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Nabokov's Butterfly: And Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books (2006)

by Rick Gekoski

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360750,582 (3.71)9
In Tolkien's Gown, a book based loosely on that hugely successful radio series, Rick Gekoski discusses twenty great works of modern literature as both texts and objects. At once erudite and funny, the essays give a publishing biography of each book, together with comments about the author's involvement with first editions of the works. 'What is the value of a book?' he asks. The answers are both critical and financial, involving appraisals of the literary qualities of the works, together with an account of their (sometimes surprising) value in the rare book trade. His stories are fascinating and diverse, and involve memorable encounters with, among others, Graham Greene, William Golding, J.D. Salinger, Ted Hughes, Salman Rushdie, Julian Barnes and Harold Pinter. Relations between book dealers and authors can be uneasy: J.D. Salinger threatens a law suit, William Golding produces a parody of the author, Ted Hughes thinks he has been overcharged. While Graham Greene is simply delighted to have done business. For anyone who loves books,Tolkien's Gown offers a wealth of amusement and instruction, and enough literary anecdotes to last a lifetime.… (more)

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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
You'd have to be a rare-book collecting nerd like me to thoroughly enjoy this book. Even still, the author does a very good job detailing some of the world's biggest rare-book deals -- most of which he conveniently was involved with one way or another. You'll learn about rare editions of: Lolita, The Hobbit, Lord of the Flies, The Pictures of Dorian Gray, [b:On the Road|6288|The Road|Cormac McCarthy|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21E8H3D1JSL._SL75_.jpg|3355573], Ulysses, Sons and Lovers, The Catcher in the Rye, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The Colossus, A Confederacy of Dunces, Animal Farm, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Here was all the good stuff that was missing from his later book, "Outside of a Dog." Neither book describes how he moved from being a college professor to a top tier bookman, but at least we're hearing now some interesting anecdotes about the "story behind the book", all engagingly written. ( )
  dono421846 | Jan 12, 2016 |
Rick Gekoski has met so many wonderful authors that I’d almost think he was lying. He’s a used book dealer and his job has put him in contact with the amazing copies of the works of Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh and J. R. R. Tolkien. A nice little ride with a collector. ( )
  debnance | Jun 13, 2015 |
A delightful romp through the tales connected with ten important rare books which provides an understanding of the trade and a lot of GREAT literary anecdotes, Highly recommended. ( )
  jhhymas | Sep 11, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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