28 February, 2016

Loot of the Week 28 Feb 2016


This week's loot is a mixed pot of children fiction, lesser but nonetheless important work by JD Salinger, and the usual prize winners.

The biggest catch is AA Milne's "The House at Pooh Corner", published by Methuen in 1928 and the last of two Pooh story collections. This book, which introduces Tigger for the first time and ends with Christopher Robin and Pooh going away, is illustrated by E.H. Shepard whose original depiction of Pooh is without the now characteristic red tee-shirt. The first book is "Winnie the Pooh", published in 1926, so that makes Pooh 90 years old this year. Some collectors trace back Pooh's genesis to Milne's 1924 verse book, "When We Were Very Young", as Mr Edward Bear. In that light, the full Pooh collection consists of these three books plus another verse collection, "Now We Are Six".

Then there are the two lesser work of JD Salinger, that reclusive author who made famous the angsty teenager, Caufield Holden, who was dealing with his own interpretation and interaction with the adult world in "The Catcher in the Rye". The title is a reference to Robert Burn's sexually-themed poem, "Comin' Thro' the Rye", that Holden initially misinterpreted as a guardian of callow innocence. What we have here are Salinger's story collections. The works in "Franny and Zooey" were originally published in The New Yorker and then published in this book form by Little, Brown in 1961. "Raise High the Roof Beam" had a similar publication history and first appeared in book form in 1963. In his lifetime, Salinger would publish only one more book, another story collection in 1953 simply titled "Nine Stories" that include the famed short story, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish". Salinger's final published work was "Hapworth 16, 1924", in the June 19, 1965 issue of The New Yorker, to negative reviews. There was a rumour that Salinger wrote a few more books and he gave specific instructions for their schedule of publication after he passed on. Salinger died in 2010, and the rumour was that the first of these books would appear in 2015 but that did not happen.

Then there are two National Book Critics Circle Award winners. The first is EL Doctorow's "Ragtime" published in 1975 by Random House, and the second is Earnest Gaines' "A Lesson Before Dying" published in 1993 by Knopf. Finally there is Anthony Doerr's Pultizer winner, "All the Light We Cannot See", published in 2014 by Knopf.

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