Go Set a Watchman Copy Sells for $1556

Ultimate Book Giveaway Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

When Harper Lee’s  Go Set a Watchman was finally published in February, it was the talk of the literary world.  Another book by the great and reclusive author who to that point had only ever published one work—the classic To Kill a Mockingbird–  Watchman was the edition that fans aplenty, worldwide, had been awaiting for months.

There was substantial buzz about everything from whether Miss Lee was mentally capable of giving permission to have the work published to whether or not the character of Atticus Finch had been tarnished by a few very important details that had every potential of changing the perception of the hero for readers.  People discussed the book around water coolers and in grocery stores.  People wrote to Ol’ Curiosities, enraged about Atticus.

Now, there is even more buzz about the book that turned the literary world upside down not so long ago:

The Guardian recently reported that the first 25,000 UK-printed copies of Go Set a Watchman were missing paragraphs and sentences from the final pages.  Readers were disturbed by the occurrence, but no one knows exactly how many of the misprinted versions were sold.

Penguin Random House explained that the misprinted copies were due to a printer error and that the affected copies were missing lines on six pages near the end of the work.  The publishing giant also promised to work swiftly to maintain customer satisfaction and replace such flawed copies.  How many were replaced?  How many misprinted copies remain in circulation?  We just don’t know.

Book buffs, of course, are hopping with excitement.  Misprinted copies are often treasures for those who collect written works.  In fact, a copy was recently sold for $1556 (£988) on the American AbeBooks Marketplace—and that may be a very small price to pay for such a literary oddity.  Only time will tell the value.

Rare books are beloved here at Ol’ Curiosities—and we’re always a little curious about how people find them and where.  Tell us your rare books stories in the comments below.

Truman Capote: Still Making Headlines

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Capote with the Maysels brothersTruman Capote: Literary Icon Garners Attention Again

Writing about the writers that have made Monroeville the Literary Capital of Alabama has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about those icons.  I’ve written extensively about Harper Lee, and her childhood neighbor and friend, Truman Capote.  When I heard about the sale of Capote’s ashes last week, I was a little in awe.  The fetching price of $45,000 doesn’t amaze me nearly as much as that Capote’s remains were actually sold at all.  In true Capote fashion, the flamboyant boy child of Monroeville is still making headlines.

Truman Capote: A Unique Memento

It seems an anonymous buyer purchased perhaps the most personal memento of his or her favorite author when they bought Truman Capote’s ashes from Julien’s Auctions of Los Angeles, CA, some 30 years after the novelist and screenplay writer’s death. It is the first time in recorded history that ashes of a deceased person have been sold at auction. I think Capote would have relished that fact.  He loved making history.

Truman Capote and Joanne Carson: The Friendship

The ashes had been cared for by Joanne Carson, former wife of Johnny Carson, with whom Truman Capote spent his final days. A dear friend of Capote, she is quoted as saying that having the ashes of the famed writer in her home “brought (her) great comfort.” It is rumored that before he died, Capote began to work on a memoir for Carson that was never completed.

Truman Capote: The Remains

When Capote passed away in 1984, the ashes belonging to Joanne Carson were worth as much as $6,000.00.  The President of the Auction House expected them to sell for more than $10,000.00 but could not have anticipated the phenomenal price they brought.  Competition for the ashes, housed in a carved wooden box from Japan and the original cemetery packaging from Westwood Village Mortuary, was intense.  Bidders haled from Russia, China, South America, and Germany, as well as the United States.

Capote’s ashes found their way to auction due to Carson’s death last year. Julien told CNN, “He (Capote) told her he didn’t want to sit on a shelf. This is definitely right in line with his wishes,” and, “If it wasn’t for it being Truman Capote, it would have been disrespectful.”  There is truth to this statement. Capote was always one seek the limelight, and somehow being sold at an auction that made headlines is fitting.

