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Edward Nudelman and the art of selling beautifully illustrated books

Art makes the world go round, according to Edward Nudelman, owner of Nudelman Rare Books in Seattle. This discerning dealer, with more than 30 years bookselling experience, relishes beautiful illustrated books and has a particular passion for European art movements from the 19th and 20th century.

In fact, a tour of his inventory is a stroll through the European art movements that shaped our world. There are examples of Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna’s Workshops), the early 20th century collective of artists and designers famous for its black and white designs and patterns. There are also examples from the Victorian Arts and Craft movement. You will find a good helping of Pre-Raphaelite items ranging from The Flower Book by Edward Burne-Jones (priced at a cool $15,000) to poetry by Christina Rossetti, famous for writing Goblin Market.

Bookseller Edward Nudelman

You will see the word ‘Jugendstil‘ mentioned when browsing Edward’s inventory- Jugendstil is a style of art that originated in Germany at the end of the 19th century that took its name from a Munich magazine called Die Jugend (The Youth), which extensively used Art Nouveau designs.

“I am drawn to the books that were published in Germany between the 1880s and the 1920s,” said Edward. “Some beautiful books were produced and I studied this period for years. The artwork is often highly symbolic. I also offer manuscripts, letters and ephemera from this era. I am usually drawn to items that are scarce and interesting rather than simply just expensive.”

A member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America since 1983, Edward’s original career was working as a scientist in cancer research. He began collecting at the end of the 1970s and started selling books in the 1980s while juggling his medical career.

He became a full-time bookseller after retiring from life in the laboratory. Today, his knowledge of art and children’s illustrated books ensures strong demand for his services – aside from book dealing, he builds book collections for clients and consults for major auction houses.

In the early days of his bookselling career, Edward favored classic children’s books. Jessie Willcox Smith – the American illustrator who worked for the likes of Good Housekeeping, Collier’s and Harper’s – has been close to his heart for many years. That accumulated knowledge about Smith resulted in Edward writing a biography and bibliography about the artist, who illustrated more than 60 books.

For more information about Edward, read this Fine Books Magazine interview from 2012.

Select items from Nudelman Rare Books

The Book of the Child offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1902 in New York by Frederick A Stokes, The Book of the Child features cover inserts on the front and back by Jessie Willcox Smith, and also three full-page color plates from the illustrator and four more by Elizabeth Shippen Green. This is considered to be Smith’s greatest book, both in size and color and composition, and produced in collaboration with Shippen Green. Learn more

Les Mois offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1895 in Paris, Les Mois is an excellent example of Art Nouveau offered by Nudelman Rare Books. Folio sized, this item has three-quarter vellum-style boards with handmade marbled paper boards and morocco label on its spine. Eugene Grasset designed the artwork for the 1896 calendar of the Parisian department store, La Belle Jardiniere. Learn more

Der Buntscheck offered by Nudelman Rare Books

One of the finest of all Jugendstil books, this title contains full color illustrations by Konrad F.E. von Freyhold, Karl Hofer, Ernst Kreidolf, Emil Rudolf Weiss and others. An important item in the history of German publishing. Learn more

Rumpumpel offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1919, this color pochoir is illustrated by Karl Hofer, one of the greatest Jugendstil artists.  Learn more

Stories from Han Andersen offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1890 by Ernest Nister in green cloth. Features six chromolithographic plates by E.S. Hard and black and white line drawings throughout. Learn more

A Strange Experiment offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1897, the scarce first title from the Philosopher Press with an Art Nouveau-style cover design by Gardner C. Teall. Learn more

L’Annee Chretienne offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1899, the boards of L’Annee Chretienne feature a fine Art Nouveau illustration. Inside are 12 full page color plates by French artist Leon Rudnicki. Learn more

Der Fliegende Konig offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1900, a scarce Jugendstil title with a striking cover reminiscent of Wiener Werkstatte design. Learn more

Leda ou La Louange des Bienheureuses Tenebres offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1898 in Paris, this is #319 of 600 copies. A beautiful example of French Art Nouveau featuring artwork by Paul-Albert Laurens. Learn more

Deutsche Marchen; Jungbrunnen Marchen offered by Nudelman Rare Books

A first edition from 1900 – an example of Jugendstil with black and white illustrations detailing stories by Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and others. Learn more

Nussknacker und Mausekonig offered by Nudelman Rare Books

Published in 1909, another example of Jugendstil in gray-green cloth with a pictorial design stamped in black and white on the cover. Color plates throughout by Otto Bauriedl and Ernst Kutzer. Learn more

Bookseller Q&A: Brown & Dickson

Brown & Dickson

Vanessa and Jason of Brown & Dickson in London, Ontario.

