It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s $3.2 Million

SUPERMAN-articleInline1938’s Action Comics No. 1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold for $3.207,852 to an unnamed buyer. Darren Adams the owner of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington posted it on eBay August 14. The original price for this comic in 1938 was 10 cents. It took just 48 bids to get from a starting price of 99-cents to it’s final sale. Mr. Adams told the Washington Post: “I actually held it for a few years–I was so excited about this book. And equally exciting to have a book of this condition is the fact that nobody knew it existed…till I made it known.” Read more here. Now don’t you wish you had saved your old comic books?

Laura

2014 PEN Literary Awards

30PEN-articleInlineWinners of the 2014 PEN Literary Awards were announced today by the PEN/American Center. Among the winners are poet Frank Bidart for his collection Metaphysical Dog (also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award); critic James Wolcott for Critical Mass (reviewed as “epic and epically rewarding”) and playwright David Rabe. Other winners include Linda Leavell for biography, Carl Hart for literary science and Ron Childress for socially engaged fiction (a prize founded by Barbara Kingsolver). The $25,000 award for Debut Fiction will be announced at the end of September. Read more about the awards in this NYT article.

Laura

2014 Booker Prize Longlist Announced

Books On Shelf In BookshopThis year is the first time the Man Booker Prize, United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary award is celebrating authors of literary fiction “whether from Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai.” Four American authors and one Irish-American writer are among the 13 finalists: Joshua Ferris for To Rise Again at a Decent Hour; Karen Joy Fowler for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; Siri Hustvedt for The Blazing World; Richard Powers for Orfeo and Joseph O’Neill for The Dog.  Other nominees include: Richard Flanagan (Australia), Howard Jacobson (Britain), Paul Kingsnorth (Britain), David Mitchell (Britain), Neel Mukherjee (Britain), David Nicholls (Britain), Ali Smith (Britain), Niall Williams (Ireland). The winner who will receive 50,000 pounds (about $85,000) will be announced in October. Read more in these articles from the NYT and NPR.

Laura

New Edition of Hemingway Novel

05SUNALSO-master495Scribner will be releasing a new edition of Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises in late July. The classic book begins with the line “Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton.” But the original opening began: “This is a novel about a lady.” The new edition with the discarded first chapter and alternate drafts and titles also includes Hemingway’s 1923 essay of his first visit to the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain. For more about the reissuing of this classic, see the NYT article. And check out the EPL catalog for Hemingway’s other works.

Laura

Nadine Gordimer, 1923-2014

15GORDIMER-master675South African writer Nadine Gordimer died today in Johannesburg at the age of 90. Known for her writings dealing with themes of injustice and cruelty in apartheid South Africa, Ms. Gordimer wrote more than two dozen works of fiction as well as essays and literary criticism. Three of her books were banned in her country – her second novel A World of Strangers (1958), The Late Bourgeois World (1966), and Burger’s Daughter (1979).  In 1974 she on the Booker Prize for The Conservationist and was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. She said it wasn’t her country’s problems that started her writing. “On the contrary, it was learning to write that sent me falling, falling through the surface of the South African way of life.”  She continued writing after apartheid, saying “it wasn’t apartheid that made me a writer, and it isn’t the end of apartheid that’s going to stop me.” Read the entire NYT article here and check the EPL catalog for works by this acclaimed author.

Laura

A Perfect “Cover Up” At The Morgan Library

GatsbytoGarpA new exhibit at New York’s Morgan Library & Museum features book jackets, first editions, galley proofs, and manuscripts from the Carter Burden Collection. Considered the book jackets’ golden age, the exhibition includes book covers from The Great Gatsby, Light in August, and Herzog as well as first edition copies of Henry James’s The Golden Bowl, Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, and Philip Roth’s Goodbye Columbus. The nearly 100 items in this literary exhibit were originally purchased by Carter Burden (a former NY City councilman) who began collecting in 1973 by acquiring  Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, and had “assembled the greatest collection of modern American literature in private hands.” You can read more about this “feast of first editions” in the NYTimes article here.

Laura

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1927-2014

Marquez-Gabriel-adv-obit-slide-LP84-superJumboNobel-Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez died today in Mexico City at age 87. The Colombian novelist “widely considered the most popular Spanish-language writer since Miguel de Cervantes in the 17th century,” was a master of the literary genre magic realism. In a 1984 interview with NPR, he said his writing was forever shaped by the grandparents who raised him as a young child:

“There was a real dichotomy in me because, on one hand … there was the world of my grandfather; a world of stark reality, of civil wars he told me about…. And then, on the other hand, there was the world of my grandmother, which was full of fantasy, completely outside of reality.”

His 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, which poet Pablo Neruda called “the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since Don Quixote” established him as a literary giant. Both the New York Times and NPR have in-depth coverage. And check out the EPL catalog for works by this revered author.

Laura

Peter Matthiessen, 1927-2014

Matthiessen-obit-4-master675Author and naturalist Peter Matthiessen died Saturday at his home in Sagaponack, New York at age 86. According to this fascinating NYT article, Mr. Matthiessen ” was a man of many parts: litterateur, journalist, environmentalist, explorer, Zen Buddhist, professional fisherman and, in the early 1950s, undercover agent for the Central Intelligence Agency in Paris.” He wrote more than 30 books, mostly nonfiction, and is the only writer to win the National Book Award in both fiction (Shadow Country) and nonfiction (The Snow Leopard).  His final novel In Paradise has just been published. You can read the entire NYT article here.  And check the EPL catalog for more works by this author.

Laura

PEN/Faulkner Fiction Prize

fowlerThe 2014 PEN/Faulkner prize for Fiction was awarded to NYKaren Joy Fowler for her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. The $15,000 prize will be presented at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington on May 10. A panel of three judges, including Madison Smartt Bell, Manuel Munoz, and Achy Obejas, chose the work from more than 430 novels and short story collections. According to a statement by Mr. Munoz: “Fowler captures an altogether new dimension of the meaning – and heartbreak – of family dynamics.” You can read more in this short NYT article.

Laura

PEN/Hemingway Award Winner

penhemNoViolet Bulawayo is the 2014 winner of the Hemingway Foundation’s PEN Award for her novel We Need New Names. The prize honoring best debut fiction was established in 1976 by Mary Hemingway in memory of her husband Ernest Hemingway. Along with the $10,000 award, the prize includes a one-week residence at the University of Idaho, and a fellowship at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming. Born in Zimbabwe in 1981, Ms. Bulawayo is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Read the NYT article here.

Laura