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10 Facts About Lucy Maud Montgomery


The first biography of Montgomery, The Wheel of Things: A Biography of L.M. Montgomery by Mollie Gillen (1975)

“Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” — L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery is without a doubt one of the most beloved authors of all time. In honor of her 141st birthday on November 30th, AbeBooks has put together 10 facts about Lucy Maud Montgomery:

1. Since publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 20 different languages.

2. Maud, as she was called by family and friends, started writing poetry at the age of 9.

3. Montgomery started her career as a teacher, and went on to study English literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Montgomery was one of the few women of her time to seek post-secondary education.

4. Similar to Jane Austen whose manuscript for Pride and Prejudice was originally rejected by publishers, Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables was also rejected. First written in 1905, it wasn’t until 1907 that Montgomery decided to try again and eventually found a publisher. In 1908, Page Company of Boston published the book and it became an instant best-seller.

5. Montgomery moved to Leaskdale, Ontario with her husband and spent the rest of her life in various towns and cities in Ontario. She never lived on PEI again but was buried in Cavendish, PEI.

6. Of the 20 books that Montgomery wrote, all but one were based in PEI.

7. People from around the world flock to PEI during the summer months to visit Green Gables located in the PEI National Park. According to a New York Times article, the site receives thousands of visitors each year – about 20% from Japan.

8. In 1920, Montgomery stopped writing about Anne, stating in her personal journal that she had tired of the character. After a 15 year break, she went back to writing about Anne and released Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936 and Anne of Ingleside in 1939.

9. The last book written by Montgomery was delivered to her publisher on the day of her death. The publisher declined to release the book. In 1974, an abridged version of the book was published as a collection of short stories called The Road to Yesterday. The entire book was published in 2009 by Viking Canada called The Blythes Are Quoted.

10. Mark Twain and Lucy Maud Montgomery share the same birthday. Mark Twain said that Montgomery’s Anne was “the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice”.

A selection of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s work:

Anne of Green Gables - 1st Edition. Published by  L.C. Page & Company, Boston. 1908.

Anne of Green Gables – 1st Edition. Published by L.C. Page & Company, Boston. 1908.

Emily of New Moon published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York . 1923

Emily of New Moon published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York

Chronicles of Avonlea - First Canadian edition, published in 1943 by The Ryerson Press, Toronto.

Chronicles of Avonlea – First Canadian edition, published in 1943 by The Ryerson Press, Toronto.


Mistress Pat: A Novel of Silver Bush. A first edition, published in 1935 by McClelland & Stewart, Toronto.


Anne of Green Gables Library: Anne of Green Gables Library: Anne of Green Gables; Anne of Avonlea; Anne of the Island; Anne s House of Dreams

Judging a book by its size: Sumo by Helmut Newton

Sumo by Helmut Newton for blog

AbeBooks.com has sold a copy of  Sumo, the aptly named photography book published in 1999, for $12,833 (£8,300). Helmut Newton’s famous book is MASSIVE. It weighs more than 77 pounds (35 kilos), is 19.7 inches x 27.6 inches in size and comes with its own folding metal stand. I love the idea of someone unwrapping this huge book on Christmas morning.

Published by Taschen, the book offers 450 photographs in color and black-and-white of scantily clad fashion models. The copy purchased was one of the 10,000 signed and numbered copies that sold out immediately after publication and have since increased in value on the rare book market.

Eight copies of this huge book are currently offered for sale on the AbeBooks marketplace with prices ranging from $6,000 to more than $13,000.

The good news is that a much cheaper version does exist. June Newton, Helmut’s wife, issued a revised edition in 2009 and prices begin around $85.

Recovered from a garage, Robert Heinlein’s original typed manuscript for Friday listed for sale

The first page of Robert Heinlein’s manuscript for Friday

Stored in a garage for years, Robert Heinlein’s original typed manuscript for his 1982 science fiction novel, Friday, has been listed for sale on AbeBooks.com by The Fine Books Company located in Rochester, Michigan.

This manuscript was Heinlein’s last to be created on a typewriter before the author switched to a computer – a computer-generated document, with corrections incorporated into the copy, is stored in the Heinlein archives in the McHenry Library at the University of California’s Santa Cruz campus.

Listed for sale at $58,285, the manuscript references the novel’s original title, The Hour of the Knife (crossed out on the first page with ‘Friday’ written above it) and displays the author’s numerous edits and notes.