Meet AbeBooks’ antiquarian booksellers Brown & Dickson. Located in London, Ontario, Brown & Dickson specialize in Art, Local History, Counter-Culture, Fine Literature, and Weird Canada. Vanessa and Jason recently answered our questions about the wonderful world of book selling – keep reading to learn about their most prized items and the weird (er, gross) things they’ve found in books!

AbeBooks: How did you become a bookseller?

Jason: After high-school my friend’s father opened up a small used bookshop in downtown London, Ontario. He graciously let me be a part of it with his daughter and friends. I remember going over to his house and seeing a basement filled with boxes of books, probably as many as the entire inventory of my small hometown library. I was hooked.

Vanessa: Jason worked at a used bookstore in town and got me a job. After I finished my degree, I just kept doing it. There were opportunities to find work in fields that paid better. I could have gone to grad school. But I just like selling books. That sounds like laziness, but it’s not. I don’t think most people find something they love that they are also good at, in regards to a job. When you find out what your passion is, you’d be an idiot to let it go. If I’d known about antiquarian book selling, I probably would have skipped that whole liberal arts thing. I learn more on the job than I ever did in school.

AbeBooks: What do you love most about selling books?

Jason: Honestly, for me the trick to love selling books is empathy. I know that sounds corny but I love to see the look in a customer’s eye that matches the look in my own eye when I find a book that is remarkable to me. To do that for a living is incredible. Book selling means I get to have that happen more often. Nearly every week I come across a book that I’ve been looking for, whether I knew it or not.

Vanessa: I find the pace of book selling, the balance between solitude and socializing, works really well for me. As Jason said, coming across those stellar titles can invigorate you for ages, keep you looking for the next great find. I have to admit, I love a big sale. It’s like being on the Price is Right. I’m always begging Jason to give me a high five and he rolls his eyes at me. I also love watching a young collector get excited about high-end items. It reminds you of what it was like at first, when you started selling.

AbeBooks: What is the most prized item in your inventory? Why?

Jason: We just acquired a collection of books from a local Canadian artist. Her library is filled with local arcana and gems of Canadian art. I recently held a copy of a London art zine that I had only heard about and had never seen. So currently that is my favourite.

Vanessa: It changes all the time. I’m currently fascinated by a Tijuana Bible. Usually I latch onto something and shove it under every customer’s nose until it sells, mostly so I can talk about it and find someone to nerd-out about it with me.

Brown & Dickson

The cozy interior of Brown & Dickson in London, Ontario.

AbeBooks: What’s the one book you covet most? Why?

Jason: The Necronomicon. Just kidding. No, I wish I could have original drawings by Jack Chambers. Perhaps a manuscript of notes for his film The Hart of London. I imagine a book of poems by Canadian artists. So few are published, but so many artists write them. I know in those private papers there are prize works. I’d love to hold a book like that.

Vanessa: I heard there’s a lost stash of Hemingway’s personal papers in the basement of his house in Cuba. I’d love to be on the ground floor of going through that stuff, or any discovery, like that box of Vivian Maier’s negatives.

AbeBooks: What’s the oddest thing you’ve found in a book?

Jason: Envelopes of human hair.

Vanessa: Yeah, that.

AbeBooks: What’s your most memorable moment as a bookseller?

Jason: Honestly being in the shop with an empty street and the second side of Brian Eno’s Discreet Music playing on the shop speaker. It was snowing. The light was dim. And I thought, “I’m safe here. I have to work hard to keep this, but I’ve found my home.”

Vanessa: I think our first book party. We had a bunch of community arts organizations join us for a pop-up mini festival in this empty alley next to a downtown historic building. We had so much fun. People really loved it, and that night we all went out and partied together. The books gave us a reason to celebrate.

AbeBooks: And of course, what’s your favorite book?

