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Rare Titles from Archibald Rutledge, First Poet Laureate of South Carolina

Love's Meaning by Captain Archibald Rutledge
American poet Archibald “Archie” Rutledge (1883-1973) has enjoyed moments in the spotlight here on AbeBooks. South Carolina’s first poet laureate, Rutledge wrote extensively, with most of his books dedicated to his first love, poetry. He also wrote prodigiously about hunting, wildlife and the outdoors. Rutledge grew up in South Carolina on a plantation, where he had ample time to explore and hunt with his father and brothers. His passion for poetry was also formed in childhood, and he wrote his first piece of poetry when he was just a young boy of three years:

“I saw a little rattlesnake
Too young to make his rattles shake.”

From those auspicious beginnings came a prolific and very successful poet. Rutledge penned over 50 books in his lifetime. Perhaps his best-known work is Home By the River, a fond remembrance of his family home, Hampton Plantation, in South Carolina. Many of Rutledge’s works have become rare treasures, prized and hunted by book collectors.

California bookseller Salvaged-treasures is lucky enough to have four such Rutledge listings up for sale. The first, Love’s Meaning, is a signed copy of the 1943 title, priced at $100. Love’s Meaning is a tribute to human love and nature’s place within it, and much more. A slim volume, this lovely little book is nonetheless packed with thought-provoking life lessons. Salvaged-treasures are located in Canyon County, California, and have been in operation since 2011. You can see all of Salvaged-treasure’s listings currently available.

Another fantastic find on offer from Salvaged-treasures is this rare, signed copy of the author’s first book, The Heart’s Quest. One of only four copies available on the site, this one is in very good condition, despite some slight fading to the suede. It would make a lovely addition to any poetry lover’s shelf, and is on offer for $2,800.

The Heart's Quest by Captain Archibald Rutledge

In October 2011, AbeBooks saw a swell of Archibald Rutledge’s work selling, with three of the sales cracking our top ten most expensive sales of that month. The three skookum sales were:

The Heart’s Quest by Archibald Rutledge – $7,995
This is a signed first edition copy of Rutledge’s earliest work; the book itself is undated but it has been recorded that it was published in 1904 making it the South Carolinian poet’s first published work by nearly two years.

Under The Pines and Other Poems by Archibald Rutledge – $7,200
Under the Pines was Rutledge’s second publication having been published in 1906; this copy was signed and inscribed “O to recall/What to recall Myhew Phillips.”

How Wild Was My Village by Archibald Rutledge – $5,995
Published in 1969 by Wing Publications, this first edition copy was inscribed by the South Carolina Poet Laureate “With the love of your friend, Archibald Rutledge.” In addition to Rutledge’s text the book is illustrated throughout by D.P. McGuire.

To learn more about Rutledge, explore the book A Hunt for Life’s Extras: The Story of Archibald Rutledge by Idella Bodie.

The Headless Horseman: A Strange Tale of Texas by Mayne Reid

The Headless Horseman: A Strange Tale of Texas by Mayne Reid

The lunch table in the AbeBooks staff room is certainly never dull. Different combinations of staffers from various departments congregate to eat their lunches, and the conversation can run the gamut from heated political discussion, to pop culture, to local events and more. The only topic off-limits is work, though that rule is bent whenever someone has a problem or a particularly good idea.

Yesterday’s discussion veered onto the origins of phrases, when it was mentioned that someone didn’t know what succotash (as in “Sufferin’ Succotash!”, the famous cartoon utterance of Sylvester the Cat, and more rarely, Daffy Duck) was. Brief research revealed that succotash is a foodstuff, and while recipes vary widely, it appears the staples of corn and beans are key to its foundation.

Satisfied thus far, the next topic was the phrase “Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!”.

What was Jehosaphat? Was it too a foodstuff? Someone’s name? A dance move? Back to the internet! We discovered that the origins of the phrase Jumpin’ Jehosaphat could be traced back centuries and centuries. Jehoshaphat (note the extra H, later dropped in pop culture), son of Asa and father of Jehoram, was a king of the Kingdom of Judah for 25 years some time (historians disagree on precise dates) around 870-850 BCE.

As to the origins of “Jumpin’ Jehosaphat” specifically, our search eventually led back to a book (doesn’t everything, eventually?).