Truman Capote: In Good Company

Other items belonging to Capote were also sold: About fifty items including shirts, trousers, ice skates, a few books, and the shirt he wore on the day of his death were all sold to the highest bidders, most at prices from $50 to $2,000, according to the auction house. A small collection of Capote’s prescription bottles sold for $5,000.  The same auction brought in winning bids for items once owned by Steve Jobs and Dennis Hopper, and locks of Marilyn Monroe’s hair brought $70,000.

Truman Capote: “Rest in Peace” Just Doesn’t Fit

According to the auction house, the buyer of Truman Capote’s ashes has promised that the scribe’s adventures will live on.  No, it doesn’t seem that Truman Capote will ever rest in peace.  Then again, I am not sure he ever wanted to.

Yes, Truman Capote was talented and eccentric—but then, many of the best writers are.  Who is your favorite eccentric writer and why?  Let us know in the comments below.

Charles J. Shields: A Remembrance of Harper Lee

Charles J. Shields

Charles Shields BiographyCharles J. Shields: Background

Charles J. Shields is a literary biographer and the author of the newly revised, MockingbirdA Portrait of Harper Lee, from Scout to Go Set a Watchman (Holt 2016). The earlier version in 2006 became a  New York Times bestseller. He and his wife reside in Charlottesville, Virginia. Upon request, Charles Shields gifted us with the following remembrance of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird:

Charles J. Shields: A Remembrance of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

I grew up in what was called a planned community for ex-GIs and their families, south of Chicago, after World War II. As a child, I thought everyone’s father had been in the military and now worked in the city. All of my classmates were white. This wasn’t just happenstance: it was the result of the community developers, banks, and local realtors discouraging minority families from purchasing homes in that town. The first Black American to shake my hand was the father of a friend on the track team who was giving me a lift home, my junior year of high school. I feel ashamed remembering how strange that moment felt.

When I visit high schools today, I’m struck by a paradox. Racism is not the issue it once was because the students are so diverse; and yet, To Kill a Mockingbird is all the more teachable. Now, the novel inspires discussions in the classroom about differences of religion, politics, and lifestyle, and understanding “the other.” The book has become a springboard for confronting forms of discrimination and hatred most readers wouldn’t have considered fifty years ago.

To Kill a Mockingbird will continue to be read however because of a trait it has in common with all great works of literature. All enduring works of literature read you, the reader, as you read the book. What I mean is, important books and stories probe your convictions; silently, they ask what you stand for. You can leave a piece of escapism on an airplane seat and not think about it again because, well, you’ve never been a movie star; you don’t belong to a secret, criminal organization. But when you read To Kill a Mockingbird, you have to wonder, even if just subconsciously: Would I do what Atticus did? Would you risk being vilified for sticking to your principles? What if people said, as they hint to Atticus, that your children are suffering because of what you’re doing? What if a family member, such as Atticus’s brother Jack, argued it was wrong-headed and foolish of you to ruin your reputation over a forgettable incident with a predictable outcome?

That’s why it’s good to reread To Kill a Mockingbird now and againbecause the story reminds you that it isn’t easy to be a better human being, but it’s important for all of us to try.

You can learn more about Charles J. Shields at www.charlesjshields.net.  You can share your own remembrance of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird by emailing us at ashley@ocbookshoppe.com.

 

The Ultimate Book Giveaway

Ultimate Book Giveaway Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Alright, so last year we had an amazing time getting ready for the Go Set a Watchman book release  on July 14th. Well, this year we would like to do something else big to give back to our loyal followers. So we have decided to give away a signed Go Set a Watchman Special Edition!

How you can win the Ultimate Book Giveaway

All we want you to do is sign up for our newsletter and like us on Facebook and share this on Facebook and on July 14th of this year we will give away a signed copy of Go Set a Watchman. It really is the Ultimate Book Giveaway! These are very limited and worth upwards of $2,000 so this giveaway is going to be pretty sweet for the lucky winner, but that’s not all…  You see, I am a goal setter and I want our little book store to grow just like anyone wants their small business to grow. So, on top of the Go Set a Watchman giveaway we are going to give away a signed copy of To Kill a Mockingbird! That’s another $2,500 prize to a different winner. The books will be given to two separate people and all we want from  you is your help in getting the word out.