Jason: Moominpappa at Sea, without a doubt.

Vanessa: The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

If you’re passing through London, find Brown & Dickson at 211 King Street. Out-of-towners can browse Brown & Dickson’s books on AbeBooks.

Bookseller Q&A: Underground Books

Josh and Megan, owners of Underground Books.

Josh and Megan, owners of Underground Books.

Underground Books is a charming antiquarian, rare, and used bookshop just off of historic Adamson Square in downtown Carrollton, Georgia that aims to be a bibliophile’s destination and a browser’s paradise. With a fascinating and unusual collection of beautiful, uncommon, and thought provoking books, Underground Books is sure to leave the serious book lover dizzy with serendipitous finds. The bookshop is literally underground, and patrons must descend a short staircase to enter the shop. A true community bookstore, the down payment for purchasing the building was raised completely from crowdfunding. Owners Josh Niesse and Megan Bell met just after Josh opened the shop in March of 2011, were married in May of 2014, and now operate their book business together, with Josh manning the shop and Megan cataloging the rare and antiquarian books for online sale. Both Megan and Josh have attended the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, Josh on a scholarship sponsored by AbeBooks in 2011. Underground Books is committed to creative reuse and upcycling, with journals made from damaged vintage books, magnets and pins made from their illustrations, and the shop’s signature piece, the book arch, made completely from books in poor condition.

We caught up with Megan for a quick Q&A about the world of book selling.

AbeBooks: How did you become a bookseller?

Megan: I was a freshman English major at our local university, when a friend told me a new bookstore had opened on our town square. I walked into Underground Books two weeks after Josh opened the doors and was immediately taken with the shelves and shelves of books, the cozy, quirky aesthetic, and the nerdy proprietor. Courting a bookstore owner ended up looking an awful lot like working in a bookstore—a definite perk! After graduating, I joined the shop full-time as the co-owner and resident cataloger. I love spending my days handling, researching, and playing with rare and antiquarian books!

AbeBooks: What do you love most about selling books?

Megan: Book people! Kurt Vonnegut once said, “By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.” The book-lover to book-lover relationship is an extension of this and is truly miraculous to us. It’s a joy to talk books all day, and it’s an honor to send a favorite book home with a new friend. I’m also a scholar at heart, and I love learning something new every day, whether it’s discovering the poets of Black Mountain College or learning that Frances E. Willard had a shepherd collie named Prohibition.

Vintage books on display at Underground Books.

Vintage books on display at Underground Books.

AbeBooks: What is the most prized item in your inventory? Why?

Megan: One of my personal favorites is The Greek Romances of Heliodorus, Longus, and Achilles Tatius. It’s an absolutely stunningly bound collection of these ancient, totally wild romances. Lovers in peril, bandits, nymphs, and the great god Pan—what more do you need? For Josh, it’s this Tamerlane Edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s collected works, thoroughly illustrated throughout by Frederick Simpson Coburn. We love the previous owner’s bookplates in this series—it looks like he had a photographer come to his library and take a snapshot of him looking very studious!

A bookplate from Underground Books' Tamerlane Edition of Edgar Allan Poe's collected works.

A bookplate from Underground Books’ Tamerlane Edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s collected works.

AbeBooks: What’s the one book you covet most? Why?

Megan: Last year, Bernard Quaritch held Frances Currer’s first edition copy of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds, the book Jane Eyre is reading at the beginning of the novel by Charlotte Bronte. Frances Currer was not only a distinguished book collector in a field dominated by men (Seymour de Rici called her “England’s earliest female bibliophile” in his history of collectors), but she patronized the school the Bronte sisters attended, and, though it’s not provable, it seems likely Charlotte chose her pen name, Currer Bell, in honor of Frances. All of the significance, literary history, women’s history, and mystery of this book just captivates me!

AbeBooks: What’s the oddest thing you’ve found in a book?

Megan: We have a collection of things we’ve found, and I’m partial to putting even grocery lists in it, but there’s definitely a front runner for weirdness. We recently found a signed pitch card of Tiny Lavonda, “the smallest woman in the world,” a sideshow performer with the Clyde Beatty circus in the ’40s. It shows her with her Chihuahua and has a poem written by her on the verso. It was so unexpected, and I love it so much; I don’t think I can part with it!

