Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2009 Issue

BookFinder's Top 10 for 2008: Do It Yourself and With Someone Else

Comanche

Romantic fiction is very popular, but wouldn't she fall off of that horse?


By Michael Stillman

BookFinder.com has released its top 10 list of the most sought after out-of-print books of 2008. BookFinder provides searches of dozens of book listing sites, so they get a good picture of what older titles people are most trying to find. The list is a varied, eclectic lot, which, come to think of it, reflects who we are.

This year's list features activities we can perform on our own, such as do-it-yourself projects, and those requiring another, such as sex and murder. Throw in some science, sport, romance and animals, and what else do we need? Nothing, except some specific recommendations, so here they are, courtesy of BookFinder.

10. The Principles of Knitting: Methods and Techniques of Hand Knitting (1989) by June Hemmons Hiatt. A knitting book in the top 10 seems surprising, but last year there were actually two in the top 10.

9. Woodworker's Essential Shop Aids and Jigs; Original Devices You Can Make (1992) by Robert Wearing. This is a useful if not exciting book.

8. Legally Sane (1972) by Jon K. Hahn with Harold C. McKenney. A look at the killing spree of a psychopathic, though "legally sane," murderer.

7. Comanche Heart (1991) by Catherine Anderson. A woman flees her windswept Texas plains home, but her Comanche warrior lover still tracks her down. This is not Shakespeare.

6. A Lion Called Christian (1972) by Anthony "Ace" Bourke and John Rendall. This book was resuscitated by the amazing YouTube video of their reunion with the pet lion in the wilds after a long separation.

5. Carpentry for Beginners: How to use tools, basic joints, workshop practice, designs for things to make (1900) by Charles H. Hayward. Some things never go out of style, as the publication date of this book attests.

4. Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record (1978) by Carl Sagan. No one ever combined the words "popular" and "science" like this man.

3. Promise Me Tomorrow (1984) by Nora Roberts. An early novel from the romance novelist who will not allow it to be reprinted as even she believes it is "mediocre."

2. Sex (1992) by Madonna. A limited (though not that limited) edition of erotic and strange photographs from an erotic and strange pop icon.

1. Once a Runner: A Novel (1978) by John L. Parker, Jr. A cult classic on how to get out of breath and very tired. This book was number 1 last year as well.

BookFinder notes that the quickest way to drop from the top 10 out-of-print list is to be reprinted, which happened to two of last year's chart toppers: The Lion's Paw, a children's adventure by Rob White, and Football Scouting Methods by Steve Belichick, father of the New England Patriots football coach. Then again, maybe the latter fell out because his boy's football team is not doing so well this year. This fates awaits three of this year's top 10 scheduled for reissue in 2009: Once a Runner, A Lion Called Christian, and Comanche Heart.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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