Monday, 25 February 2008

Booker Prize - The First Chapter Series

The Booker Prize is one of my particular interests as a collector, and I have managed to build up a complete collection of the winning / shortlisted novels. An interesting addition to a collection is the series of books being published by The Oak Tree Press which includes the first chapter of one of the Booker Prize winning novels in a limited edition signed by the author and featuring specially commissioned original artwork. For some of the books, the artwork is also available separately. The First Chapter Series was launched in 2006 and so far has featured five books, with a sixth to follow in the next few months. The profits of the series are used to support of children living with HIV/AIDS. The books and the artwork are produced to a very high standard and the whole initiative is strongly recommended.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Book of the week - Joe Dunthorne, Submarine

Its been a very busy week for Trapnel, so little time to think about books (unfortunately). However, better late than never I bring you my Book of the Week. Joe Dunthorne is young, Welsh, and a poet. Submarine (Hamish Hamilton) is his first novel. It is funny, offensive (to some), and has attracted very strong reviews. You can listen to the author read the first chapter. Buy it now (signed and dated, target price around £20).

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Book of the week - Paul Waters, Of Merchants & Heroes

This is Paul Waters first novel, and is the first in a projected series. He is described as well-travelled classicist, and the book addresses serious themes. There have been some very positive notices, and it looks like an interesting read. I will post a review in due course, but in the meantime now is the time to pick up your signed and dated copy at list price. "A consuming story of love, loss and redemption set in the classical world of Rome and Greece, Of Merchants and Heroes is the story of a young man's pursuit of his father's murderer and of the values and qualities he develops. At the end of the third century BC, as Republican Rome's long war with Carthage was at last drawing to a close, it was already threatened by a new enemy, Philip, the tyrant King of Macedon in the east...Into this turbulent world emerges our Roman hero, Marcus, whose father is brutally murdered by pirates on a journey from Italy to Corfu on a visit to his uncle. Fate takes him to some of the great cities of the Greco-Roman world at a time of major turbulence, where he learns much and finds love unexpectedly. The book addresses political and philosophical questions that are timeless - democracy and tyranny, war and self-defence, right and duty as well as questions of love, loyalty and betrayal."

Thursday, 7 February 2008

An opportunity - Philip Pullman limited edition

There will be a limited edition (1500 copies, slipcased) of a short book by Philip Pullman, Once Upon a time in the North. For a full listing of Pullman limited editions please see my full bibliography. The format of the book will be very similar to Lyra's oxford, but it will be blue in colour, and will include a few extras. You can pre-order a copy of the limited edition via Hatchards website (update - March 27/3/8 Book is no longer available). This is not a major work by Pullman (The Book of Dust is on the way), but Pullman is a major author who will be in the same league as Tolkein or Lewis from a collecting perspective in years to come. "When Lyra is studying at Oxford University, she comes across the story of Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnisson's first meeting, many years ago, along with much evidence of the adventure that brought them together. When a young Texan balloonist, Lee Scoresby, comes down to earth in the harbour of an Arctic town in the North, little does he realise that he is about to be embroiled in an out-and-out political brawl. Lee and his daemon, Hester, find themselves the target of political factions trying to take over the running (and oil) of the town. And also resident in the town are huge arctic bears, ignored and patronised by the people and treated like second-class citizens. When Lee and Iorek first meet, they cement a friendship that will continue throughout their lives, as the tensions and pressure in town lead to a deadly conclusion."

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Book of the week and Bibliography - Benjamin Markovits, A Quiet Adjustment

A Quiet Adjustment is the fifth novel of Benjamin Markovits, a California-born author now living in London, and is the second in a trilogy about Byron. Markovits writes elegant literary and historical fiction. All of his books have been well-reviewed and it seems only a matter of time until he has a breakthrough book. Signed copies are not common, but now is the time to be looking out for firsts of the early books.

A Quiet Adjustment (Byron volume 2; Faber, 2008)
Playing Days (Faber, paperback, 2010)
Childish Loves (Faber, Hardcover.  Byron volume 3; 2011)