The Avid Reader May 2008


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In This Issue:

» Books on Jazz

» Hit the Books, Jack: Signed Jazz Collectibles

» Shelf Talk: Train Tracks and Paperbacks

» April's Most Expensive Books Sold

» Notes from Avid Readers

» Contests

Dear Avid Readers, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Beth, and I'm new to the Marketing Department of AbeBooks, and to this role. From now on, I'll be putting together the Avid Reader newsletter. We'll still have the usual features, of course, but I might try something new here and there. If you have suggestions or questions about the Avid Reader, I'd love to hear from you. For now, I hope you like what you read - and keep on reading!

Every book lover has his/her own reasons for reading. For me, I read because I love the way it makes me feel. I love that books are powerful enough to draw me in, to paint pictures in my imagination, to take me somewhere else. That's my Passion for Books. The other passion that does that for me is music.

As a teenager, I rummaged through my parents' collection of vinyl and despite knowing nothing about jazz, discovered Billie Holiday, and fell in love. From there I explored the other women of jazz - Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and more…my stepdad has an especially impressive Sarah Vaughan collection. I eventually grew to love Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Gene Harris, Louis Armstrong…the list is lengthy and varied. By combining my love of reading books and listening to jazz, I'm pleased to dedicate this issue of the Avid Reader to books about jazz. Enjoy!

Dizzy Gillespie
Billie Holiday
Miles Davis
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Giants of Jazz  by Studs Terkel


Giants of Jazz - Revised Edition
by Studs Terkel

Louis "Studs" Terkel is likely best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good War. Giants of Jazz is his first book, originally published in 1956. It presents a dazzling collection of stories about some of America's greatest jazz musicians, accompanied by discographies and striking illustrations. Tracing humble beginnings to fame and fortune, Giants of Jazz showcases many of the most fascinating names in jazz, and how they became who they are today.

Included in its pages are 13 jazz legends: read about famed saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker and his influence on bebop, the composition and piano genius of Duke Ellington, how songbird Billie Holiday's vocal power grew, and more - and enjoy unforgettable photographs along the way.

As beautiful as it is informative, Giants of Jazz is a treat for any enthusiast of jazz or photography.

Showtime at the Apollo by Ted Fox


Showtime at the Apollo: 50 Years of Great Entertainment from Harlem's World Famous Theatre
by Ted Fox

Showtime at the Apollo is Ted Fox's story of the historic Apollo in New York City. The venue originally opened in the late 19th century, and through many repairs, refurbishments and grand re-openings, is still in business today. You can find the Apollo in Harlem, one of the most widely known African-American neighborhoods in the United States.

In 1934, a then 17-year-old Ella Fitzgerald made her public vocal debut at the Apollo. Other jazz greats to have graced its stage include Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Bessie Smith, Fats Waller and more.

Throughout the pages of Fox's book one will find countless anecdotes and stories about the iconic cultural institution, as well as 150+ gorgeous photographs, many never published elsewhere.

Other recommended jazz-related titles

Talking Jazz by Max Jones Groovin' High: The Life of Dizzy Gillespie by Alyn Shipton Newport Jazz Festival 1956 by Stanley Kreshower Presenting Louis Armstrong and His All Stars by Louis Armstrong
Hit the Books, Jack

And of course, for the true jazz aficionado, what could be better than owning something unique and personal to add to your jazz collection? Signatures and inscriptions can make an ordinary book extraordinary, special, one-of-a-kind. Look at these brilliant books and ephemera - each signed or inscribed with a message from the author or even the musician in question.

Oscar Peterson: The Will to Swing by Gene Lees Signed Photo of Louis Armstrong Musica Negra by LeRoi Jones and Amiri Baraka Of Minnie The Moocher & Me signed by Cab Calloway
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Train Tracks and Paperbacks
by Richard Davies - PR Manager; Resident Brit.

Have you ever lost something and then rediscovered it? I lost my love for books at the age of 18 when I left home and went to college. For around eight years, I didn't pick up a book. Until leaving home, I had read extensively thanks to parents who thrust books into my hands and the fact I lived in the countryside where there wasn't much to do in the evenings. I found myself in a big city with multiple distractions and that's my excuse. I had other things to do - pubs, movies, parties, sport. You know what I mean. Even after graduation, books weren't around as I began my working life - more pubs, movies, parties, sport.