Apparently, the first recorded instance of the phrase can be found in the 1866 novel The Headless Horseman by (Thomas) Mayne Reid. The novel is based on Texan folklore detailing the exploits of an Irish hero in the U.S.-Mexican war of the mid-19th century. Here are the opening paragraphs of the novel, sure to pull the reader in:

“The stag of Texas, reclining in midnight lair, is startled from his slumbers by the hoofstroke of a horse.
He does not forsake his covert, nor yet rise to his feet. His domain is shared by the wild steeds of the savannah, given to nocturnal straying. He only uprears his head; and with antlers o’ertopping the tall grass, listens for a repetition of the sound.
Again is the hoofstroke heard, but with altered intonation. There is a ring of metal – the clinking of steel against stone. The sound, significant to the ear of the stag, causes a quick change in his air and attitude. Springing clear of his couch, and bounding a score of yards across the prairie, he pauses to look back upon the disturber of his dreams. In the clear moonlight of a southern sky, he recognizes the most ruthless of his enemies – man. One is approaching upon horseback. Yielding to instinctive dread, he is about to resume his flight: when something in the appearance of the horseman – some unnatural seeming – holds him transfixed to the spot. ”

The novel is a story of love, jealousy, revenge, raiding Comanche Indians and assassination on the plains of Texas. Mystery abounds, and a healthy spot of violence as well. And from the sounds of it, the writers of television series “Breaking Bad” may have found an idea or two in its pages.

AbeBooks has just six 1866 copies of The Headless Horseman by Mayne Reid for sale. And now we know that is the first published occurrence of “Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!” in literature.

And further literary fact goodies: Isaac Asimov‘s famous character Lije Baley (from The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun and The Robots of Dawn, chiefly) frequently exclaims “Jehosaphat!” as a curse word throughout the books.

So if you didn’t know, now you know. Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!

The Headless Horseman: A Strange Tale of Texas by Mayne Reid

Banned Books Week 2014

It’s Banned Books Week again. If you’re not familiar, Banned Books Week is an annual week-long series of events that celebrate our freedom to read, and call attention to how often that freedom is threatened and quashed. This year the promotions run September 21st – 27th.

The American Library Association is the brains behind the operation, and they work hard to spread awareness about the threat of censorhip, and to remove barriers to literacy and books. As of the writing of this post, this is the most current list of Most Challenged Books (from 2013 – a list from 2014 will likely be forthcoming shortly after the year’s end). These are the books that various people, for various reasons have tried to restrict access to. Rather than simply choosing not to read the books themselves, they’ve taken it upon themselves to try to ensure nobody else can, either.  Here is a video review of one of the most often challenged or banned books from the list below, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Watch our video, read the book, decide for yourself.



Here is the most current list:


1. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
The bestselling series has been cited for offensive language, unsuited to age group and violence since its first book hit libraries in 1997. It topped the list in 2012, too.

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
As one of America’s most important authors, Toni Morrison is no stranger to book bans and challenges. Her 1970 debut novel The Bluest Eye has been cited for offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group and violence.

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Despite winning the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature along with a throng of other awards, the book has been cited for drugs, alcohol, smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group. We’ve included it on our list of 50 Essential Young Adult Novels.

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
It’s no surprise to see the 2012 bestseller on yet another challenged list. It’s been cited for nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Arguably the most popular series since Harry Potter, The Hunger Games has been cited for religious viewpoint and unsuited to age group.

6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
The School Library Journal called it book of the week when it first hit shelves in 2006, but challengers cite it for drugs, alcohol, smoking, nudity, offensive language and sexually explicit.

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
John Green is the author of the hit novel The Fault in Our Stars. His debut novel Looking for Alaska won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association, but is cited for drugs, alcohol, smoking, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Another book from our list of 50 Essential Young Adult Novels. The 1999 coming-of-age novel was re-popularized with the 2012 film adaption starring Emma Watson. It’s cited for drugs, alcohol, smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group.

9. Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
The 1972 novel was awarded the Premio Quinto Sol Award which recognizes the best fictional work by Mexican American authors as a means of promoting Chicano writers. It’s cited for occult, satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint and sexually explicit

10. Bone by Jeff Smith
The popular graphic novel series for children has been cited for political viewpoint, racism and violence.

Banning books, challenging books, and of course even burning books is neither unusual nor new, but each year we see more voices added to the fight against it, and the fight for access to literature and to information. What can you do to help keep books accessible for everyone who wants to read them? Get involved! From the ALA web site:

“The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) offers a variety of resources for libraries, schools, and other organizations that want to get involved with and promote Banned Books Week. See the links on the left for information on promotional materials for sale at the ALA Store, free materials you can download or print off of the ALA website, and ideas for planning a Banned Books Week event in your community.”

See more ideas and resources about the prevention of censorship on the ALA web site.

For Auction: Shaw’s Shovel, Bradbury’s Poem About Same

George Bernard Shaw's garden spadeThis is the second bit of good bloggery we’ve had as a result of George Bernard Shaw objects. Longtime Reading Copy readers may remember that we once had George Bernard Shaw’s typewriter for sale on the site. This time around, the item of interest is George Bernard Shaw’s garden spade, with which he apparently planted a mulberry tree in 1936, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. There is a plaque on the handle of the spade, which reads: “‘With this spade Bernard Shaw planted a mulberry tree in the public garden in Great Malvern on his 80th birthday, the 26 July 1936. He then presented it to Harry Batchelor Higgs, his gardener and faithful friend for 34 years.’”

