Collection Book of the Week – Go Ahead Secret Seven

This week’s riveting installment of my ‘Collection Book of the Week’ series will have to be quick as I am rather pushed for time, so I apologise for any errors, or any of those lapses into boringness that we all know I am capable of. Still, I know that there will be many frustrated and disappointed readers out there if I fail to post this week, so here we go. This week sees the featuring of a book from yet another series of Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure stories. Thus far we have seen examples of books belonging to ‘The Famous Five’, ‘The Adventure Series’ and ‘The Mystery Series’. There remains one other major series of Enid Blyton’s children’s adventures that I collect, ‘The Secret Seven’.

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This week’s book of choice is ‘Go Ahead Secret Seven’, the fifth book in the original series of fifteen stories. In addition to these fifteen books, Enid Blyton wrote two books featuring Peter and Janet, the founders of the Secret Seven. ‘At Seaside Cottage’ was set prior to the formation of the Secret Seven, which was formed in ‘The Secret of the Old Mill’. There were, I believe, a number of other stories written in French, by Evelyne Lallemand, many years later. I do not consider them related in any way to the original series, and so that is all the information regarding them that you will get from me.

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Now for the usual boring facts about my copy. I purchased this book from a book fair held at British Motorcycle museum in Birmingham in 2012. It is a first edition, published by the Brockhampton Press in 1953 and originally sold for 6s. The book itself is in pretty good condition and is very solid. The dust cover is also in good condition, with some very minor wear on the corners and spine. As is usual with the Enid Blyton books of this era, there are some really nice illustrations, both as part of the dust cover and internally. The illustrator for this book was Bruno Kay.

So, if you are still awake, prepare for extreme disappointment. There will be no ‘Collection Book of the Week’ post next week. I repeat, NO  post next week. Do not despair however, stop whining, stop wringing your hands in misery, stop wailing in grief. Everything will be alright. I have a different type of post lined up for your enjoyment. It is intended for the 11th August, and that is all I can reveal at the moment.

Comments always welcome.

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 Readfulthingsblog.com, 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.

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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.

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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’.

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.

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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’.

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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.

Collection Book of the Week – Five go to Mystery Moor

As most of you know, I enjoy books, not in any creepy or immoral way, naturally, but I do enjoy real books. The smell, the feel and the look of them on my shelf. A couple of years ago I decided to start trying to build a small collection of first editions. I have always been interested in Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure stories and decided that I would see if I could start acquiring some of these. I now have a very small collection of first editions, built around Enid Blyton books, along with a few other random books that I have picked up here and there.

I thought that I would like to feature one book from my meagre collection each week and include some pictures and some brief information about where I acquired it and any relevant information about it. Hopefully this will interest some people and if anyone has any ideas about further information that they would like to see included please let me know in the comments. I will call this series of posts ‘Collection Book of the Week’, I think. The order will be totally at random.

Since I make no claims of being in any way an expert, if anyone notices any false or incorrect information please let me know. Sometimes identifying true first editions can be very tricky and most of my information has come from internet searches and from talking to dealers at book fairs. Obviously I would prefer it that you told me something I thought was only worth a few pounds was actually worth thousands, rather than the more likely reverse situation, but either way I would like to know.

So unsurprisingly we will start with an Enid Blyton book, one of the Famous Five series. The book is ‘Five go to Mystery Moor’ and was one of my earliest purchases. It is the thirteenth book in the original series of twenty one books. Here are a few photographs, sorry about the quality, I am most certainly not a photographer.

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So this book was published in 1954 by Hodder & Stoughton. It is in reasonable condition, and was available for a very reasonable price, being one of the later books in the series and thus less rare than the earlier ones. This book basically started my collection and was purchased at a small (eighteen dealers) Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA) book fair held at Hylands house in Chelmsford. This was purchased in late 2011 and only cost £35.

Many factors affect the price of first editions, but condition is one of the most important. One important point to remember is that without the dust jacket most of these books would be considered pretty much worthless. It is generally recognised that having a dust jacket (wrapper) is responsible for in excess of 80% of the value of the book. Anyway, this one has one, and while not in perfect condition, is far from terrible. Many of the first editions I have seen have had large chunks of the dust jacket missing and are really just separate pieces held together by a protective plastic cover.

So there is the first book featured in the ‘Collection Book of the Week’ series. I would be interested to hear any comments that you have regarding anything related to the format and content of this post or the book itself. I will be back with another exciting book for you next week.