lady. They called it “My Fair Lady” in Sweden, by the way, but the liner notes are all in Swedish, so I can’t tell you much about how the production made out in the north. I do note that, unlike the Israeli My Fair Lady we had last year, this one uses different cover art than the British and American albums. I mention that just in case someone out there who isn’t necessarily collecting foreign versions of My Fair Lady MIGHT be collecting cast album cover art. It was worth a try.
In Monday’s column, I mentioned the possibility of a 70-box donation mainly composed of literature. This, when it arrived, was actually about a 120-box donation heavy on lovely old books on printing and typography and loads of literature. The donor had a standing order in England for all new books by his favorite authors, so if you collect, say, Muriel Spark, Angus Wilson, P.H. Newby, or Iris Murdoch, have I got first editions to sell you. For English mystery buffs, he had the same deal, apparently, with the books of Michael Innes. There was one bookcase which practically constituted a history of 20th century American cookbooks, and he was well supplied with the better gardening authors: one box is virtually nothing but Gertrude Jekyll.
He also had collections of Adlai Stevenson and Marcel Proust, two people I was already pretty well stocked up on, but that’s the way it goes.
A collection of books came in in wine boxes, providing us with an interesting collection of a lot of the exciting new mystery writers of the 1960s. But I was more interested in the wine boxes themselves, especially a box which used to contain a case of Mike Ditka Chardonnay. I may just put that out for sell in the Chicago section by itself.
We have Buzz Aldrin’s autograph, and Adlai Stevenson’s. (Now all I need is Marcel Proust’s signature.) We may have first editions by Charles Dickens and James Fenimore Cooper, and today I turned up a first printing of Saul Bellow’s first book. I also turned up a candid snapshot taken at a convention of magazine models, if you know what I mean. (I went to one of conventions around Chicago once, hoping to see current prices on Playboy collectibles. I saw other things as well.)
And someone gave me the most interestingly inappropriate cover art I’ve run into in months. One of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels—Frederica—has characters on the cover dressed in thoroughly Edwardian garb, which came along kind of one hundred years later. The reason they were off by a century was, we figure, because the book was published just after the release of the movie version of My Fair Lady: Frederica is as clear a rip-off of Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle as anyone could wish for.
If only it had been in Swedish!