Monday, April 24, 2017

Simply Delightful

I had a marvelous time at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair on Saturday. Yes, it really looks like this!


Beyond the gorgeous setting, there's the free parking and the contagious excitement of the other folks hurrying inside with dreams of long-sought treasures spinning in their heads.


The dealers were eager to talk about their wares, and to bargain a little.

There were some first edition treasures far out of my price range--and it's always fun to see those, even while keeping my wallet securely closed.



I did crack my wallet for this upgrade, however. My hardback copy lacked a dust jacket, and I'm very glad I took the plunge here. This is $20 well spent.


The dealer showed me a first edition with a nearly identical dust jacket for substantially more ($450). I was happy to settle for the later edition. It's really in excellent condition and the only difference is that the first edition doesn't have the publisher's name on the spine.


Now I plan to read my jacket-less copy and move it along, replacing it with my new prize.

I resisted the temptation to buy a first edition of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. While I like to have first editions of the Man Booker winners, I'm not committed to that when the price gets too high. The Rushdie was $60 and as I didn't particularly care for it (my review is here, if you're interested), I decided to pass. No regrets, so far. The hunt for a suitable hard copy goes on.

The most interesting item I saw was an original unpublished manuscript, written in pencil by Sylvia Plath when she was 13 years old. It was wonderful to see, even while I could hear the dealer describing it to another bibliophile as "very dark."



Maybe Plath looked about like this when she wrote it. Her adolescent handwriting spoke straight to my heart. Such a talent. Such a struggle.

Sylvia Plath
Photo credit: Rollie McKenna

In contrast to my self-restraint, however, somebody must have been spending some bucks. The organizers had helpfully provided an ATM right on the premises, and by 11:30 a.m. it was already out of money.

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