A peek inside Underground Books.

A peek inside Underground Books.

AbeBooks: What’s your most memorable moment as a bookseller?

Megan: We both agree it was attending the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, Josh in 2011 (on a scholarship from AbeBooks!) and Megan in 2014 (on an ABAA scholarship). It’s a challenging week, full of serious instruction from titans of book selling and librarianship, with vigorous learning, frantic note-taking, midnight talks with peers, and all the camaraderie of this trade. It’s a mountaintop experience.

AbeBooks: And of course, what’s your favorite book?

Megan: Josh’s background is in philosophy, but he’s a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut and other smart funny authors like Tom Robbins. Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael and James Howard Kunstler’s Geography of Nowhere had big impacts on him when he was young, and he still mentions them frequently. I love Margaret Atwood, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf…but it’s the Harry Potter series. I am devoted. I burst into tears when I found out we were going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I wrote an essay comparing CABS to Hogwarts for the Fine Books & Collections blog. I reread them every few years and find myself as immersed and enamored as I was at eight.

Flowers for a bibliophile, at Underground Books.

Flowers for a bibliophile, at Underground Books.

Celebrate UNESCO’s 2016 World Book & Copyright Day with ILAB’s Pop-up Book Fairs

Portland group

AbeBooks’ Jessica Doyle (far right) with the booksellers at the 2015 Portland, Oregon, pop-up rare book fair

April 23 is going to be another special day for booklovers. UNESCO’s 2016 World Book & Copyright Day will feature book-related events on a worldwide scale with ILAB’s contribution being a series of pop-up book fairs displaying rare and collectible books from the four corners of the Earth.

ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers) is repeating a successful program introduced in 2015 on World Book Day that put rare books in front of thousands of people. Last year ILAB activities raised more than 10,000 Euros for UNESCO’s Forest Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI), which provides literacy assistance to children in South Sudan.

This year’s program of pop-up book fairs is promising to be even better. They stretch from Australia to the United States and from the United Kingdom to Russia, and numerous other European countries.

Put the date in your diary or on your calendar. Find more details on the ILAB blog.


SYDNEY: The first ILAB pop-up fair on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day 2016 will be the final event of an international conference (Books: Still So Much to Learn and Discover) for librarians, booksellers and anyone interested in rare books held on 21-22 April at the State Library of New South Wales, and organized by the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB). The day after the conference booksellers will offer rare books, maps and ephemera at the NSW library.

DUNKELD & HAMILTON: Three Victoria booksellers in the Australian bush are raising funds in their bookshops in the weeks leading up to World Book and Copyright Day. Roz Greenwood and Marg Phillips of Roz Greenwood Old & Rare Books and Guy Hamilton of Bellcourt Books are leading the fundraising efforts.


The World Antiquarian Book Plaza in Tokyo will host a pop-up fair organized by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Japan (ABAJ). From Tokyo to Kyoto, Sapporo, Osaka and Kumamoto, Japanese rare book dealers will also decorate windows to raise money for UNESCO.


SEOUL, PUSAN & DAEGU: Find rare and fine books with pop-up fairs in these three Korean cities.


There will be a free appraisal day at the Moscow State University of the Printing Arts. Bring your books, maps, prints and autographs, and learn their value. There will also be a special exhibition and auction of books about books at bookshops in Moscow.


Antiquarian Auctions and Penguin Random House will host a talk with Susan Buchanan, author of Burchell’s Travels: The Life, Art and Journeys of William John Burchell, and other experts in the field.


BARCELONA: It is a tradition in Barcelona to offer a rose for every book bought on St Jorge’s Day, which coincides with World Book Day. ILAB bookseller Albert Casals and his colleagues will pop up at the famous La Ramblas, to show books and to raise money.

MADRID: April 23 marks the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Shakespeare and Cervantes. Don Quixote was printed in Madrid by Juan de la Cuesta. At Juan’s former house, Spanish booksellers will pop up and present rare editions of Don Quixote and other books about Spanish book history.


At Cabaret Voltaire, where Tristan Tzara, Jean Arp, Hugo Ball, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Marcel Janco and others founded the Dada movement in 1916, Swiss antiquarian booksellers will gather exactly 100 years later for a pop-up book fair. See a Dada performance and a presentation of rare first editions.


