Prime Ministers as Writers
The death of Margaret Thatcher on Monday gave us pause. No matter what your politics we must all must recognize as an astounding feat her historic role as the first, and only, woman to serve as Prime Minister of Great Britain. I always admired her determination and resolve. Mrs. Thatcher’s death also got me thinking bout the role of political biography. Here in the United States it seems as though everyone now writes a political memoir or biography as a way of “unofficially” launching a Presidential campagin. Within weeks of the memoirs are stacked like cordwood on remainder and sales shelves in bookstores across the country. It used to be that politicians only wrote their memoirs in retirement, as did Mrs. Thatcher. A few years after leaving Downing Street, she publisher a two volume memoir, The Downing Street Years and The Path to Power detailing her role as Prime Minister and her early life as the daughter of a grocer in Grantham, Lincolnshire.
One can’t think about the role of Prime Minister in Great Britain without thinking of Winston Churchill. Churchill began his career as a writer, moved into politics, but never stopped writing. Although we have nothing at the moment signed by Mrs. Thatcher, we do have a set of Chruchill’s monumental (and some will say self-serving) six-volume history of the Second World War signed by him on the first page of Volume 5. Despite his prolific pen, signed items by Churchill are rarer than you might think.
If you are interested in purchasing The Second World War, simply click on the image and order from our website, reply to this e-mail, or give us a call at 207.734.6852.
Churchill, Winston S.
The Second World War (6 Volumes).
New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Hard Cover. Book Club (BCE/BOMC). Signed by Author. Complete 6 volume Second World War Series, Churchill’s magnum opus and the basis for his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. The following titles in the series: The Gathering Storm (1948), Their Finest Hour (1949), The Grand Alliance (1951), The Hinge of Fate (1950), Closing the Ring (1951), Triumph and Tragedy, (1953). Corners bumped on each volume, minor sunning to spine of each. Light chipping and wear to each dust jacket, all in mylar covers. These are Book Club, BOMC editions, signed by Churchill in black in on the first free endpaper of Volume 5, “Closing the Ring”. Volume 3 & 4 have light red staining on rear panel of dust jacket. Photographs gladly provided. (#21928) Price: $2,000
Join Us at the Boston Book Fair
In the whirlwind of summer and purchase negotiations for our new building at 111 Derby Road we forgot to tell you some other great news.
In August, after a lengthy application and interview process, we were approved for membership in the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) by its Board of Governors and also granted membership in the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). This is a feather in our cap as we expand our rare book business. It has been something we have been aspiring to for some time and it finally came to fruition. The ABAA has slightly over 450 members nationwide.
In addition to allowing us to interact with a whole new set of colleagues, it also gives us the opportunity to attend three ABAA sponsored book fairs in the course of a year: the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair, and the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. We’re gong to start with the ones we can drive to, Boston (this weekend) and New York (mid-April 2012).
If you are in the Boston area, please come to the show at the Hynes Convention Center and track us down (Booth 514). The show opens Friday, November 11 at 5 p.m.; Saturday, November 12 Noon-7 p.m.; and Sunday, November 13 from Noon to 5 p.m. For more details and directions, check out the Boston Book Fair website at www.bostonbookfair.com. We have a few complimentary tickets left, please contact us if you would like one.
Craig & Melissa Olson
Sister Parish: American Style
She was a legend when she was alive…she is still a legend. Two weeks from today will see the release of a major book on American decorator Sister Parish. Near and dear to our hearts here on the island, we often forget her impact on American decorating and decorators that continues to this day.
Sister Parish: American Style by Martin Wood releases November 8th and will be a landmark study of Sister Parish and her work before her partnership with Albert Hadley and up to her death in 1994. Despite high profile jobs like her work in the early 1960s for Jacqueline Kennedy in decorating portions of the White House, Sister Parish was best know for her development of what is now known as “American Country Style.” I can assure you that the book will be well researched and lavishly illustrated; we have a hard time keeping Wood’s previous biographies of Nancy Lancaster, John Fowler, Gertrude Jekyll and Laura Ashley on the shelves. I can’t wait to learn his take on Sister and her place in the world of interior decorating.
Although I never knew Sister Parish, the stories I have heard over the years from family members, friends, and those who worked for her the one takeaway I always get is that she was a force to be reckoned with. E-mail or call and we will reserve your copies and do our best to have them to you that day. It will make a fabulous Christmas gift.
You know Sister would want you to have a copy or two. Let’s not disappoint her!
Lily Tuck’s Latest
I Married You for Happiness
What a busy summer!
