Sunday, January 31, 2010

General Fiction – Jack Kerouac

My collection of Jack Kerouac novels is quite comprehensive, though by no means complete. I can’t even say if I’ve read them all as I can only recall reading his most famous novel On The Road which I will not be displaying in this post as it’s in a Penguin Modern Classic edition. I will be doing feature posts on the Penguin Modern Classics in the future.

So what I have here are all the other various editions of Kerouac in my library. Desolation Angels is a 1972 Panther, Big Sur is a New English Library edition, also 1972

kerouac_angels1972 kerouac_bigsur1972

Visions of Cody & Doctor Sax are both 1980 Panther editions

kerouac_cody1980 kerouac_drsax1980

The antique paperback, Maggie Cassidy, is a 1960 Panther, and The Subterraneans is a 1971 Grove Press (Black Cat) edition.

kerouac_maggie_1960 kerouac_subterraneans1971

Both Vanity of Duluoz (1969 Andre Deutsch) and Visions of Gerard and Tristessa (1964 Andre Deutsch) are UK hard cover first editions, and I believe quite valuable these days.

kerouac_duluoz1969hc kerouac_gerard1964hc

And finally, two books about Jack Kerouac, one a biography (1974) and the other a collection of memoirs.

kerouac_biog1974 kerouac_jacksbook

Next – Kesey, Kilworth & Kotzwinkle

Saturday, January 30, 2010

General Fiction – a miscellany

I appear to have only one book by the following authors:

Carlos FuentesTerra Nostra
Jean GenetOur Lady of the Flowers
Hannah Green -I Never Promised You A Rose Garden
Doris GrumbachThe Missing Person

fuentes_terranostra genet_flowers1973
green_rosegarden grumbach_missing

Actually I do have another Joseph Heller book somewhere, but of course Catch 22 is his most famous. It’s still a great read.

Then there are the two Irvings…

John Irving with his famous ‘Garp’ and Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

irving_garp irving_hollow

Shirley Jackson’s books have been out of print for decades, but I am pleased to see that her best known books have recently been reprinted in Penguin. She is an extraordinary writer and her We Have Always Lived In The Castle is my favourite of hers and also one of my all time favourite novels. I gave it to my niece at Christmas and she loved it. Merricat Blackwood is one of the most compelling literary creations of all time. My battered old paperback edition is below.


The Haunting of Hill House is one of the scariest, most suspenseful novels I have ever read. There have been several film versions of this book, but nothing beats reading the original. The Lottery is a collection of her best stories. I remember, when I was a member of a small theatrical group back in the ‘60s we performed the play based on The Lottery – I was Tessa, the victim.

jackson_haunting jackson_lottery

Next – Jack Kerouac

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

General Fiction – E L Doctorow, Umberto Eco, John Fowles,

E L Doctorow first came to my notice with the publication of his novel Ragtime, which I enjoyed reading at the time, though I never really followed his career much after that, other than to acquire Billy Bathgate ten or so years later. I also have a copy of his novel The Waterworks floating around somewhere.

doctorow_ragtime doctorow_bathgate

I, like many others, first came across the books of Umberto Eco through his best selling novel The Name of the Rose. Also in my collection is a hard cover edition of Foucault’s Pendulum (previously displayed).


The Magus by John Fowles was one of those novels that everyone seemed to read in the 1960s. This of course lead to his other books, The Aristos, The Collector and The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the latter two books being made into films. I do have a hard covered copy of his novel The Ebony Tower somewhere or other, though i don’t recall seeing lately.

fowles_magus1974 fowles_collector1973
fowles_aristos1972 fowles_french1979

Next – Miscellaneous single novels (f to i) and Shirley Jackson.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

General Fiction – Joan Didion & Isak Dineson

Joan Didion’s novels and non fiction books were well known in the 1970s. Play It As It Lays, was at one time a favourite novel of mine, though it has been years since I last read it. It was made into a film in 1972 and starred Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld. Democracy is a later novel (1984) and was a best seller at the time.

didion_playit1972 didion_democracy1985

Isak Dineson was the pseudonym of Baroness Karen Blixen. Karen Blixen had an unusual life and her stories are unusual as well. They are not conventional in any sense and have a spooky gothic sensibility. Wonderful stuff! I have a good collection of her stories - they are displayed below and are in various paperback editions produced in the 1970s.

dineson_gothictales1979 dineson_lasttales1977


dineson_destiny1974 dineson_ehrengard1975


Next – Doctorow, Eco & Fowles

Sunday, January 24, 2010

General Fiction – Brautigan, Burgess, Calvino, Carter & Cortazar

Most of my Richard Brautigan paperbacks are in Picador editions which I shall get down to displaying soon, but here are two in US paperback editions. The Revenge of the Lawn is a 1972 Pocketbooks edition and Dreaming of Babylon was published by Delta in 1978.

brautigan_lawn1972 brautigan_babylon1978

I recall that Enderby by Anthony Burgess as being an entertaining novel, though I have not read it for years. This 1973 Ballantine edition describes the novel as an “hilarious and touching portrait of the artist in middle age”.


Italo Calvino I discovered back in the early 1970s. It was Cosmicomics that first blew my mind, so naturally I continued to collect his books. The editions below are only a few of his books in my library. There are more in Picador editions.

calvino_cosmicomics1976 calvino_baron1977


Angela Carter is one of my all time favourite writers. I have an almost a complete collection of her novels and non fiction writings. Below is a 1972 Panther paperback edition of her novel Love.

I can’t really recall if I ever read Julio Cortazar’s novel Hopscotch, in any event I certainly don’t remember anything about it.

carter_love1972 cortazar_hopscotch

Next – Joan Didion and Isak Dineson

Saturday, January 23, 2010

General Fiction/Non-Fiction - Paperbacks of the 1960s, 1970s & 1980s

In the main, the books I am about to show here, are a mixture of mass market paperbacks - the small pocket sized variety and larger formats like King Penguins etc. There will even be a few hard covers as well.

I have decided to take it in alphabetical order, starting with A. Alvarez’ book, The Savage God, a rather interesting study on suicide that was a best seller in the 1970s.


Next – Margaret Atwood’s early novels. I must admit the covers aren’t all that inspiring, but then again she did write quite a different sort of novel in her early career compared to her latest novels.

Lady Oracle was my first encounter with Margaret Atwood, and it impressed me enough at the time to continue collecting her books.

atwood_ladyoracle1978 atwood_ediblewoman1976
atwood_bodilyharm1983 atwood_lifebefroreman1981

Then of course she went on to produce the fabulous Handmaid’s Tale, a wonderful feminist dystopian novel. This edition is a Virago Press edition.


And finally, for the moment – I have other Atwood books on other shelves which I will get to later - Cat’s Eye, also published by Virago Press.


To finish this post a couple of books by John Barth. The Sotweed Factor, with its outrageous plot, was another of those books which were very popular in the 1970s.

The below editions were published in 1972 & 1973 respectively.

barth_sotweed1972 barth_chimera1973

General paperback fiction/non-fiction continues in the next post…