AbeBooks' Reading Copy

AbeBooks book blog

Advanced Search Browse Books Rare Books Textbooks
Advanced Search

Bettie Page and the pin-up photography of Bunny Yeager

Bunny Yeager's Beautiful BacksidesBunny Yeager – the pin-up model turned pin-up photographer – died earlier this week at the age of 85. Yeager is particularly famous for her work with Bettie Page, whose career she helped to launch.

When she was 17 her family moved to Florida and she began working as a model. In 1953 she began taking photography night classes. For an assignment, she took photos of friends dressed in leopard-print swimsuits and one of her images was used on the cover of Eye magazine, kick-starting her professional career behind the camera.

She also took the still images of Bond girl Ursula Andress, in a cream bikini, in the 1962 007 movie Dr. No. Yeager’s peak came in the 1950s and 1960s.

More than 20 books of her photography were published between the mid-1960s to 2012 ranging from instructional guides for glamour snappers to glossy modern tributes.

Someone who is serious about Yeager’s work with Bettie Page can pick up this contact sheet for $6,000.

Books by and about Bunny Yeager

100 Girls by Bunny Yeager

How I Photograph Myself by Bunny Yeager

How I Photograph Nudes by Bunny Yeager

Camera in the Caribbean by Bunny Yeager

How to Photograph the Female Figure by Bunny Yeager

Bunny Yeager’s Photo Studies by Bunny Yeager

The Art of Glamour Photography by Bunny Yeager

Camera in Jamaica by Bunny Yeager

Bunny Yeager’s Bikini Girls of the 1950s

Bunny Yeager’s Flirts of the Fifties

Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom: Pin-up Photography’s Golden Era by Petra Mason

“in Wonderland” – a library of book titles inspired by Lewis Carroll

A signed copy of P.G. Wodehouse’s Barmy in Wonderland has sold for $1,267 (around £750) on AbeBooks.com. The book is a first edition published in April 1952 and has been signed by the author to his bibliographer, David Jasen, “To David, from Plum, P. G. Wodehouse”.  The novel was published as Angel Cake in the US a month after the UK edition.

The main character of Barmy in Wonderland is Cyril ‘Barmy’ Fotheringay-Phipps, who makes appearances in several Jeeves stories, and the book details his misadventures in the world of theatre. Wodehouse adapted Barmy in Wonderland from a play, The Butter and Egg Man, by George S. Kaufman.

Although I scan our most expensive sales on a daily basis, this one jumped out because of the book’s title. I wondered how many books have the words ‘in Wonderland‘ in their title? The answer is many – Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has inspired countless books. Clearly, Alice is not alone in visiting Wonderland. Here is a brief selection of ‘in Wonderland’ titles (although I have decided not to list “in Wonderland” erotica).

Shadows in Wonderland: A Hospital Odyssey by Colin Ludlow

Ali in Wonderland by Ali Wentworth

Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade of Club Culture by Sheryl Garratt

Lights Out in Wonderland by DBC Pierre

Pinocchio’s Adventures in Wonderland by Collodi

Cubby in Wonderland by Frances Joyce Farnsworth

Albert in Wonderland by Mary Agnes Connelly Ryan

Harris in Wonderland by Philip Reid

Yankees in Wonderland by Frank Woodford

An Outlaw in Wonderland by Lori Austin

Mr Tompkins in Wonderland by George Gamow

The Engineer in Wonderland : The 1966-67 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures by E.R. Laithwaite

Elvis in Wonderland by Bob Jope

Frankie in Wonderland: With Apologies to Lewis Carroll, the Originator and Pre-Historian of the New Deal by A. Tory

Copy of first Playboy Magazine sells for $2,000

A copy of the first ever Playboy Magazine, published in December 1953, has sold for $2,000 on AbeBooks.com. Aside from being a landmark moment in popular culture, the magazine famously features Marilyn Monroe on the cover (clothed) and on the centerfold (naked) against a red velvet background.

This issue is undated and cost 50 cents at the time. Apparently 53,991 copies were printed. The magazine had been produced by Hugh Hefner from his kitchen.

This is the only time that I have heard of a copy of the first Playboy for sale on AbeBooks since I joined in 2005, and it’s by far the most expensive copy of the magazine to sell through this marketplace. I think $2,000 might be a bargain.