We have known for some time that our own National Book Award Winner, Lily Tuck’s latest novel, I Married You for Happiness, would be released in early September.
Wouldn’t you know, just as Lily was leaving the island for the launch of her book in New York, and to get ahead of Hurricane Irene, our copies arrived. We didn’t have time for Lily to sign copies, but please do call or e-mail and order a copy and help support one of our treasured island writers!
In its starred review, Publisher’s Weekly said, “A breathlessly mannered, affecting new work… Small, vital snapshots make up two lives closely shared, and beautifully portrayed in this triumph of a novel.”
If you are interested in a copy, click on the dust jacket above. It makes a wonderful gift.
What Would Emily Post Do?
I don’t know about you, but I really never thought of Emily Post as a person, but as a brand.
When I began to learn more about her as a person, I naturally assumed she came from an upper class family and decided, in her free time, to instruct us all on what was proper. Well, almost.
Emily Post was born of an upper class family and married into an even higher class family. At that point, my assumption fell short. Post went through a scandalous divorce that was splashed across the front pages of the New York papers. That trauma forged the Emily Post we came to know through her instruction in manners. But between society marriage and etiquette she also wrote a number of novels and interacted with the likes of Edith Wharton and Mark Twain. Then, in 1922, at the age of fifty, she published Etiquette.
Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners is a masterful exploration of the life and impact of Emily Post on American manners. Laura Claridge’s earlier biography of Norman Rockwell was ground breaking in revealing an American icon and the successes and heartaches that the public never knew. She does the same with Emily Post.
If you are interested in a copy, click on the dust jacket above. It makes a wonderful gift.
Andy Goldsworthy: Spectacular Art
I can’t say this about many artists, but Andy Goldsworthy rocks my world!
I don’t remember when I first came across Goldsworthy’s work. I think it was when our friends Mark West and Nada Subotincic lent us a copy of the DVD Rivers and Tides, a fascinating documentary about Goldsworthy, his work, and his process of creation. His art can be large: rock walls that wind through trees, over hills, and through a river; interior pieces like a wall fashioned out of mud with human hair from the barber shop in his village in Scotland as the binder. Whatever the result, it is fascinating, disarmingly simple, and quite elegant.
But what captivates me most is his walls. In addition to being a dairy farmer, my father was a bricklayer. Much of my early life was spent “laboring” for him: hauling brick and block, mixing mortar, and striking joints. It wasn’t until graduate school in upstate New York that I discovered dry stone walls. I fell in love. I think if I weren’t so enamored with books and the business of bookselling I would be a dry stone waller. Could I ever achieve what Goldsworthy does? I doubt it. In this book, Enclosure, the focus is on the many projects Goldsworthy has completed that entail stone walls, barriers that integrate found objects like tree limbs and wool from the sheep enclosed in those walls and other found objects. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until you see the giant snowballs he places in central London during the summer. The photography is stunning and his ingenuity is simply breathtaking.
So, if you have someone on your holiday list that appreciates the visual, revels in landscapes, and appreciates any well designed object, Enclosure is a perfect gift. To order your copy click on the book cover or reply to this e-mail and we’ll be sure send you a copy. If you are giving as a gift, we are happy to wrap and ship directly to the recipient with gift card enclosed. As always, shipping in the United States is free.
Maisie Houghton’s “Pitch Uncertain”
Last week I told you about Deborah Mitford’s new book. Fast on the heels of that e-letter, I received a note from Maisie Houghton thanking me for bringing the book to her attention, with a slight aside, “I’m not in the league with Duchesses but my coming-of-age story is out this week…” I immediately ordered a box. The books arrived on Friday and I can say that Pitch Uncertain: A Mid-Century Middle Daughter Finds Her Voice gives the Duchess of Devonshire a serious run for her money.
“Pitch Uncertain is a beautifully drawn account of Maisie Houghton’s struggle to find her own voice as the middle child of two parents whose marriage and lives she slowly decoded as she came of age in the 1950s. Growing up in the gentle ambiance of Cambridge, Massachusetts, spending full summers in Dark Harbor, Maine, and regularly visiting her relatives in the socially polished reaches of greater New York, Maisie and her two sisters had the makings of an ideal childhood. But their parents were an enigma.
