AbeBooks' Reading Copy

AbeBooks book blog

Advanced Search Browse Books Rare Books Textbooks
Advanced Search

The Ultimate Alice in Wonderland Birthday Cake

In honor of the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, AbeBooks has created a video describing how to make the ‘Ultimate Alice Birthday Cake.’

Have you made a literary cake?

Bookslut blog announces 2015 Daphne Awards shortlist

The Daphne Awards are back. Organised by the Bookslut book blog, these awards celebrate literature from 50 years ago – in this case 1965. This year’s shortlist has just been announced by Jessa Crispin who has run Bookslut for as long as I can remember. AbeBooks.com is thrilled to be a partner once again.

The fascinating thing about these awards is the role that ‘time’ plays. Does a book that was decent in the middle of the 1960s still hold up today? Jessa had a team of judges plowing through hordes of books in order to produce this year’s shortlist. The winners will be announced in early December.


An Area of Darkness by VS Naipaul

Giordano Bruno by Frances Yates

Shadow and Act by Ralph Ellison

A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir

Bastard by Violette Leduc



Arrow of God by Chinua AchebeThe Ravishing of Lol Stein

The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy

The Ravishing of Lol Stein by Marguerite Duras

Albert Angelo by BS Johnson

The Passion According to GH by Clarice Lispector

Short Friday by Isaac Bashevis Singer


PoetryLanguage by Jack Spicer

77 Dream Songs by John Berryman

The Sonnets by Ted Berrigan

Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara

O Taste & See by Denise Levertov

Language by Jack Spicer

The Dead Lecturer Poems by LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka

Cameron’s Used Books & Magazines is a treasure trove of nostalgia

IMG_8116 - Version 2

At first glance, Cameron’s Used Books & Magazine doesn’t seem all that different from any other used bookstore. Row upon row of well-loved paperbacks and hardcovers fill towering shelves and spill onto the floor, and customers quietly scan spines for their next great read. So when owner Jeffery Frase invited me to browse beyond the ‘Employees Only’ sign, I didn’t expect to discover a treasure trove of pristine magazines dating back decades and decades. Snapshots of a time long since passed, issues of Life, Time, National Geographic, and Popular Mechanics line the walls. Encased in plastic sleeves, the magazines are safe from dust and the oily fingertips of browsers. Beyond the magazines are a set of narrow stairs the lead into a dimly lit hall tall enough only for a hobbit. This is where Jeff keeps his most prized vintage paperbacks – long forgotten pulp fiction all for sale on AbeBooks. Established in 1937, Cameron’s is a must-visit for any bibliophile, and those who aren’t in the Portland area can virtually browse Jeff’s treasures on AbeBooks.

Browse their books.








Watch Cameron’s Books in this video by Universal Magnetic

2015 Man Booker Shortlist

The judges have announced the 2015 shortlist for the Man Booker Prize and the list is full of interesting choices. The judges commented on the different writing styles, the literary backgrounds of the writers and the cultural heritage. The list includes both new and well known, established authors including Tom McCarthy and Anne Tyler. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 13 October 2015.


The 2015 shortlist is:

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
James brings to life the people who walked the streets of 1970s Kingston, who dominated the crack houses of 1980s New York, and who reemerged into a radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Brilliantly inventive, A Brief History of Seven Killings is an “exhilarating” ( The New York Times) epic that’s been called “a tour de force” ( The Wall Street Journal).

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
From the author of Remainder and C (short-listed for the Man Booker Prize), and a winner of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, comes Satin Island, an unnerving novel that promises to give us the first and last word on the world – modern, postmodern, whatever world you think you are living in.

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river they encounter a madman, who predicts that one of the brothers will kill another. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of both its characters and its readers.

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
The Year of the Runaways tells of the bold dreams and daily struggles of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance. Thirteen young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar; and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the choatic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband’s clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

Who do you predict will take the prize?

AbeBooks’ Literary Link Lineup


1. The National Book Foundation on Monday announced the 10 books longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The winners will be announced November 8th.

2. The Guardian discusses who might be on the Man Booker shortlist.

3. Patrick deWitt, author of the bestselling The Sisters Brothers, talks with CBC Books about his new book Undermajordomo Minor (which has been longlisted for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize).

4. Harry Potter themed bar has opened in Toronto as seen on Flavorwire.

5. AbeBooks talks about Beautiful Book Covers on Amazon’s Omnivoracious.

6. Certainly a favourite in our house, Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came To Tea (written in 1968) has  a new book called Mister Cleghorn’s Seal. Read more about the book on The Telegraph.

