Loot of the Week 19 Sep 2015

I'm determined to avoid the town this weekend as it is flooded with the influx of tourists attending a major sporting event. So you can imagine the delight with which I received the timely first edition delivery this morning. What we have here are two recent publications, one of which is signed, and two classics, one of which is a signed advanced reading copy. All four arrived pristine.

Cormac McCarthy's writing career can be conveniently divided into two phases. The first was the Random House period where he wrote five tales of macabre, including his first four Appalachians ("The Orchard Keeper", "Outer Dark", "Child of God", and "Suttree") and the fifth, a morbid western in "The Blood Meridian" that is now regarded as McCarthy's best work. These books are sought after by McCarthy collectors today because they were not commercially popular when published, each selling no more than a couple thousand copies. 

Then there is the second (and current) Alfred Knopf period when, after switching publisher, accolades sales and accolades poured in for McCarthy's subsequent publication, starting with "All the Pretty Horses", a probing romantic story, that sold a few hundred thousand copies and won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. What we have here is the advanced reading copy (ARC) of "All the Pretty Horses". ARC are free copies of a to-be-published book, usually bind in paper and without dust jacket, given free to journalists and reviewers. This ARC also comes with a paper casing, and more importantly, it is officially signed by McCarthy. Signed copies of McCarthy's book are very desirable because he does not sign many.

The second classic is "The Executioner's Song", Norman Mailer's Pulitzer-winning tome on the event leading up to the execution of Gary Gilmore for murder. A project with Lawrence Schiller, whom Mailer also collaborated with to write "Marilyn:  A Biography", the "Song" is a meditation on life before death. I haven't read the book but it is supposed to be a pretty dark.

Finally, we have the two new firsts - Eli Gottlieb's "Best Boy" and Jonathan Franzen's "Purity" - that received strong reviews from the New York Times.


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