Since I got to work at 5 in the morning, and I had a project I wanted to get done, I put in an 11 hour day. Went home and had enough time for a shower and a short nap before I headed out to the California Canteen for Monica's Birthday. Had a good time chewing the fat and the pasta with friends. There was enough food there for about 50 people. Monica tried to demand that everyone take some home with them, but most of us begged off. I expect Tapani and Monica are set for their next 20 meals. Came home and eventually had a slug of the Bacardi 1873 Solera rum that my boss gave me for a housewarming present. The stupid bottle has one of those weird plastic neck stoppers with a little marble in it. Damn fuckers don't pour well until there's enough air in the bottle. There must be some suave trick to getting the booze out, but I don't know what it is. I wound up sucking on the bottle to get enough vacuum to make it flow. I hope the neighbors were watching.
This morning, I called Becca in Pennsylvania. Her plane was prevented from landing for about an hour because of the weather, and they nearly had to land at BWI or Dulles, but fortunately that didn't happen. I guess she has survived being with her relatives so far. The cat and I have been trying to console each other over her absence.
Later this morning, I went off to the LA International Antiquarian Bookfair. Holy Motherfucking Christ was there a lot of awesome stuff there! The success of LotR in the theaters was enough to bring out all the Tolkien that the bookdealers had. And since these were Antiquarian Booksellers, there was unbelievable stuff there. I probably saw 20 first editions of the Hobbit. Several sets of the first edition of LotR. But it gets better. What could be better than a copy of the Hobbit inscribed "To Aunt Florence, with love from Ronald"? Why, the presentation copy of Farmer Giles of Ham that Tolkien gave to his wife, of course. Or maybe the little pamphlet from 1923 that has "The Man in the Moon Came Down too Soon" in it, long before Tolkien ever put it in the mouth of Frodo Baggins at the Prancing Pony. There were a few letters as well. The weird thing is that his handwriting looks like Elvish, though I suppose the truth of the matter is that Elvish looks like his handwriting. It's quite distinctive.
It looks like the Peter Jackson-can-do-no-wrong meme was in full swing. I saw a first of King Kong (with beautiful jacket art) with $13.500 scratched out, and $29,000 written in its place.
What else caught my eye...
A first of Galileo's Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems and the later Latin edition. And Newton's Principia Mathematica. And his Optics. There was a whole case full of Newton and Hooke and Pascal and Leibniz and Halley. The vendor had to caution me to stop drooling on the display case. MMMMmmmmm..... physics.....
An absolutely gorgeous 1930's German reprint of Vesalius using the original woodcuts to print the illustrations.
Okay, enough of the science. I also drooled over...
A copy of a 1928 Weird Tales, signed by an author who had placed his very first short story in it: Thomas Williams, better known to the world as Tennessee Williams.
A couple battered copies of Dracula... roughly $25K
A first of Alice in Wonderland (a beautiful book) 7500 quid.
The Big Sleep $16.5K
Asimov's Foundation $3K
And would you believe that a signed first of Sword of Shannara is worth $1000? No, me neither.
There was a fair amount of Aleister Crowley, too. I spotted two beautiful copies of Moonchild, and a first of the Book of the Law for a measly 750 quid.
As for Lovecraft and Arkham House, I saw several overpriced things. This made me happy if I already had it, and sad if I didn't. There was a nice copy of Shadow Over Innsmouth, but without the dust jacket, for $1500.
There were three copies of Beyond the Wall of Sleep, the second Lovecraft book printed by Arkham House. One was Clark Ashton Smith's personal copy. I, um, bought one of the other two, after talking the dealer into giving me a dealer price on it. I console myself with the fact that it cost less than a mortgage payment.
I better win a lot of money at poker tonight.