7. An interview with Jessa Crispin (founder of Bookslut) about her first book The Dead Ladies Project.

8. Dinner party themes inspired by favorite heroines in literature – see the menus on The Week.

9. The Rise of Twitter Fiction on The Atlantic.

10. Instagram feed to follow: American Antiquarian Society

San Francisco’s Russian Hill Bookstore – Loved by Locals and Tourists

A sign in the window of the Russian Hill Bookstore

The Russian Hill district of San Francisco is a quirky area full of artists and creative types, and the Russian Hill Bookstore is a key part of that community.

Owned by Carol Spencer, who has been selling books for almost 40 years, the business can be found on Polk Street in the west side of the Russian Hill neighborhood. Late night book browsing is possible here as the store stays open from 10am to 10pm daily. There’s usually a mix of tourists and locals perusing the shelves.

The neighborhood is one of San Francisco’s oldest and dates back to 1806 when Russian ships regularly docked in San Francisco Bay.

It’s a genuine community-based used bookstore with a fantastic selection of vintage paperbacks, including some remarkable pulp. You’ll find lots of cookbooks, modern bestsellers and books about San Francisco. There is also a large selection on cards, journals, calendars, board games and gifts suitable for bookish types. This isn’t a large bookshop but Carol makes every inch count and you won’t be short of inspiration when you walk through the door.

Browse their books.

Russian Hill offers many rare books

Carol Spencer and Benjamin Bellouin from Russian Hill

Vintage paperbacks abound like this Ace Double

Boston’s Iconic Haven of Used and Rare Books

Any list of America’s top used and rare bookstores usually includes the Brattle Book Shop. This Bostonian institution was founded in 1825 and has been owned by the Gloss family since 1949. No many bookstores can boast this kind of legacy.

Housed in a three-story building in the middle of Boston at 9 West Street, the Brattle Book Shop offers more than 250,000 books, maps, prints, postcards and items. Its size alone is impressive. Don’t miss the Rare Book Room. You can pick up a used paperback or a signed first edition.

Ken Gloss

Books are offered inside and outside the store (thanks to shelves on wheels and shelves built into exterior walls) – what’s better than browsing books in the sunshine? This shop even caters for people who want books to decorate their home or as props on their movie set – there’s a huge selection of Easton Press and Franklin Library books, decorative cloth bindings, and over-sized art books.

Ken Gloss is the current proprietor. A past president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America’s New England Chapter, Ken is a well-known figure in America’s rare bookselling community.

Ken’s appraisal skills are in demand from libraries at Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, Tufts and many other universities. He’s even valued books for the FBI and is a regular on TV and radio.

Any visit to New England must include a visit to the ‘Brattle.’

Browse their books.

Harry Potter Illustrated Editions

Exciting news for Harry Potter fans! Bloomsbury Publishing has released 15 images from the upcoming illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Iconic scenes from the immensely popular book have been drawn by Jim Kay – an illustrator based in the UK (who said that his favorite character to draw was Hagrid). Kay will be illustrating all seven of the Harry Potter books. See below for a preview of some of the gorgeous images.

The illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will be released October 6, 2015.


Cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


Harry Potter. Look closely – you can see his scar



HP-HermoineHermione Granger


Malfoy Draco


Ron Weasley

Book Covers as Gifs – Delightful!

We love books (that should come as no surprise) and we certainly love beautiful iconic book covers. When someone goes ahead and adds a little bit of whimsy to these covers, our hearts beat a little bit faster. Slate recently shared a post highlighting the work of artist Javier Jensen who added subtle GIFs to some of the most iconic book covers. Personal favourites include the cover for Le Petite Prince and Moby Dick. See all the covers here.

We were inspired to make our own book cover as a GIF.

HP gif

AbeBooks’ Literary Link Lineup

Ten literary links to get your week started:


1. Lithub talks about 5 books making news this week.

2. LA Times interviews author Amy Stewart (The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Plants) about her new fiction book Girl Waits With Gun.

3. NPR Books presents an End of Summer Comics Collection.

4. BookRiot tells us What Happens To Your Reading When You Have a Baby. Anyone one who has experience having a newborn at home will relate.

5. The Globe and Mail reviews Lawrence Hill’s (A Book of Negros) The Illegal – a story about a young man who wants to run marathons.

6. Jesse Eisenberg, actor and author answers questions in the Sunday Book Review about his new collection of stories in Bream Gives Me Hiccups.

7. The Guardian puts your knowledge of James Bond to test with their “Fleming or Horowitz: whose James Bond said what?” quiz.

8. Bookshelf Porn – just look at these images!

9. Fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon? Huffington Post suggests 11 Books to Read During the Long Wait for Season Two.

10. Who to follow on Instagram: Ernest Hemingway in 15 seconds. Bonus Instagram feed to follow: Cat Book Club.