The Ultimate Book Giveaway: Our Goal

Now, the To Kill a Mockingbird giveaway comes with reaching a goal of  100k people subscribing to our newsletter, and 100k people liking us on Facebook. Now, I know this will be an easy task and we might do other giveaways if you blow it out of the water– so share this post with all your friends and family and don’t forget to join our newsletter by going to ocbookshoppe.com and signing up!

Also, please remember that we are a full service book store and if you cannot find something you’re looking for on our website, you can always give us a call and we can get it for you. If you do not have a local book store, we would love to be your local store no matter where you’re located. Our Shoppe is very small and each and everyone of our customers make a huge impact in our small community. Your orders from us have a very personal impact on our lives and the lives of our employees. You make a difference shopping with us and we appreciate you guys more than you can imagine.

Why the Ultimate Book Giveaway Means so much to us

When Go Set a Watchman came out last year, a lot of people thought we were a corporate-sized store with unlimited resources because we sold over 10,000 copies. The world soon found out the Book Shoppe is actually a 2,000 square foot house and each package was hand wrapped, stamped, and processed. We learned lot and we experienced some very real growing pains as a small business, but it was worth every moment.  Of course, it’s our desire to continue to serve you guys–to really be your hometown bookstore. So visit us online, in the store, or call us and let us know how we can help you today.

Remembering Harper Lee

Remembering Harper Lee

Remembering Harper LeeI was recently asked to share my thoughts in regards to remembering Harper Lee. Of course, I have written about her as much or more than any other blogger, and I suppose I knew this post was coming. My thoughts are not elegant, and they are likely not worthy of the author she was, but I have done my best these last few days to wrap my mind around a woman I never knew, yet one who’s done so very much to make me the writer I am… Here is my best attempt at remembering Harper Lee:

Not so very long ago in the grand scheme of things, I learned about a bookstore in a tiny, South Alabama town, and I fell a little bit in love.  The more I learned about Monroeville, Alabama, the more Monroeville felt like home.  It’s not—of course—I am little better than an outsider in Monroeville, but the impact this one, tiny town has had on my life is undeniable.  It captures me in a way that few other places on the planet ever have, and—from the outside looking in—a stranger could never fathom why.

Remembering Harper Lee: Hometown Literary Hero

Monroeville, AL, has the impressive distinction of Literary Capital of Alabama, and it has earned the moniker by being home to some true literary greats— Mark Childress, Truman Capote, the list seems almost limitless… but the crown jewel of Monroeville, the most extraordinary author who came from this place, of course, is Harper Lee, author of  To Kill a Mockingbird and the later released  Go Set a Watchman.

Remembering Harper Lee: Prevailing Impact on a Writer

We lost Harper Lee this year.  I had the bittersweet honor of writing the story that broke that news to the world.

You see, Harper Lee was the reason I ever found Monroeville on the map in the first place.  To Kill a Mockingbird had so impacted this place, this country, in fact, the entire globe, that a quest to write about the reclusive author led me there, both virtually and physically.  Monroeville was her home, and I was drawn to it.

Why did Harper Lee have such an impact on me?  Why did I want to write about her so much?  Perhaps it was because Harper Lee, whom I would come to think of as Miss Nelle (the moniker so lovingly used by the good folks of Monroeville), was a kindred spirit, separated by generations and terrain, but of the like mind that words can be used to set a path right, to make things better, and to generally stir the pot when the world gets too complacent.  Knowing she existed as she did, enjoying life modestly and dodging fanfare as much as possible, made me take stock of not only the reasons I write, but the fact that I write altogether.

Here’s the thing, and a confession: I’ve been something of a hack writer on occasion, and I write for profit to make ends meet.  I’m good at it, and it seems a good fit…as a single mother, every penny counts, and I’ve used my ability to write to survive. I’ve written about everything from lingerie to semi trucks—collected my paychecks and hurried along my way.