Remembering Farley Mowat

Farley Mowat, the Canadian author, died last Wednesday, at the age of 92. I had not heard of him before moving to Canada but now I feel sad that Canada has lost one of its great writers of modern times. I have read three of his books – Cry Wolf, read aloud as the book at bedtime for my oldest daughter, The Desperate People (the follow up to People of the Deer) and A Whale for the Killing. All three are remarkable books with the capacity to make the reader think about nature.

How many authors have had their work debated in Parliament? Not many. People of the Deer was a Canadian sensation and raised awareness about the plight of the aboriginal people in this country. Cry Wolf is simply a beautiful book that appeals to children – it was the first piece of non-fiction I ever read to my daughter at bedtime and we were both fascinated by his stories of the wilderness.

I read a A Whale for the Killing just last year. It’s a stunning account of a trapped whale in Newfoundland and the cruelty it is subjected to. Everyone should read it. Mowat and his wife effectively sacrificed their home and their life in Newfoundland in order to try and save the whale. It’s a book that will make you very, very sad.

There is much to read about Mowat himself since his death, not all of it positive.

Signed copies of Mowat’s books are now becoming rather scarce.

The Best Books from British Columbia

The Sky is Falling by Kit PearsonBritish Columbia’s top authors, poets, and illustrators were honored this past weekend at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala in Vancouver, BC.  Established in 1985, the BC Book Prizes consists of seven annual prizes, including prizes for fiction, poetry, and children’s literature. AbeBooks is a proud sponsor of the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.

This year’s big prize, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, was awarded to beloved children’s author Kit Pearson.

In a career spanning three decades, Kit Pearson has demonstrated mastery in that most traditional of genres, the novel for young readers. In both her fantasies and her historical fiction she looks to the past: to Canada’s war guests, to the War of 1812, to Alberta in 1949, and to Mayne Island in the 1930s. She sees children as those residents of the past who are largely overlooked in the story of where we have come from.

- Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence jury

2014′s BC Book Prizes winners include CBC celebrity Grant Lawrence. David Stouck’s biography of architect Arthur Erickson took home two awards. Keep reading for the the complete list of prizes and winners.

BC Book Prizes

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize: Anatomy of a Girl Gang by Ashley Little

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize: Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life by David Stouck

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize: The Place of Scraps by Jordan Abel

Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize: Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life by David Stouck

Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize: The New Normal by Ashley Little

Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize: How To, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award: The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie by Grant Lawrence

Pelican Books: The Flock Flies Again

Pelican Books

Created by Penguin Books, the Pelican Books imprint began in May of 1937, just two years after Penguin was founded.  Like Penguin, Pelican Books was born to fill a hole – in this case, affordable educational texts. The first title to boast the Pelican logo was The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism & Fascism by George Bernard Shaw. It was the first of thousands of Pelican titles to be published over the imprint’s 50 year lifespan. In the late 80s, Penguin discontinued Pelican Books after a slow decline in non-fiction sales.

Now, almost 30 years later, Pelican Books are spreading their wings for a second time. Today five new titles will adorn Pelican’s trademark blue cover. Unlike many of their predecessors, each new title has been originally commissioned.

Best known for his book How Many Friends Does One Person Need?, evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar discusses what makes us human in Human Evolution.

Economics: A User’s Guide is Ha-Joon Chang’s myth-busting introduction written for the general reader.

Scholar Melissa Lane talks history and politics in Greek and Roman Political Ideas.

Orlando Figes serves up a timely history lesson in Revolutionary Russia, 1891-1991.

The Domesticated Brain by award-winning psychlogist Bruce Hood explains the mysteries of the human brain.

For more on vintage Pelican, check out Pelican Books: A Flock of Non-Fiction on AbeBooks.

Another hidden gem for bibliophiles: Bryn Mawr Bookstore

The Bryn Mawr Bookstore in Cambridge received a glowing write-up in the Boston Globe over the Easter weekend.

The problem with a secret is that once you tell it, it isn’t one anymore. The Bryn Mawr Book Store in Cambridge is under the radar, and I like it that way. It’s quiet, it’s small, it has a gazillion books, its prices are low, and it doesn’t have that picked-clean feeling you sometimes sense in a used bookstore, as if all the good finds have already been found. There. I’ve told you.