“Book Tales & Cocktails” was a major success last year, so Munich’s rare book dealers are repeating the event at Kaufmanns Casino, where 15 antiquarian booksellers from Bavaria will once again show extraordinary books. Enjoy music, drinks, finger food, and a lecture on “Early 20th Century German Publishing” by collector and publisher Klaus G. Saur.


Hungarian booksellers will hold a pop-up book fair at the Institute Cervantes to marks the 400th anniversary of the author’s death. Support literacy, see the Don Quixote exhibition and browse bibliophile treasures.


Enjoy free entry to the Salon International du Livre Rare & de l’Autographe in the Grand Palais on 23 April in exchange for a donation to UNESCO’s South Sudan literacy project. Look out for the Miguel de Cervantes exhibition.


AMSTERDAM: Frank Rutten, Sascha Kok and other Amsterdam booksellers are staging a ‘UNESCO Night of the Books’, with music and theater.

HAARLEM: Visit a pop-up book market on Kruisstraat in the historical centre of Haarlem.

GRONINGEN: Antiquariat Isis, ILAB’s only member in this part of Holland, is staging a special pop-up celebration at Folkingestraat in Groninge.


Antiquarian booksellers will pop up in the foyers of Copenhagen libraries.


STOCKHOLM: The Stockholm Culture Night celebrates art, music, dance and literature throughout the Swedish capital. Look out for Mats Petterson, Mats Rehnströhm and other Swedish booksellers popping up at the Royal Swedish Academy of Art to present treasures from the history of printing in Sweden.

LUND: Pierre Dethorey from Akarps Antikvariat at Kalkstensvägen 21 is organizing a special exhibition of more than 200 Swedish chapbooks and catch-penny-prints.


Booksellers from the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) and colleagues in the Provincial Booksellers’ Association (PBFA) will join together at one of Britain’s largest book fairs, the Oxford Premier Fair, on April 23 and 24, to support the UNESCO initiative.


CHICAGO: Kurt Gippert and fellow Windy City booksellers will hold a pop-up book fair overlooking Lake Michigan.

SEATTLE: ILAB booksellers will be in the Madison Room at the Sorrento Hotel for a pop-up book fair including a six-hour appraisal event.

PORTLAND, OREGON: Join ABAA bookseller Elisabeth Burdon of Old Imprints and some of her colleagues in celebrating the final ILAB event of World Book Day.

One Dog, Thousands of Books – O’Connell’s Bookshop in Adelaide

O’Connell’s Bookshop in Adelaide

O’Connell’s Bookshop is an Australian bookselling institution. Established in 1957 by Reg O’Connell, the bookstore is revered by book-lovers far beyond its surroundings of Bank Street in Adelaide, South Australia.

Adelaide’s oldest used and antiquarian bookshop is now at its fifth location. Its previous building was demolished to make way for a Holiday Inn. While other used bookshops have come and gone, O’Connell’s has displayed remarkable resilience.

Ben O’Connell and Oscar the dog

The dog in the picture sitting alongside owner Ben O’Connell is Oscar, a handsome whippet, who is at home among the bookshelves.

“Oscar has been in the shop since he was eight weeks old and he’s now three,” said Ben, who is Reg’s grandson. “He has many fans who come to visit him and bring him treats. We offer a vast range of books from recent releases to rare antiquities. One customer said we are ‘scholarly but not intimidating.”’

Ben adds that many famous figures have browsed the shop’s shelves including writer and feminist Germaine Greer, cultural critic Clive James, comedian Barry Humphries, author Richard Dawkins, cricketer Steve Waugh, broadcaster David Attenborough and rock group the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“We are very proud of the fact that we still have customers who’ve been coming to the shop for 40 or 50 years,” said Ben of this third generation family business.

Ben has a passion for antiquarian books but wasn’t afraid to introduce graphic novels to appeal to a different generation of readers.

Examples of the gems you’ll find inside O’Connell’s include Australiana, biographies, gardening and botany, and histories of New Zealand.

While browsing O’Connell’s Facebook page, we came across this wonderful picture of Clip and Groom Your Own Poodle – look at the gentleman on the cover image. What perfect hair for a dog groomer, and surely a candidate for our Weird Book Room.