The tipping point came in August 1996 when I was tempted to go and work in the metropolis of London. For the first time, I was taking public transport, namely the Tube, to work each day rather than driving. After about two days of mind-numbingly dull travel in overcrowded and unreliable Underground carriages, I got home and begged my housemate for a book to read. She handed me Primary Colors by Anonymous (a novel clearly based on Bill Clinton's life) and said it was worth a read. Bam! Reading on the Tube was amazing. I kept missing my stop because I was so engrossed in the book. At the end of the week, I thought it might be a bit cheeky to borrow another book so I bought Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. Fantastic - a book about loving sport. And then I bought High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. Fantastic - a book about loving music and making lists. Those Tube journeys flew by and I never left home without a book in my bag. In fact, I couldn't wait to board the train and whip out my latest read, though I'd always glance to see what other folks were reading.

An added bonus of reading on the train was that I could use the book to protect me from the legions of traveling weirdos. It was a mighty wall of impenetrable literature and I wasn't going to let any drunks, druggies or general all-round nutters talk to me. However, I always wanted to talk to the pretty girls who were reading something decent, but didn't want to become one of the Tube weirdos. I'd consider saying something like....."So don't you find Roddy Doyle's books really depressing and would you like to go for a drink tonight? By the way, I'm not a weirdo and I like books too."

I haven't stopped reading since then so thank heavens for public transport - simply the best place to read. Nowadays I'm back in the car (sometimes the bicycle) so I look back very fondly on that week when I rediscovered books. Sometimes sends me to a book fair - a nine-hour flight to the UK with no children around. Oh deep joy! Plus all that time hanging around the airport. By the time we land, my eyes are bleeding from such an uninterrupted stint of reading. Now that's entertainment.

Are you addicted to reading on public transport? Tell us about your experiences of reading on trains, planes, and buses......

More words about books have been scattered on Reading Copy, the AbeBooks Blog.

Shelf Talk: Train Tracks & Paperbacks
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Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables A century ago Lucy Maud Montgomery took the world by storm with her debut novel. An immediate bestseller, Anne of Green Gables concerned an 11-year-old red-haired orphan named Anne Shirley and her life in the village of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island off Canada's east coast.

Learn more about Anne of Green Gables

High School and College Yearbooks

High School and College Yearbooks Who doesn't remember receiving their yearbooks in high school? Collecting signatures could hold as much political importance as where one sat in the cafeteria, and be a nerve-wracking exercise in deciding how one was to be remembered. Even famous folk went through it-and now, their annuals are of great interest to a certain set of collectors.

Read entire article

75th Anniversary of the Nazi Book Burnings

75th Anniversary of the Nazi Book Burnings It was in 1933 that the Nazis publicly burned thousands and thousands of books. The audacious display of control and tyranny is still remembered today, as the right to freedom of thought was threatened.

Keep reading

Bestsellers for April

  1. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
    Junot Diaz
  2. A New Earth
    Eckhart Tolle
  3. The Purpose-Driven Life
    Rick Warren
  4. Delta Wedding
    Eudora Welty
  5. The Great Gatsby
    F. Scott Fitzgerald

See the whole list on our homepage.

Most Expensive Books Sold in April

  1. Autographed Letter
    Edward Lear - $11,491
  2. Biblia Latina
    Johannes Herbort de Seligenstadt - $10,808
  3. Historia Plantarum Universalis
    Johann Bauhin - $10,256
  4. Primo Tentativo di un Catalogo Generale delle Monete Medievali e Moderne Coniate in Italia o da Italiani in Altri Paesi
    Corpus Nummorum Italicorum - $7,500
  5. Viaggio Negle Stati Uniti Dell`America Settentrio
    Luigi Castiglioni - $7,500

See the whole list.

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Current AbeBooks Contests

Win a Bundle of Books.

Our Bundle of Books Contest continues and as an Avid Reader subscriber, you are already entered. This month's bundle is all jazz-related, of course - lovely to look at, fascinating to read, and they might inspire you to listen, too.

See May's Bundle of Books!

