Archives for first editions

First Edition ‘It’ by @StephenKing #oldbooks #bookcovers

Published in 1986, It was Stephen King’s 22nd book and the 17th written under his name. His first published novel, Carrie, appeared in 1973 though it was actually the fourth he wrote, on a a portable typewriter belonging to his wife. It tells of seven children as they are terrorized by an evil entity that exploits the fears of its victims to disguise itself while hunting its prey. I have read it once, in my twenties, and it terrified me. I was unable to sleep for days afterwards and have not seen the films, though I still own the paperback. My paperback [above] is the 1987 New English Library edition with the cover line ‘The Terrifying New Bestseller’. The first edition [above left] was first published in the USA by Viking on September 15, 1986. King first thought of the story in 1978 and began writing it in 1981. His original concept was that the title character would live in the local sewer system, inspired by the Norwegian folk tale Three Billy Goats Gruff, who lived beneath a bridge. The current UK edition [above] is published by Hodder. BUY THE BOOK The story During a heavy rainstorm, six-year-old Georgie Denbrough
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Categories: Book Love.

First Edition ‘Lucky Jim’ by Kingsley Amis #oldbooks #bookcovers

Kingsley Amis’s comic novel Lucky Jim, his debut novel, won the 1955 Somerset Maugham Award for Fiction. First published in the UK in 1953 by Victor Gollancz, followed in the US a year later. Famous for its slapstick set pieces, Lucky Jim regularly appears on ‘greatest novels’ lists. The current edition by Penguin Modern Classics [below] dates from 2000. BUY The story Jim Dixon is a lecturer in medieval history at a red brick English university, he is on probation and afraid of losing his job. To establish his credentials he must publish a learned article but discovers that the editor, to whom he submitted it, has swiped it as his own and translated it into Italian. Jim’s on-off girlfriend Margaret tries emotional blackmail at a house party, a tactic which backfires when Jim takes a liking to another girl, Christine. The action climaxes at a lecture which Jim must give on ‘Merrie England’. Nervous, he has one too many drinks beforehand to calm his nerves, denounces arty pretentiousness, and passes out. Other editions And my copy? Here it is. Films Starring Ian Carmichael as Jim, the 1957 film of Lucky Jim was directed by John Boulting and also starred Terry Thomas and
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Categories: Book design and Book Love.

First Edition ‘Lord Jim’ by Joseph Conrad #oldbooks #bookcovers

Born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857 in Stolen Lands, Ukraine [then part of the Russian Empire, but once part of Poland] Joseph Conrad finally setted in England after living in Poland and France. On July 2,1886 he applied for British nationality, which was granted on August 19, 1886.Lord Jim was first published in the UK in 1900 by William Blackwood & Sons, having being serialised the previous year in ‘Blackwood’s Magazine’. There are many literary and film references to the novel. ‘Lord Jim’ is the name of a boat, and subsequently the nickname of the boat’s owner, Richard Blake, in Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald, winner of the Booker Prize in 1979. Read my review of Offshore. In 1998, Lord Jim appeared at number 85 in American publisher Modern Library’s list of the One Hundred Best English Language Novels in the 20thCentury. The current Penguin Classics edition [above] dates from 2007. BUY The story An English boy in a simple town has dreams bigger than the outdoors and embarks at an early age into the sailor’s life. The waters he travels reward him with the ability to explore the human spirit, while Conrad launches the story into both an
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Categories: Book Love.

First Edition: Jurassic Park

First published in the USA on November 20, 1990, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton would, like HG Wells and Jules Verne, bring science fiction to the masses and to the movie screen. The book actually started life as a screenplay written in 1983 in which a graduate student creates a dinosaur. Then, given the fact that genetic research is expensive and there was no need to create a dinosaur, Crichton changed the story so the dinosaurs were made to put into an entertaining wildlife park. Another thing changed from first to final draft was the point of view: originally it was told from a child’s viewpoint, but Crichton changed it when everyone who read the draft felt it would be better told by an adult. A signed US 1st edition [above] is for sale [at time of going to press] on eBay for $225. Read more about the first edition of the 1991 UK hardback edition [below] published by Century at Biblio.  The story Following strange animal attacks in Costa Rica and nearby island Isla Nublar, one of the animals involved is identified as an extinct dinosaur. Palaeontologist Alan Grant and paleobotanist Ellie Satler are asked to confirm this, but are
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Categories: Book Love.

First Edition: Watership Down

It is a book which begun as a tale told by a father to his two daughters. Surely everyone has read Watership Down by Richard Adams. The story In Southern England lives at Sandleford Warren, a community of rabbits. They live in their natural environment but anthropomorphized so they have their own voices, culture, language, proverbs and mythology. This is a book which rewards re-reading. Fiver, the runt of the litter, is also a seer. When he forsees the destruction of their warren, Fiver and and his brother Hazel try to convince the other rabbits to flee with them. Unsuccessful, they set out on their own with 11 other rabbits to search for a new home. Hazel, previously an unimportant member of the warren, finds himself leader of the group. Fiver has visions about a safe place to settle, and so they find Watership Down. But still, they are not safe. First UK edition The first UK edition was published in November 1972 by Rex Collings. At the time, Collings famously wrote to an associate, “I’ve just taken on a novel about rabbits, one of them with extra-sensory perception. Do you think I’m mad?” The book took Adams two years to
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Categories: Book Love.