Clip and Groom your own Poodle

Save the Date – Florida Antiquarian Book Fair March 11-13


35th Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

The 35th Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is just around the corner, are you planning on going? Hosted by the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association, the fair will take place at the The Coliseum in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg, Florida from March 11-13. From antique maps to prints, photographs, rare books, ephemera and more, you’ll find it all at this year’s fair!

Visitors to the fair will see a wonderful selection of books from booksellers from around the world. Rare books, reading copies and much more will be on display for all to see. This year, several AbeBooks booksellers will be attending the show with some of their most interesting items. Sellers include Books Tell You Why, ABAA, Bauman Rare Books, ABAAA. Parker’s Books, Inc., FABA, ABAAAll Booked UpAllington Antiquarian Books, LLCAmericana Books, ABAACarnegie Hill BooksWhitmore Rare Books, ABAA, and many more. To see the full list of vendors attending this fair, please click here.

AbeBooks is proud to be a sponsor of this book fair. If you’re in the area this weekend be sure to stop by!




February’s bestselling signed books

February's bestselling signed books

1. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

2. Morning Star: Book III of the Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown

3. The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco

4. The Drowned Detective by Neil Jordan

5. M Train by Patti Smith

6. In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

7. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

8. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

9. The Widow by Fiona Barton

10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Memories of reading To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I’ve read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird twice. I have no interest in reading Go Set a Watchman, and won’t be picking it up. My first encounter with Mockingbird came in the early 1990s when I was trying to read as many ‘classics’ as possible. Unlike Moby Dick and Heart of Darkness, I read To Kill a Mockingbird in a couple of sittings. You just can’t put that thing down and it’s tugging at your heartstrings all the way through. Joy, anger and frustration come through in equal measure.

Atticus. That character is a remarkable creation. Patient, brave, modest and wise. Even the name, Atticus Finch, is interesting. Harper Lee based the famous lawyer on her own father, Amasa Coleman Lee, who also represented black defendants. When I heard that Atticus was portrayed negatively in Go Set a Watchman my heart sank. A little bit of my reading history was spoiled.

Harper Lee in the 1960s

The whole Go Set a Watchman thing was rather sad and Lee’s publishers still look shady. Lee’s  literary legacy was already complete. She didn’t need to publish anything else. She had achieved as close to perfection as possible with To Kill a Mockingbird. The only people to benefit from this entire shambles were the publishers. Did Harper Lee, mostly blind and deaf, really know what the heck was going on?

I don’t usually reference movie adaptations when talking about books but the 1962 black and white film of To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck is also something special. It was regularly broadcast on Saturday afternoons on BBC2 in the UK while I was growing up. Peck was the perfect Atticus Finch. In 2002, the American Film Institute named Atticus as the greatest hero of American cinema. Peck won the Academy Award for Best Actor and Lee praised his performance for capturing every aspect of Finch’s quiet but strong character.

Nelle Harper Lee was born on 28 April in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She was the youngest of four children. Today, her death at the age of 89 was announced by the office of the Monroeville mayor. She was a Monroeville girl for her entire life. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Mockingbird, which went on to sell more than 40 million copies worldwide. The storyline covers race, class and the loss of childhood innocence. It’s regularly acclaimed one of the 20th century’s most powerful novels. Set in a small fictional town called Maycomb in the American South, a black man called Tom Robinson is accused of rape by a white woman. The story unfolds through Finch’s six-year-old daughter Scout. If you have never read the book, then find a copy, sit down and read it. The story is still relevant today – the writing will never leave you. You will always remember it.

Ultimate Survival Stories – Man vs. Nature

Wreck-Medusa-heroFor a story to engage a reader, conflict is essential. When the conflict involves man versus nature, it is guaranteed that the tale will be engrossing, horrifying and compelling. There have been countless stories of harrowing journeys, expeditions and conquests that prove humans have a strong desire to reach the uncharted, explore the unfamiliar, conquer the unknown and ultimately survive all that is thrown at them.

This genre of survival storytelling is utterly compelling with no shortage of captivating tales. Having just recently seen The Revenant – an ultimate survival story, our love of tales of survival has been rekindled. Like many of the books mentioned below, The Revenant is a tale that shows how far a human will go to survive against the odds. Freezing temperatures, inhospitable terrain, vicious animals, starvation, unquenchable thirst – these elements found in The Revenant are all integral ingredients for a good survival story.