Friday by Robert Heinlein

“The novel is among Heinlein’s more controversial later period titles with a definitive, albeit genetically engineered, female protagonist who, among her adventures as a spy and courier, has a difficult time feeling like she belongs to the human race. This work was both a Hugo and Nebula Award finalist for best novel of 1982,” said David Aronovitz from The Fine Books Company. “Auction records over the last 40 years reveal no Heinlein novels in manuscript form have ever sold or even been offered for sale.”

The document gathered dust in Heinlein’s garage which explains the soiled condition of the first page. Rediscovered by Heinlein’s wife, Virginia, it is listed for sale along with a letter of provenance from Heinlein’s friend and editor of Locus Magazine, the late Charles N. Brown, which reads:

The manuscript is an earlier draft corrected in Robert A. Heinlein’s hand. The final draft went to the Heinlein library at Santa Cruz.

Virginia Heinlein found this one on top of the cabinets in the garage while we were packing up magazines for sale–hence the very dirty first page. She gave it to me to sell with the other material.

The copy of the book, also included, is an unopened lettered copy which Robert Heinlein gave me along with other duplicate books.


Charles N. Brown

Heinlein died in 1988, producing three more novels after Friday.

See the manuscript

A page from Robert Heinlein’s original manuscript for Friday

Hedy Lamarr – Hollywood Actress & Inventor

Hedy Lamarr

Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr by Stephen Michael Shearer

Today marks the 101st birthday of Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood actress and inventor of a technology that is still used today.

Lamarr got her start as an Austria actress in the 1920s under her real name of Hedy Kiesler. She married a wealthy Austrian munitions baron and at that time gave up her acting career. With the war looming in the mid-1930s, Hedy was unhappy with her marriage, left her husband and moved to Hollywood. There, here name was changed to Hedy Lamarr and worked with some of the biggest names of the time including James Stewart, Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. Her Hollywood career spanned from the 1930s to the 1950s.

The most fascinating aspect of Lamarr’s life is not about her Hollywood stardom, but the fact that she developed integral technology that is now incorporated into modern Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology. In 2014, Lamarr was included in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

AbeBooks has some wonderful Hedy Lamarr ephemera including a black and white photograph taken in 1943 of Lamarr with Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen, a 1938 MGM cinema poster, a paper doll and several biographies.


Hedy Lamarr meets Charlie McCarthy & Edgar Bergen (1943) – $250


Hedy Lamarr poster from MGM (1938) – $99.22

Lamarr Paper Doll

Hedy Lamarr 9 inch Paper Doll – $19.95

K-pop Erupts over a Book-Inspired ‘Sexualized’ Pop Song

My Sweet Orange Tree

A controversy surrounding a song by one of South Korea’s biggest female K-pop stars, IU, has ignited interest in My Sweet Orange Tree – an autobiographical novel by Brazilian author José Mauro de Vasconcelos originally published in 1968.

The novel describes the misadventures of a five-year-old protagonist called Zeze. IU’s song is also called Zeze and she admits it was inspired by the book, but her lyrics have been accused of being overtly sexual.

My Sweet Orange Tree (Meu Pé de Laranja Lima in Portuguese) is a much loved book in South Korea and often studied in schools. Last Thursday and Friday, My Sweet Orange Tree was the most searched for book on AbeBooks.com as the scandal engulfed the 22-year-old Korean pop star.

The singer has now issued an apology, which translates as:

“My Sweet Orange Tree is a treasured book to me, too. I swear I did not write the lyrics to sexualize a 5-year-old child. The Zeze in my song is a third-party fictional creation taken from the motif in the original novel. However, after listening to the opinions of those who have listened to the song, I came to realize that its contents could have given offence and even caused some to grieve. I am wholly responsible for my immature handling of things as a lyricist.”

In the novel, Zeze lives in Rio de Janeiro in a poor family. Often mistreated and usually left to his own devices, Zeze becomes embroiled in trouble and mischief, which builds in seriousness as the novel continues. The orange tree mentioned in the title grows in his backyard and Zeze becomes deeply interested in its well-being.

According to the Korea JoonAng Daily, IU’s lyrics include “You [Zezé] are pure, but you are sly. You look like a young child, but you are filthy.”

