Fiction, Film, Art, Mystery, &c. from Waverly Books
By Michael Stillman
Waverly Books does not spend a lot of time coming up with titles for their catalogues, their latest being called List 156, but they do manage to find some unusual titles to include in them. It isn't always easy to describe a Waverly catalogue, as there is quite a variety. It skews to fiction, but among the fields with several works this month are mystery, art, film, photography, baseball and hunting. Add to that works by or about many known authors and you have a broad outline of this catalogue. Now, here are a few specifics.
Item 6 is an anthology of The Best American Short Stories 1943, edited by Martha Foley. Among the names still popular today are Eudora Welty, James Thurber, John Cheever and William Faulkner. This anthology includes the first book appearance of Faulkner's short story The Bear. Priced at $125.
Move forward ten years and Waverly has another anthology, Stories of Sudden Truth, edited by Joseph Greene and Elizabeth Abell. Eudora Welty is back for another appearance, as are Arthur Miller, William Saroyan, and Truman Capote. This anthology contains the first book appearance of Capote's classic story The House of Flowers. Item 7. $150.
Item 48 is The Charlie Chaplin Book, generally regarded as the first book about Chaplin. It was published in 1916. Chaplin had burst on the scene just two years earlier, appearing in short films for Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios. The audiences fell for his "Little Tramp" character, so much so that by 1916 he was commanding a hefty salary to produce short films, and he even rated this biography. However, his best and most significant work was still ahead, first feature length movies, and later "talkies." $250.
Item 15 is what Waverly describes a "remarkable survival," a Petty Girl calendar from the year 1947. George Petty was known for his drawings of voluptuous women, depicted even better than nature intended. They especially featured extraordinarily long legs. These girls would have made fine basketball players as well as models. Unfortunately, they were products of his imagination. Nevertheless, they became products of many others' imaginations as well, particularly soldiers during the Second World War. This copy comes with its original pictorial mailing envelope. For those seeking a calendar for practical rather than artistic uses, this calendar should again be accurate to use in 2014. $200.
These images may not be quite as provocative as Petty's, but they are beautiful in their own way, and much more real. Item 104 is The Land of Little Rain, featuring the photography of Ansel Adams. The book was written by Mary Austin, who spent 15 years wandering the deserts of southern California in the late 19th century. She wrote of the land and its people, notably the native Indians of the area. Her book was originally published in 1903, but this edition, from 1950, was the first to include pictures from the famed photographer Adams. $200.
What happens when you bring a great actor and a great playwright together? You get item 94. This is a first edition from 1980 of This Life by Academy Award-winning actor Sidney Poitier. It is inscribed to a great playwright and his wife - "To Mr. & Mrs. Neil Simon with love & affection. Sidney P." $500.
Waverly Books may be reached at 310-393-4593 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is www.waverlybooks.com.