Nelle Harper Lee, and the OC Bookshoppe Project, made me slow down and consider the impact of my words, their value, perhaps to be more grateful for the gift that puts food on our table and buys new sneakers when the school year starts, and not to throw it completely away on product descriptions in catalogs and paragraphs that will grace the backs of after-school snack packaging… Nelle Harper Lee reminded me to write what matters.  In 1960, she published a volume with words that changed the world.  The book was based on what she knew best, the story life had given her to tell.  It has spurred me to look for writing material that matters, and –somewhere in the back of my mind—it has reminded me that I have my own story to tell.

Writing comes naturally to me… it always has, but the guidance I was given from an author I never met is a little bit of a miracle, because it has begun to shape my appreciation for writing altogether.  I still write product descriptions, I still edit whitepapers, I still create website content for companies that are trying to sell things, but –in addition to that—there is always at least one truly worthy project on my desk.  In fact, at this moment, there are two.  I am editing and revising one, and I am up to my elbows in the first draft of the other… these are pieces that will never live up to the standards of Mockingbird, but they may be as close as I come, and I believe that at least one soul on this planet who reads them will be a little better for it.

Remembering Harper Lee: Gifts and Inspiration

How do you thank someone who offered you inspiration to do better?  I honestly don’t know the answer to that, and I won’t get the opportunity in this lifetime, but if heaven is real, I plan to find Miss Nelle on the other side and hug her neck.  She gave me direction, and reminded me that writing is an art, and she put words back into my life when I’d almost forgotten how beautiful they could be.

Today, when I walk the streets of tiny Monroeville, AL, and soak up how much it feels like home, I realize that legacy has everything in the world to do with Miss Nelle and the words she wrote about this place.  I can’t express enough gratitude for that gift and the inspiration it has been to begin to tell my own story.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

Swans-of-Fifth-Avenue

Melanie Benjamin, the New York Times Best Selling Author of The Aviator’s Wife, recently published a new historical novel, The Swans of Fifth Avenue. While all of her historical novels feature people that most of us are at least somewhat familiar with, The Swans of Fifth Avenue features one of our very own, Truman Capote.

Swans-of-Fifth-AvenueAbout The Swans of Fifth Avenue

Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a high-profile husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.

Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe’s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren’t his to tell.

Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America’s most sumptuous eras.

Behind the Story

melanie-benjaminAs a young girl, Melanie Benjamin always wanted to go to New York. She would read publications such as Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and dream of city nightlife, and attending openings and galas and mingle with the people in the pictures; among those, Truman Capote. All that young Melanie knew about Truman, the writer, was that he wrote a book called In Cold Blood that her mother owned, but would not let Melanie read. The Truman Melanie knew was the one she saw in the magazines, along with the likes of Babe Paley and other “swans” of New York.

Sadly, Melanie didn’t move to New York, but this extravagant world she knew from the magazines lived on in her imagination. As she got older, she read all the books she could about the people she read about in magazines as a child. And she still reads Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Upon reading Capotes Answered Prayers, Melanie began to wonder about the puzzling friendship of Babe and Truman, before everything went wrong. Melanie only remembered pictures of Truman after the downfall of his friendship with Babe and the swans, when he looked as she says “grotesque.” Melanie said that was what she wanted to write about, the before. The friendship and the glamour. And that is exactly what she did!

Thoughts on The Swans of Fifth Avenue

A friend of the shoppe recently read The Swans of Fifth Avenue (we haven’t had a chance to read it yet!) and he gave us his thoughts on it. He said it was very well-written, well-researched and a “guilty pleasure” of sorts. Local patrons will recognize the names of Nelle Harper Lee, and Sook Faulk. He also said that the tone of the book asks the question “Was Truman’s famous black and white ball the beginning of his downfall.”

Keep an eye out for our review on this one! We don’t have this one listed online yet, but we copies in the shoppe. Come by or call us at 251-494-9356 to order your copy today?

Have you read The Swans of Fifth Avenue yet? What were your thoughts? What are your thoughts on Truman’s black and white ball?