Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2013 Issue

The Bookman's Tale:  fiction and then again not

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Charlie Lovett's The Bookman's Tale goes on sale May 28th

When one thinks about book theft, it may seem far-fetched, but not to the experienced bibliophile. To many, books are as powerful as a narcotic. To the larger, uninitiated community, such material may appear unimportant and not valuable. When one sees something important, the question becomes, does the person with knowledge have an obligation to educate the person that doesn’t? Books have always presented a moral dilemma. Those that know can reach across, and acquire something for nothing, or even steal something they know to have extraordinary value. Where is the line? Charlie Lovett's The Bookman's Tale illustrates just how hazy that line can get as both villains and heroes are guilty of theft in this tale of greed, love, old books, and the literary world's greatest mystery.

The Bookman's Tale is two stories that eventually become one in resolution. The timelines at first are juxtaposed, one driven by greed, the other by love, but with a common denominator of books. Those who love old books and tales about them will find this story compelling.

One story is of a manuscript play said to have been the inspiration for a work by Shakespeare that, even in his day, was thought important enough to collect by the greatest English book and manuscript collector of the era, Sir Robert Cotton.  He did not keep the copy for it was stolen from him and would through generations be lost and found again.  As with so many books that once were prized, subsequent generations with less information and less interest see their prizes slip away into the hands of the always keen bookseller who, because it is apparently in their nature, offer little or nothing for what gems they detect, in fact just enough to pry them away from gullible sellers.

The second story begins in 1995, with a heart-broken American bookseller in England to find peace from the disaster of a deeply held love who has died.  Here, in pursuing his interest in rare book selling, he chances upon an image he believes to be of his now deceased wife.  That thread then securely stitched, he then by luck, happenstance, and perhaps divine intervention, begins to piece together the story of a long lost book and its potentially important place in literary history.  In so doing, he details enough misdeeds to fill out a Republican Party platform.

The story is artfully told and contains enough facts and references to make the story always shimmer with possibilities. These possibilities carry the reader forth breathlessly asserting, "this can not be true," but plunging on because the whiff of possibility demands its hearing.

Those who love books and their stories are going to enjoy this tale.  I had no time to set aside for it, but once begun, it laughed at the thought I would put it down. I could not and suspect neither will you.

My copy is a reviewer’s copy. Regular publication begins on May 28th. You can pre-order from the author and sundry sellers including Amazon.  Note the title has been used before.  The book I’m writing about is written by Charlie Lovett.  In 2009 Ronald Blythe issued a book under the same title, as did Berry Fleming in 1991.

Here is a link to Amazon.

www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bookman's%20tale&sprefix=bookman's%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abookman's%20tale


Here is a link to the author's site.

charlielovett.com/books/the-bookmans-tale/overview



Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.

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