There are some incredible stories of survival including Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston, and Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and Nathaniel Philbrick. But, have you read the story about the man whose sailboat sank in the Atlantic and spent 76 days drifting 1,800 miles in a five foot inflatable boat? Or the tale of a woman who falls 60 feet in the Sierra Mountains, breaks both of her legs but still manages to pull herself to safety? Or the classic tale of The Wreck of the Medusa where survivors of a 19th century shipwreck are forced on a makeshift raft where mayhem, mutiny and murder ensues?


Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan

This is a book that I tell everyone to read, it’s that good. This survival story is about a man whose boat sinks in the middle of the Atlantic, 800 miles west of the Canary Islands with nothing but a little bit of food and water – enough to last a few days. Steven Callahan spent 76 days adrift on the Atlantic in a tiny raft and lived to tell the tale.


Alive by Piers Paul Read

In 1972, a plane goes down in the snowy, remote peaks of the Andes. Only 16 of the original passengers survive for 10 weeks in frigid temperatures with no food. This is a terrifying tale but highlights the resilience of man’s will to survive.


Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldham Ashcraft

Tami and her fiancé set sail from Tahiti and all is good, until they meet a monster hurricane which destroys their boat. Oh, and her fiancé is missing.


Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg

It’s hard to say what would be more terrifying, adrift on an expansive ocean, or lost in a jungle. In this book, four travelers set out on an expedition in the Amazon rainforest but things quickly take a turn, for the worst. The group is split up and only some of them back it back.


Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King

Man’s will to survive is tested in this account of a crew who miraculously survives a shipwreck and finds themselves in a hot and desolate desert. They are starving, severely dehydrated, desperate to be found and are then robbed and enslaved. It’s a hard read, but thrilling to the end.


Angels in the Wilderness by Amy Racina

A hiking trip gone wrong, terribly wrong. Amy Racina was hiking by herself in California’s Sierra mountains when she fell 60 feet and broke both her legs. Yet, she manages to survive four days and nights and is eventually found and rescued.


Island of the Lost by Joan Druett

Shipwrecked on Auckland Island, a crew survives and thrives while another crew succumbs to starvation and cannibalism 20 miles away.


The Lost City of Z by David Grann

A man dedicates his life to finding a lost city – The City of Z, buried in the depths of the inhospitable Amazon jungle. Other people have spent a lifetime searching for evidence of Z and meet disease, starvation and death in their quest to locate the city.


Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff

A fascinating tale of survival in the harshest conditions. A US cargo plane crashes in Greenland and all survive. The plane sent to Greenland to rescue the men encounters its own problems. The men left alive are ill-equipped to survive 148 days in sub-Arctic weather – ferocious winds, freezing temperatures and white-out blizzards are just the beginning of their problems.


The Wreck of the Medusa by Jonathan Miles

Perhaps the most famous shipwreck of them all, The Wreck of the Medusa inspired the famous painting by Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa. After the boat sinks and the captain claims the lifeboats, the rest of the crew are left to survive on makeshift rafts – things get ugly and not everyone survives.

AbeBooks Sponsors the LA Art Book Fair


Guests at the LA Art Book Fair 2015

AbeBooks is pleased to be a sponsor at the LA Art Book Fair taking place this weekend (February 11-14) at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

Presented by Printed Matter, the LA Art Book Fair features over 250 booksellers, international presses, artists and independent publishers. Visitors to the fair will see an impressive selection of art catalogs, periodicals, monographs and zines. Several AbeBooks booksellers will be showcasing their items at the fair including Arcana: Books on the Arts, MODLITBOOKS, Derringer Books, 6 Decades Books, KARMA and 20th Century Art Archives.

AbeBooks is proud to sponsor a full day of Special Programming on Friday February 12. Sessions include Libros Mutantes (self-publishing in Spain), Showcase (a 60 minute audiovisual showcase hosted by Libros Mutates), Frieze magazine presents: Claire Evans and Martine Syms in Conversation and Billy Miller in conversation with William E. Jones.

If you’re in the LA area this weekend, be sure to visit the LA Art Book Fair.