The spade was later gifted to Ray Bradbury, who was a tremendous fan of the playwright’s work. Bradbury (who dabbled in much more, writing-wise, than just science fiction and fantasy, you see) was so moved by owning such a powerful object that he wrote a poem, appropriately titled “G.B.S. and the Spade”. The poem, rumored to be quite lengthy, imagines the spade imbued with powers to facilitate a conversation between Bradbury and the Nobel Prize-winner, who Bradbury once named as the one person he would choose to meet, if he could. Bradbury himself passed away in 2012 at the age of 91, and the garden spade, along with the accompanying poem, are now up for auction by Nate D. Sanders Fine Autographs & Memorabilia, and will come complete with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Ray Bradbury estate for the winning bidder. As of the writing of this post, there is one bid at $5,000, and just over three days left in which to bid.

If you’re here for the Ray Bradbury more than the George Bernard Shaw, you may also be interested in Nate D. Sanders’ other Ray Bradbury memorabilia auctions, which include much art – lithographs, book cover art, drawings, a suit jacket and projection slides, and much more. One more item worthy of note is this 16 X 20″ painting of Ray Bradbury himself by L.J. Dopp. Good lord I want to own this.Ray Bradbury painting by L.J. Dopp

2014 National Book Awards Longlist

Well it’s a big week for longlists in the literary world. First the Giller Prize Longlist came out, and now the National Book Awards are taking their turn, too. In fact, the National Book Awards longlist was released earlier than the awards committee would have liked, after news outlets leaked it early. So here we are.

Redeployment by Phil Klay
Here are the ten longlist contenders for The National Book Award for Fiction:
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Thunderstruck & Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
Orfeo by Richard Powers
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Some Luck by Jane Smiley
The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol

Of those I have actually only ever read Marilynne Robinson, but I really enjoyed both Home and Housekeeping and will be seeking out more of her work. I’m also excited to read more from the list. It’s rare that a list has so few authors I’ve explored. Lots do to!

And here are the ten longlist contenders for The National Book Award for Non-Fiction:

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John LahrCan’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic by John Demos
No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes by Anand Gopal
The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942 by Nigel Hamilton
The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John Lahr
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan OsnosWhen Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 by Ronald C. Rosbottom
Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic by Matthew Stewart
The Meaning of Human Existence by Edward O. Wilson

Don’t Miss The 2014 Vancouver Book Fair

Books at the Vancouver Book Fair

Books at The Vancouver Book Fair

The 2014 Vancouver Book Fair is coming up quickly, and booklovers who have attended in past years know this is an event not to be missed. As Western Canada’s only book fair dedicated to rare, collectible and antique books, there is sure to be something for everyone from dabbling novices to serious and established collectors. This year’s fair takes place Saturday October 4th and Sunday October 5th, and will once more be held at UBC Robson Square in Vancouver. Along with the Alcuin Society, AbeBooks is once more a proud sponsor of the event.

Attendees of the fair will be treated to a wide variety of literary rarities. From the Vancouver Book Fair web site:

“A wide selection of antiquarian, collectible and rare books, ephemera, maps, prints, manuscripts, photographs and works on paper will be on offer at the fair – including Canadiana; children’s and illustrated; fine press and limited editions; history and military history; literature and fine arts; modern first editions and signed copies; natural history; travel and exploration; science and technology as well as many other subject areas. The items on offer will range from 15th century incunabula to 21st century modern first editions.”

Some of this year’s exhibiting booksellers include:

When: Saturday, October 4th 1pm-7pm, and Sunday, October 5th 11am-4pm
Where: UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC (convenient parking both nearby and underground)
How much: $8.00 Admission (good for both days – and if you register your attendance beforehand on the web site, you can receive a $2.00 discount)

If you love the smell of old books or have an empty shelf spot just begging for something beautiful, make sure to include the Vancouver Book Fair in your weekend plans for October 4th-5th.

Giller Prize Longlist for 2014

The longlist has been announced for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary honour. The Giller Prize was established in 1994 and has been recognizing and rewarding outstanding literary talent ever since to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. The prize sees cash being awarded to the winner and each of the four other finalists. This year, the 20th anniversary of the prize, marks a significant increase in prize money, with the winning prize doubling from $50,000 to $100,000, and the finalist prizes doubling from $5,000 to $10,000.


