Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2008 Issue

Sex, Knitting and Helicopters: The BookFinder Top 10 for 2007


Once a Runner tops BookFinder's list as the most sought-after book of 2007.

By Michael Stillman

BookFinder.com has released its list of the top 10 most sought-after old books of 2007. Making the BookFinder list requires a combination of being both highly desired and hard to find. This will not be a list like the New York Times bestsellers, but as Anirvan Chatterjee points out, 98%-99% of all books ever published are now out of print. So the Times covers about 1%, and BookFinder the rest.

BookFinder notes that "sports, knitting and sex" top this year's list. I understand… except, what is knitting doing in there? Actually, you can add romance, children's books, a mass murderer and helicopters to that. What is the connection between these? Who knows. Maybe those with mayhem on their minds combine mass murder with knitting needles. Perhaps members of the mile-high club buy books about sex and helicopters. Whatever the explanation, here is the list of the top 10 most searched books on the largest book searching site on the web.

10. Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell, a novel concerning the spiritual journey of Luke.

9. One Way Up by John F. Straubel, a history of helicopters that climbs from #10 last year.

8. Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore describes a knitting technique named for the Aran islands off the Irish coast.

7. Raven: The Untold Story of the Reverend Jim Jones and his People by Tim Reiterman recalls the mass murderer who forever changed Kool Aid from meaning poison figuratively to poison literally.

6. The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, yet another book about this fascinating subject. Number 6 again this year.

5. The Lion's Paw by Robb White, a children's classic that moves up from #7 last year.

4. Promise Me Tomorrow, one of the countless romance novels of Nora Roberts, but one she refuses to reprint.

3. Sex by Madonna, last year's #1, rides that fine line between art and pornography. People buy it for one, but say they buy if for the other.

2. Football Scouting Methods by the son of the New England Patriots' fabulously successful coach Bill Belichick. Steve Belichick's playbook is again #2 this year. I wonder if it includes advice on videotaping your opponents' signals?

1. Once a Runner by John L. Parker, a book highly respected by those dedicated to this most demanding of sports. Last year's #9 crosses the finish line #1.

Slipping out of the top 10 this year was the autobiography of singer Johnny Cash, a poetry collection from Three's Company star Suzanne Sommers, recipes by horror film actor Vincent Price and his wife, and an old self-help book by James Mangan.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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