The shop’s entire stock is donated and all proceeds go to providing scholarships for prospective Bryn Mawr College students. They are listing more than 4,800 books on AbeBooks, including some interesting rare books. There is a signed first edition of DNA: The Secret of Life by pioneering scientist James D Watson, a signed first of In the American West 1979-1984 by photographer Richard Avedon and a signed first edition of Love Medicine by novelist Louise Erdrich.

Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar 2014 contest

Are you thinking of becoming a rare bookseller? Or have you just started to sell collectible books? The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar is a week-long educational event held in Colorado Springs in August, 2014 for booksellers, librarians and collectors that offers expert discussion about rare books.

This is your opportunity to enter for a chance to win admission to attend the event, including instructional materials, breakfasts and lunches, and accommodations. There will be two lucky winners. Each prize package is worth U.S. $1,610.00. Transportation to and from the event is not included.

More details about the contest.

Contest rules.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the giant of Latin American literature, dies at 87

Gabriel García Márquez has died at the age of 87 in Mexico City. The Nobel Prize-winning author was one of the most influential Latin American authors of recent times. The writer had recently been hospitalized for a lung and urinary problems, but was released last week.

His best known books are Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Love in the Time of CholeraAutumn of the Patriarch and his classic 1967 novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, which has sold millions of copies around the globe.

García Márquez, known as ‘Gabo’, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982 and known for his left-leaning views, which included supporting Cuba’s Fidel Castro and opposing America intervention in various world issues.

Born in Aracataca in Colombia in 1927, he was the eldest of the 11 children.  With his parents away attempting to earn a living, he was raised by his grandparents for the first 10 years of his life and their storytelling inspired many of his own stories.

Aracataca became the model for ‘Macondo’ – the village surrounded by banana plantations at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains where One Hundred Years of Solitude is set.

García Márquez carved out a career in journalism, and was equally at home writing non-fiction and short stories although it was his novels that earned him worldwide fame. He became part of a literary clique called the Barranquilla Group, a loose association of writers and thinkers that inspired him and alerted him to authors that rarely saw much light in Latin America such as Virginia Woolf.

The work of William Faulkner heavily influenced Garcia Marquez and he wrote his first novel, Leaf Storm, at the age of 23 although it took several years before it was published in 1955.

The idea for One Hundred Years of Solitude came to him during a road trip to Acapulco. The novel is a multi-generational epic, describing the story of the Buendía family, in the town of Macondo. The novel’s first printing in Spanish sold out within a week, and the book went on to sell more than 20 million copies. It has been translated into many languages and is essential reading for any lover of literature.

Love in the Time of Cholera further cemented his reputation after being published in 1986. It is a love story about a couple, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, and their trials and tribulations after Fermina’s father intervenes in their relationship. The novel compares lovesickness to an actual illness. Many literary critics have argued that Garcia Marquez was the best writer in Spanish since Cervantes.

Signed copies of his books are not plentiful. Prices start at $375.

Novels and Novellas by Gabriel García Márquez

Leaf Storm (1955)
No One Writes to the Colonel (1961)
In Evil Hour (1962)
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975)
Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981)
Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)
The General in His Labyrinth (1989)
Of Love and Other Demons (1994)
Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2004)

Short Story Collections by Gabriel García Márquez

Eyes of a Blue Dog (1947)
Big Mama’s Funeral (1962)
The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother (1978)
Collected Stories (1984)
Strange Pilgrims (1993)

Non Fiction by Gabriel García Márquez

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor (1970)
The Solitude of Latin America (1982)
The Fragrance of Guava (1982) with Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza
Clandestine in Chile (1986)
News of a Kidnapping (1996)
A Country for Children (1998)
Living to Tell the Tale (2002)

The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2013

The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2013

The American Library Association has released its 10 most challenged books of 2013.  The ALA defines a challenge as an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. In 2013, these 10 books were challenged the most:

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.

Of challenges, the ALA has this to say,

Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

For more from AbeBooks on the controversy of banning books, check out our feature on the most notorious books, and watch our short video about the most famous censored and banned books.

Switch to our mobile site