Us Conductors by Sean Michaels

Here is this year’s longlist:

Waiting for the Man by Arjun Basu
The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis
American Innovations by Rivka Galchen
Tell by Frances Itani
Watch How We Walk by Jennifer Lovegrove
Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Shani Mootoo
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill
Paradise and Elsewhere by Kathy Page
My October by Claire Holden Rothman
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan

I’m excited to see a title there by Montreal’s Heather O’Neill. O’Neill published her debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals in 2006 to much critical acclaim, and The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is her first novel since.

The shortlist will be announced October 6th, and we’ll find out who wins the hundred grand and the winning title on November 10th. Congratulations and good luck to all the longlisted authors.

Best Books for Babies – the Top 10 Board Books

Snack Time for Cow by Michael Dahl

Hello readers. I have been off for the past year, giving birth to and caring for a delicious baby, so please forgive my blog absence. And while some things never change – I am still a reader through and through – there are a couple of key differences.

First, it seems that my preferred position in bed may be altered forever. While I was growing my son, my usually-favored choice to read in bed on my stomach and elbows stopped being an option early on. Unwilling to give up my nightly read-to-sleep, I resorted to the more pedestrian choice of sitting up, against the headboard with pillows, and I’m afraid it stuck and I’m now a convert. Apologies to my tummy-sleeping comrades for the defection.

More importantly, my reading habits have evolved. Pre-motherhood, I read for a minimum one hour every night, racing through two books a week. Now, the grown-up reading portion of my night more typically consists of 11 minutes of reading the same paragraph repeatedly, struggling to grasp it, until exhaustion overtakes me. It isn’t pretty, and I laugh mirthlessly, if fondly, at the naiveté of the statements I enthusiastically made whilst pregnant about how much reading I was going to get done on maternity leave.

At least I can say I read a full book every night now, however…but it’s a board book. Board books for babies are sturdy cardboard, designed perfectly for little hands, and more resistant to exuberant smacking and accidental tearing than standard paper.

We’ve been reading to our son every night since he was 5 months old, and it’s been so fun. At first he just listened. Now at 12 months he listens, looks, turns pages, laughs, and even turns back to see favorite pictures again. The nightly book is family time, a signal that it’s bed time, and an important part of our routine. While some of the books aim to impart various lessons in alphabet, colors, shapes and the like, our favorites are just the silly fun ones, particularly those that rhyme. We know we’re helping him develop language, and hope we’re laying the foundation for a future full of passion for books. We’ve read approximately 200 board books now, and these (below) are the top 10 best books for babies we’ve found – the criteria being these are the ones my son giggled at and smacked the most. If you find you like one of them, definitely check out other titles by the same author, as many of them are quite prolific. Sandra Boynton has many very fun ones including the Little Pookie board books, Eric Carle has written and illustrated scads, and Michael Dahl has several, as well. If none of these float your boat, there are countless other marvelous board books for babies to enjoy. The main thing is the quality time spent reading.

Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle             Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton           The Big Eating Book by Guido van Genechten

Dinosaur Roar by Paul & Henrietta Stickland             Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig           Farmyard Rhymes by Clare Beaton

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson            I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy            Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle

Want more like this? Check out our Tips For Reading to Children post, as well as Best Books to Read Aloud to Children.

Beautiful rare antiquarian Swedish books from Mats Rehnström

Welcome to Mats Rehnström Rare Books from Stockholm, who has recently joined the AbeBooks marketplace. Founded in 1991, Mats Rehnström Rare Books is an antiquarian bookstore specializing in old and rare Swedish books from the early days of printing up until 1860.

This seller also offers a wide variety of reference books on bibliography, books about books, and history of literature. They also have a selection of post-1860 books that are inscribed or feature  beautiful bindings.

A member of ILAB, Mats Rehnström Rare Books is located in a building owned by the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts. Below is a selection of rare books from this bookseller. Find books from Mats Rehnström.

First Danish translation of Alice in Wonderland from 1875 featuring John Tenniel’s illustrations

Neues Kriegs- Ingenieur- Artillerie, from 1757, the most comprehensive military dictionary of the era

Sweriges rijkes siö-lagh, from 1667, a first edition of ‘The Maritime Law of Sweden’

Essai sur l’histoire naturelle des corallines, from 1756, containing a printed dedication to Queen Lovisa Ulrika of Sweden. This is a work on corals along the coasts of England and Ireland.

Introducing Crap Taxidermy, the must-have coffee table book

Badly stuffed animals

The blog Crappy Taxidermy has spawned a book, Crap Taxidermy. If you thought no more damage could be done to an animal after its death, think again. This book features many examples of oddly posed animals, badly stuffed animals and bizarre animal hybrids created on some person’s kitchen table.  If you enjoy this book, then you may also be strangely drawn to Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy… and require help.

A badly stuffed cat

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