One of five sisters, Maisie’s mother Sybil Jay was the “gentle doe” of an accomplished New York family that had morphed over the twentieth century into a resilient matriarchy. Charming and independent, Maisie’s father, Frankie Kinnicutt, was the handsome, fun loving son of stolid New Yorkers whose emotional reserve and perfectly decorated residences were a stiff contrast to the liveliness of the Jay household. As parents, Sybil was diligent, caring and attentive—an anchor for the family, while Frankie was independent, playful, curious and remote—more sail than anchor. With a novelist’s sense of moment, Maisie explores her individually appealing parents and their estranged but oddly loyal relationship. Pitch Uncertain portrays an era and a genteel culture as much as it deciphers a marriage.” - - TidePool Press
This is the perfect gift for the holidays from a wonderful writer and woman who has given so much to those around her. To order your copy click on the book cover or reply to this e-mail and we’ll be sure send you a copy. If you are giving as a gift, we are happy to wrap and ship directly to the recipient with gift card enclosed. As always, shipping in the United States is free.
Wait For Me!
She was born Deborah Mitford, the seventh child of Lord and Lady Redesdale. The Redesdales were an eccentric bunch and the children were raised in rural England without much interaction with other children. Schooled at home, they went on to become writers like Diana and Jessica; somewhat infamous like Unity who was close to Adolf Hitler; and Diana Mosley who married Sir Oswald Mosley, the head of the British Union of Fascists. They all warrant books of their own.
But this is by and about Debo, as she has been known for much of her ninety years. Despite her eccentric family, Deborah Mitford fell in love with Andrew Cavendish, the second son of the Duke of Devonshire and looked forward to a life in the countryside. Everything changed when Andrew’s older brother was killed in World War II and Andrew was now in line to inherit the Duke’s vast holdings. His father did not have the appropriate succession plan in place when he died. Suddenly the Devonshires were faced with an 80% inheritance tax under English Law. Needless to say, they succeeded at saving a portion of their holdings, the centerpiece being Chatsworth, the family seat. Chatsworth is now one of the top tourist destinations in England that earns its own keep through tours, gift shops, and organic farms. This is just one story in a fascinating life that has been intertwined with writers, photographers, artists, the Kennedys, and Elvis Presley. It truly is one of those stories you simply couldn’t make up!
Wait for Me! is an fascinating look at the life Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire, a woman who has lived a life she never planned on with great enthusiasm and resilience. This book is a great read with a story that can’t help but engage almost any reader. To order your copy click on the book cover or reply to this e-mail and we’ll be sure you get a copy ASAP. As always, shipping in the United State is free.
You Never Know What Might Come Through the Door
I was standing in the shop the other day when a longtime customer walked through the door clutching a small plastic bag. She slowly unwrapped the bag and pulled out Grantland Rice’s memoir, The Tumult and the Shouting. It was a nice book, but not exactly significant until she opened it to the first page. Grantland Rice was a sportswriter and one of the top writers and broadcasters of his day until his death in 1954. Rice, also known as “Granny”, wrote about a variety of sports, and his prose was almost heroic in his elevation of sports figures to god-like figures. As the old adage goes, never judge a book by its cover.
Once my customer opened the book to the first page it was revealed that it had been signed by twelve celebrity and sports heroes in 1953, including World Heavyweight Boxing Champions Jacke Dempsey and Gene Tunney, five time Olympic Gold Medal Winner and actor Johnny Weismuller, Rube Goldberg (with a small illustration), cartoonist and inventor; John Kiernan, sportswriter; Frank Hogan, New York District Attorney from 1941-1973, known as “Mr. Integrity”; Herman Hickman, Yale University football coach, sportswriter and broadcaster; Chick Evans, professional golfer; and three we are having a hard time deciphering. We believe that it may have been a presentation copy to Rice.
There are additional photographs of the book and the signature on our website. To see them or purchase this one-of-a-kind opportunity, just click on either picture to the right.
My customer had been weeding out her shelves and stumbled across this volume she had forgotten that they owned. Not bad for a little spring cleaning. What might be lurking on your shelves? Give us a call!
Good Maine Food!
The talent on our little island never ceases to amaze me: our friend and colleague Sandy Oliver has done it again!
Back in 1939 Maine novelist Kenneth Roberts’ niece, Marjorie Mosser published Good Maine Food with encouragement with her uncle. Reprints and updates followed in 1947, 1957, and 1974.
Fast forward to 2010 and Sandy Oliver, food historian, farmer, and contra dancer steps in to bring her knowledge of Maine food and Maine history to the updated version. In addition to her foreword, Sandy has also updated the recipes for the modern kitchen. It is a gorgeous, well-designed book that is the perfect gift for anyone with a connection to Maine.
We have a number of copies of Good Maine Food in stock, signed by Sandy, and we can easily have them inscribed to you or as a gift to someone else. If you are interested, click on the book photo and order directly through our web site. You can also reply to this e-mail and tell us how many you would like. As always, media mail shipping in the United States is free!