The book’s Korea publisher, Dongyok, issued a statement that also questioned the sexual nature of IU’s latest album cover. Called Chat-Shire and released on October 23, the album (pictured below) depicts a boy wearing fishnets and raising one of his legs into the air while sitting in front of a tree.

Chat-Shire by IU

October’s bestselling signed books

AbeBooks: October's Bestselling Signed Books

Once a month we like to take a look at the previous month’s hottest signed books. October had a musical flare, with memoirs from icons Patti Smith, John Fogerty, and Elvis Costello making an appearance in the top 10. Literary big-hitters Jonathan Franzen, Lauren Groff, and Andy Weir are hanging on after multiple months in the top 10.

1. The Martian by Andy Weir

2. Dictator by Robert Harris

3. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

4. M Train by Patti Smith

5. Purity by Jonathan Franzen

6. Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty

7. Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello

8. Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

9. Slade House by David Mitchell

10. City Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

Discover the book Keith Richards would take to a desert island

Doctor Dogbody’s Leg by James Norman Hall, the cover of the 1940 edition

What book would you take to a desert island? Rolling Stones star Keith Richards selected Doctor Dogbody’s Leg by James Norman Hall when he appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs show last month.

The book is an entertaining collection of short stories told by Dr. Dogbody, a crusty one-legged old sailor, in a Portsmouth tavern called the Cheerful Tortoise. Each story, set during the Napoleonic Wars between England and France, reveals how Dogbody – a Royal Naval surgeon – lost his leg and each one is different.

“Every time he turns up at the table he gives you a different story about how he lost it and they’re all totally plausible,” said Richards on the show.

Desert Island Discs is a radio institution in the UK where the show began in 1942. Guests select eight pieces of a music, a book and one luxury object to take with them to the island while being quizzed by the host on their life and achievements.

James Norman Hall (1887-1951) was a remarkable person. The American author is best remembered for writing the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy, which he co-authored with Charles Nordhoff. Hall was a World War I hero who served with Britain, France and the United States during the conflict. He later lived on Tahiti where he specialized in writing adventure books.

In 1938, Redbook Magazine published three Doctor Dogbody stories in a limited edition of 1,500 copies.  Little Brown then issued another edition in 1940 with illustrations by Warren Chappell. You can see the cover at the top of the page – courtesy of Jeffrey H. Marks Rare Books from Rochester, New York, who is offering a copy for sale.

Holt also published a paperback edition in 1998.

I would love to hear this collection of stories as an audio book with Richards doing the narration. That would be fun. Perhaps the book could also be a Johnny Depp movie?

Doctor Dogbody’s Leg was the most searched for book on AbeBooks.co.uk last week. Sales have been brisk with the most expensive copy to sell being a signed 1940 edition for $150 – one copy sold while I was writing this blog post.

Amazon’s Top 10 Books: November 2015

So many books, so little time! Amazon has released yet another great top 10 list, but this time it’s light on fiction and heavy on real-life stories including celebrity memoirs and fascinating events from American history.

Which titles will you add to your reading list?

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

Dear Mr. You by Mary-Loise Parker

An extraordinary literary work, Dear Mr. You renders the singular arc of a woman’s life through letters Mary-Louise Parker composes to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person she is today. Beginning with the grandfather she never knew, the letters range from a missive to the beloved priest from her childhood to remembrances of former lovers to an homage to a firefighter she encountered to a heartfelt communication with the uncle of the infant daughter she adopted. Readers will be amazed by the depth and style of these letters, which reveal the complexity and power to be found in relationships both loving and fraught.

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

The Witches: Salem, 1962 by Stacy Schiff

It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, The Witches is Pulitzer Prize-winner Stacy Schiff’s account of this fantastical story – the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir by Carrie Brownstein

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is an intimate and revealing narrative of music-icon Carrie Brownstein’s escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue. Along the way, Brownstein chronicles the excitement and contradictions within the era’s flourishing and fiercely independent music subculture, including experiences that sowed the seeds for the observational satire of the popular television series Portlandia years later.

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath by Ted Koppel

In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared. With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

The Grownup: A Story by the Author of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Grownup, which originally appeared as What Do You Do? in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T.J. Stiles

In this magisterial biography, award winning author T. J. Stiles paints a portrait of Gen. George Armstrong Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer’s legacy has been ignored. He demolishes Custer’s historical caricature revealing a volatile, contradictory, intense person – capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive.

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem – writer, activist, organizer, and inspiring leader – now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change.

