Deja-Vu, Surely Not!

This may seem like deja-vu, but really it is my attempt at righting a terrible wrong that I have committed. My girlfriend, Ionia Martin of, pointed out to me, in her own inimitable fashion, that the original post yesterday was an extremely strong candidate for the most boring blog post ever award. Upon re-reading it I would actually go as far as to say that it would be a runaway winner of that particular award, were there one. I have to confess that I have no recollection of having written it at all. That being said, there is still no excuse for the pain that I must have inflicted on those of you that actually managed to reach the end, and for that I apologise.

The original idea of these posts regarding my book collection, was to attempt to instill in readers the profound joy that can be experienced collecting first editions, even on a limited budget. I guess that in order to do that, the post must not put those readers instantly to sleep. I will try again.

Naked lunch cover

So without further babbling, onto this week’s book, ‘The Naked Lunch’ by William Burroughs. This beat generation novel was originally intended to be called ‘Naked Lunch’, a title that was later used prominently in the US, although ‘The Naked Lunch’ remained common in Europe. The copy that I have is a first UK edition and has a pretty cool cover, as you can see. Since I haven’t read it yet, and I will not be reading this copy, I have to say that I hope you can judge a book by its cover. If so it will be a great read.

P1000048 P1000050

The boring details of this book, that I kind of like to know are, in short, that it was published in 1964 by John Calder (publishers) Ltd. Both the book and the dust cover are in pretty good condition. It is not price clipped and was originally available for 42s (shillings), I only wish that it had cost me so little, when I found it at the Cambridge book fair last year.


This old, yellowed, newspaper clipping (above) slating William Burrough’s book ‘Nova Express’, from what looks to be the Guardian Newspaper was tucked away inside. I doubt it affects things in any material way, but is interesting.

So hopefully a few more of you actually survived until the end of this post and I do hope you will comment, even if only to say, ‘thank fuck it wasn’t as boring as last time’.

271 thoughts on “Deja-Vu, Surely Not!

  1. Maybe I missed a post, but what about mentioning ways to get first edition books on a limited budget? Or how you came across what I assume are rare finds?

    Oh and thank fuck it wasn’t as boring as last time.


    • Thanks Charles I appreciate your comment, I really do. It was certainly a fucking boring post before.

      That’s a great idea about looking for first editions on a budget. I could write something about book scouting – charity shops etc. I found a very good first edition of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ at a hospital book sale for 50p and I reckon (I hope) is worth potentially 1000 times that.


      • Yes, I love your idea. Maybe a post on how to identify first editions, but that can be extremely difficult, certainly for older books, and I certainly wouldn’t claim to be an expert.

        It is definitely worth checking your parents library, they are often good places to find books that they bought new many years ago which may now have a reasonable financial value. Good luck, I hope you find a gem 🙂


      • It might not even be the expert or tricks that people pay attention to. The stories of your finds could be where people glean information that you didn’t even know was there. Happens all the time when I post about my self-publishing experience. Not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but people learn from my experiences.

        I’m scared to touch some of these books. Peter Pan and Mary Poppins look like they’re about to turn to dust.


      • Be very careful then. Sorry, I was distracted by Peter Pan and Mary Poppins. I think you have a good point. We can learn from other peoples experiences, whether they are experts or not. I suppose it makes it seem more real too.


      • Definitely a wise idea I think. Good luck. I hope they turn out to be treasures. I guess they have a story come with them too, that your parents can tell you about.


      • I’ve asked and they don’t know. My mom used to do editing for Playboy’s book publishing division and my dad used to work for Doubleday publishing. They got a lot of these books for free or found them lying around. Wish they kept a few contacts from those days.


      • Well if that’s the case it may be that they have some advance copies of things in their collection, which although not strictly first editions could have significant value if they were the right book/author.


      • True. My dad keeps talking about going through the collection, but I keep telling him not to sell anything unless I get first crack at it. A lot of these books I’d like to own simply to say I have them. That Peter Pan book and Mary Poppins are two examples.


      • Given your parents history it’s definitely worth trying to get in first before they sell anything. That’s the whole joy of collecting for me, having a book just for the sake of having it, the pleasure that it brings just having it.


      • I’m lucky they’re pack rats. Though, a quick glance says that the only first edition they have is ‘Immortal Wars: The Summoning’ and ‘Beginning of a Hero’. Those will get you a 1/4 stick of gum and you’d be owed change.

        They have a signed copy of Roots, which I’m not allowed to touch.


      • Well maybe those firsts are not yet valuable Charles, but give it a few years and I am sure that you will have the success that you deserve and their value will increase. I truly hope that you do.

        Probably worth taking good care of Roots too.


      • Roots is definitely on the good care list. As for my books, I’m not sure how first attempts sell. Though, somebody got their hands on Immortal Wars a few months back and decided to review it. Totally mortified.


      • I think that early works of some modern authors can be quite valuable. I guess that lot of it depends on the scarcity of the earlier works and the popularity of the author now. I suppose also that first works may have been great works too, but just never sold as they were by an unknown author.


      • So an early work that is out of print would be worth something, but one that you can still get would probably be worth less. Think I remember that rule from my comic book collecting days.


  2. Thank fuck it wasn’t as boring as last time.

    I have several first editions and other notable old books that I inherited from my Uncle Chuck. Wherever Chuck went, he went book hunting, but most of his books came from used book sales at his local library in Washington, D.C. and a couple used books stores he frequented in/around Mt. Dora, FL and the Florida Keys, where he spent part of the winters. Included are two E.B. White books, which I treasure. One, Stuart Little, I gave to some nieces/nephew; it was hard to part with it. The other, Charlotte’s Web, I have right here by my side. What a great gift to remember someone by. — niki


    • Thanks for commenting. You used the secret password too, excellent.

      I can think of nothing better than inheriting books. ‘Bah’ I say to the money. Give me books. The E.B White books sound great.Definitely worth treasuring


  3. An interesting post, in my opinion.
    I haven’t read the book but I want to. It is just that I don’t want to leave it in between unread, like I have left many similar books of that time.


  4. Based on your opening remarks I am so very glad that I missed your first post. “Thank fuck” I waited for the sequel, I found this quite interesting. By the way, this goes to show that when Ionia speaks people listen. 🙂


  5. Just compare your post to Vogon poetry. That will put it in much better light. 🙂 (If not for those Vogons, I wouldn’t have the courage to try my own hand at poetry every once in a while.)


  6. I would say ‘thank fuck it wasn’t as boring as last time’, but I actually did not find the last time to be boring. What does that say about me? I might have to rethink my desire to write about my inconsequential Modern Library editions for fear of incurring Ionia’s wrath 😉


  7. Pingback: Collection Book of the Week – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy | Julian Froment's Blog

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