Monday, January 03, 2011

"Uh, thanks, John, I'm looking forward to reading it!"

So finding myself out and about during business hours, I drop by the Book Rack in Canton Mart Square, looking for the next in the cheesy Colleen McCullough series Rome: The Soap Opera (because the library is closed today, dammit), and while I don't find that, I do find a clean, tight paperback of John McPhee's Coming into the Country for $3. An old one, 1985 printing, but clearly unread, great shape.

Or I should say *almost* clean. There's the Book Rack stamp on the front page, and then there's some writing on the title page:
for David Fieselman
with all best --
on our trip to the Atchafalaya

John McPhee
Like, really?

It could be a fake, of course; McPhee's 1987 article on the Atchafalaya is well known, and while the autograph looks real, well, other people can google stuff too. But kind of a pointless fake, no?

There's a David Fieselman practicing medicine in New Orleans, and another D.F. in Madison, MS. I'm half tempted to call one of 'em up and ask did they really mean to get rid of their book.


  1. Extraordinary! This is an integral thrill of the used book store that Kindle owners will never know.

    My closest such encounter was coming across a signed volume of Lord Dunsany's - whose signature an overeager bookseller had scrupulously blacked over with Magic Marker.

  2. I got as perfect first of the Rievers with dust jacket for $2 once 30ish years ago. That's my best find.

    Is the Book Rack owned by David Ingebretsen? He could probably tell you where he got the book. In any event, nice find. Surely for a tour Freeman should have got a hardcover?!

  3. That's what my boss said -- "he must not've thought much of him to give him a paperback." I hazarded that few writers make enough money to give away hardcovers. I'm not sure who owns that one -- used to be a nice English lady, but I believe her health has deteriorated. And if the owner had noticed the McPhee autograph, I suspect the book wouldn't have been on the shelf for 3 bucks.

    My favorite "find" if it be such was an early book on The Bloomsbury Group whose dust jacket (but not, alas or fortunately, pages) referred on its front to "Virginia Wolff." Not sure where that is now actually; probably moldering in my dad's attic, with the other residual literature of my aborted Ph.D.