Collection Book of the Week – The Naked Lunch

Naked lunch cover

So here is part two in my series looking at the meagre contents of my collection of first edition books. For more general information please see my previous post here. So, in addition to the Enid Blyton books that we discussed, I enjoy Beat Generation authors, although I do not have many examples in my collection. I do however have a copy of the first UK edition of ‘The Naked Lunch’ by William Burroughs. Since it is only a first UK edition it is not worth anything like the original Olympia Press edition, the true first edition. It is, however, the book that I have spent the most on in my collection. This is one of my favourite collection books having a really interesting cover, although I confess I have never actually read the book itself. I do have a paperback copy that I am trying to get to.

P1000048 P1000050

So the UK first edition was published in 1964 by John Calder (publishers) Ltd. This copy is in pretty good condition with solid boards and no evidence of rolling of the spine. The dust cover is in pretty good condition too, although I have just noticed a small tear at the bottom, on the back, rather annoyingly. It is not price clipped and was originally available for 42s (shillings). I purchased this at the Cambridge Book Fair in 2012, an annual event that seems to exist purely to empty my wallet, every time I go. Oh, and there are lots of very cool books there too.

Another interesting thing about this book was that when examining it I found inserted between two pages an old, yellowed, newspaper clipping about William Burroughs from what looks to be the Guardian Newspaper. I am not sure of the date of that, but it was nice to find this extra little piece of history, despite it being an article slating Burrough’s book , ‘Nova Express’.


Hopefully this has been of some interest. Another exciting instalment next week. I am sure you can hardly contain your excitement. What shall I pick next, I wonder. Comments are always welcomed, as usual.

Poe and stuff

I have just finished reading ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ by Edgar Allan Poe. I had not read any of his work before and did not know what to expect. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this short story. For those of you who have not read it I would certainly recommend taking a look. It is short and takes only a few minutes to read, but is well worth it. The subject matter is a very interesting but I do not want to spoil it for anyone that would like to read it. It has certainly whetted my appetite for further reading of Poe’s works.

In addition to my interest in reading and writing I also have begun to collect books. I now have a small collection of Enid Blyton first editions. I mainly collect the adventure stories such as the famous five series, the adventure series, the mystery series and so on. I also pick up other random books when I find them. I am quite interested in the ‘beat generation’ writers and have a nice copy of the UK first edition of ‘The Naked Lunch’ by William Burroughs. I also found a first edition of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams that I picked up from a hospital charity sale for 50p, a bargain! Collecting means that I periodically visit book fairs around the country, charity shops, second-hand book shops and market stalls seeing what I can pick up. Not as often as I should I admit. Identifying bargains is often easier said than done, but I am always learning. It gives me immense pleasure to admire these books on my book shelves, although I never actually read any of them.

Enough for today. I am now going to read a little more of Proust before the Arsenal game starts. Back to work tomorrow.