Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2007 Issue

Modern Literature from Ken Lopez Bookseller

Lopez143

Modern Literature from Ken Lopez.


By Michael Stillman

This month we review our first catalogue from Ken Lopez Bookseller, of Hadley, Massachusetts. If you are looking to find Hadley, think of Springfield, not Boston. This is Lopez' catalogue number 143, and the title is Modern Literature. With a few small exceptions, this describes just about everything in the catalogue. If that describes your field of collecting, and for the most part, these are either first editions or earlier proof copies, you will undoubtedly appreciate what is offered. Condition is also an evident specialty of Lopez as most of what you will find herein is approaching fine. Here are some examples of what Lopez has waiting.

One of the most often found names in a collection of 20th century American literature is that of F. Scott Fitzgerald. "The Great Gatsby" or some other of his works is almost sure to be found. But, what about his wife, the "flapper" Zelda Fitzgerald? Not so likely. Zelda was a personality to match or exceed her husband's, yet she has but one novel to her credit. Item 121 is a copy of that book, Save Me The Waltz, an autobiographical novel published in 1932. Zelda, like Scott, drank way too much and engaged in an up and down romance and marriage with her husband. In time, it took its toll. A creative person like Scott, she must have felt stifled in her husband's shadow. After all, she was a writer, artist, and dancer. In 1930, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and spent the remaining 18 years of her life suffering mental problems, in and out of institutions (she died at age 48 in a fire at the last mental institution in which she resided). For a couple of fun people, Zelda and Scott led terribly tragic lives. Zelda's first edition is priced at $3,500.

Here is a book that ties together two of today's most popular television personalities. The book is An Altogether New Book of Top Ten Lists, by, naturally enough, David Letterman. It was his second book, published in 1991 while still on very late night TV. This copy is inscribed to Larry King and his wife number 5 (of 6) Julie. "Hope you two have the energy to finish this!!" pens the not-so-subtle Letterman. Most likely, he was not referring to their marriage. Item 186. $250.

Here is a book you probably remember more for the movie -- Forrest Gump by Winston Groom. Tom Hanks doesn't appear in the book, but Forrest is still the same dimwitted hero who manages to reach great heights for someone of such limited intellect. Item 144 is a very uncommon advance proof of this book, one that was printed up specifically for Doubleday's sales force. A letter enclosed with it from an associate editor reads, "I had the plant make up enough copies of these so that we could get one into each of your hands before conference." Their sales staff probably only included a dozen or fewer people. $375.

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