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving

Juan Diego – a fourteen-year-old boy, who was born and grew up in Mexico – has a thirteen-year-old sister. Her name is Lupe, and she thinks she sees what’s coming – specifically, her own future and her brother’s. Lupe is a mind reader; she doesn’t know what everyone is thinking, but she knows what most people are thinking. Regarding what has happened, as opposed to what willLupe is usually right about the past; without your telling her, she knows all the worst things that have happened to you.


St. Marks is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street by Ada Calhoun

In a narrative enriched by hundreds of interviews and dozens of rare images, St. Marks native Ada Calhoun profiles iconic characters from W. H. Auden to Abbie Hoffman, from Keith Haring to the Beastie Boys, among many others. She argues that St. Marks has variously been an elite address, an immigrants’ haven, a mafia warzone, a hippie paradise, and a backdrop to the film Kids―but it has always been a place that outsiders call home.

Amazon's Top 10 Books: November 2015

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too.


Debut Spotlight:

Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay

The Wall Street Journal’s popular columnist Jason Gay delivers a hilarious and heartfelt guide to modern living.

Vincent Price’s cookbook back in print to celebrate 50th anniversary

The new 2015 edition of A Treasury of Great Recipes by Vincent and Mary Price

Vincent and Mary Price’s famous cookbook – A Treasury of Great Recipes – has been reissued to celebrate its 50 anniversary with NPR doing an interesting piece on the book this morning. This recipe book had been one of the most sought-after out-of-print books in the world for many years. A Treasury of Great Recipes was a fixture on BookFinder.com’s annual list of the most wanted out-of-print titles. Older used copies are still easily found on AbeBooks.

The recipes range from Dodger Stadium hot dogs to European haute cuisine and are very international. As a famous film star, Price traveled the world and enjoyed the food along the way. The dishes are selected from establishments such as the London’s The Ivy and Madrid’s Palace Hotel.

NPR writes:

The cookbook includes Mad Men-era recipes, old menus, the original typeface and the original photos by jazz photographer William Claxton, Life magazine’s Eliot Elisofon, and artist Tosh Matsumoto. The images feature sumptuous spreads and waiters from legendary restaurants around the world. There’s stuffed trout from La Pyramide in Lyon, France; gazpacho Andaluz from the Sobrino de Botin in Madrid (considered the oldest restaurant in the world); frog’s legs polonaise from Sardi’s in New York.

The book, first published in 1965 at the height of Price’s fame, also contains drawings by Fritz Kredel. Victoria Price, Vincent and Mary’s daughter, has added an introduction.

The 1965 first edition of A Treasury of Great Recipes

Shock, Horror, Terror! Halloween Book Features at AbeBooks

Over the years, we’ve put together some truly spine tingling features all related to horror, vampires, devilish books, tales from the vault – you get the picture. Revisit some of our scariest features – if you dare!


A Brief History of Vampires in Literature
The first instances of vampire tales originally appeared in eastern European folklore.  Some of these stories began to trickle into western European literature in the 18th century, and German and English authors started to put their own spin on the myths.

The Most Devilish Books
Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, the prince of darkness – call him what you will, but the devil is a such an intriguing force of evil that countless writers across many centuries have woven a devil, the devil or simply demonic themes into their work.

Fear Itself: Books That Go Bump in the Night
What is it about fear, which I’m sure we’d all agree is a negative emotion, that we can’t resist? Why do we come back for more?

Stephen King: The Master of Horror
At the risk of stating the obvious, few authors past or present have achieved the level of success experienced by Stephen King. But then again, few authors are as prolific as Stephen King. With over 350 million copies of more than 70 titles sold worldwide, many adapted to film, television, and even Broadway musicals and comic books, King’s impact on popular culture is irrefutable.

Tales from the Vault: Old-Fashioned Horror Books
Perhaps we should call this feature ‘Scary Tales from Another Era?’ We have delved deep into our vault (well, it’s actually an Internet database but vault sounds far scarier) and dusted off a selection of stories designed to chill the reader to the bone.

Literary Halloween Costumes
Literature contains hundreds of famous characters that are ideal for Halloween from horror and non-horror genres. Distinct characters, period costumes and props are your best bet. Take Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum for example. We’re spoiled for choice – Dorothy (with a small yappy dog) and the Tinman are particularly recognizable, and the Cowardly Lion would also work if you have acting skills.