The Man Behind the Curtain:
Words from the AbeBooks Staff

Have you ever wondered about the folks behind the web site? What we're like, what we like? It takes panache, personality and pizzazz to be a part of the AbeBooks team, and we have it in spades. And of course, there's no shortage of book lovers here, either. Interested in what we have to say? You can find a lot of our words on Reading Copy, the AbeBooks Blog. Still want more? Looking for a Recommendation? We have staff picks, too.

Current Promotions

May's featured best buy is Randy Pausch's moving and unforgettable The Last Lecture, which details the author's own attempts to leave meaningful, loving words behind for his children, after he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Readers everywhere have been touched and inspired by Pausch's story, and his love for life and his family.

"I talked about honesty, integrity, gratitude, and other things I hold dear. And I tried very hard not to be boring."

Brand new copies of the hardcover are available for $11 - a 49% savings off the list price! Visit our Best Buys page.

Talk to Us

Thoughts? Comments? Witty anecdotes? We'd love to hear them.

Let us know what's on your mind.


Notes from Avid Readers

We'd like to express our gratitude to everyone who took the time to write in and talk about their collections of magazines and ephemera. We love hearing from our readers, and get so many great ideas from what you have to say. Please keep it coming!

Some years ago (in the mid-1970's) while I was a member of the local Jaycees, we ran a recycling center for the community. At the time, it was one of the longest running Jaycee projects in the country. During the run of the project we managed to amass quite a collection of old Playboy magazines, everything from issue 2 up. When we closed the center (the city cancelled our lease in favor of a historical museum) we sold the collection for enough money to buy the city a (slightly used) truck!

Speaking of magazines. I wish I still had my collection of the magazine, Outdoor Photographer. I purchased the first issue off the rack sometime in the mid 80's. I subscribed and kept every issue, moving them from state to state. Finally with my last move I said "enough" and tossed them. My greatest regret is that I can not go back and re-read the columns written by Galen Rowell. He was a wonderful photographer and sadly is no longer alive to pass on his insight.

When our first daughter was born in 1946, a friend gave us a copy of "Stork Bites Man" by Louis Pollock. We enjoyed it very much, and wrote our names in it, along with our daughter's name, as I recall. As our friends began to have their first kids, we would loan the book to them; when they returned it, we wrote their names in the book. After 10 or so couples, we loaned the book to someone and never got it back. Not long ago, I found a copy of the book at Acres of Books in Long Beach and treasure it as a memory of my deceased wife.

I have all 5 issues of "Big Table" magazine. Although it ran only five issues from 1959 to 1960, the magazine was startlingly astute in representing new and often risky writing.

I have mostly complete years (1943-44-45) of Encore, an anthology magazine (digest sized) that I treasured and lamented when it vanished from the scene. Not sure if I want to get rid of my unbound copies, for they remain highly enjoyable, but sooner or later they must go. And not to the trash!

About 20 years ago, the high school where I worked was given a complete set of Life Magazines - first to last, no gaps. I almost talked them out of it, but they decided to hold on to them. (Eventually, they had them bound by year, and use them as reference material.) But, along with the Lifes came a "why on earth would we want these?" batch of Fortune Magazines dating from the early 30's to about 1950. Not complete, but probably a total of 70-80 magazines. They were happy to get rid of those, and - pack rat that I am - I was happy to help. Of course, when I got them home, I found I had no place for them. So...after reading most of the major stories, I took my little X-Acto knife and sliced out what I thought were the interesting ads, and trashed the rest. DOH! Yes, I have a gorgeous professionally framed at great cost ad for the Scarab automobile (as far as I know, it appeared in only one issue), and several as yet unframed tobacco ads (they were soooo stylish!). Fast forward 5-7 years. At a local antique show, I discovered that even the most mundane issue of Fortune from the 30's was a $12-15 item. I never looked for more price information, since I didn't really want to know how big my goof was. I really love ephemera, but I refuse to collect it, because I know that once I start, there'll be no stopping me, and I love my wife more than paper (most of the time!) She's hinted strongly that, until I weed through my cameras, tins, and cigarette lighters, and get the family photos and genealogy materials organized, there will be NO new collections. But I can dream...

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."   - ALBERT EINSTEIN

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