Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy birthday, J.K.Rowling

It is the birthday of popular British writer J.K. Rowling (1965), who created the best-selling Harry Potter series. Her books have sold 400 million copies worldwide and she is among the wealthiest women in the United Kingdom. While she was writing the series she was divorced, recovering from the death of her mother, and a single parent living on public assistance. There are seven books in the series, the first of which was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997). Last year, she published a crime fiction novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under the pen name Robert Galbraith. She said it was liberating to avoid the hoopla and get feedback under another name. The book sold modestly until The Sunday Times revealed the author’s real name, then it shot to No. 1.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Emily Bronte was a one-hit wonder

It is the birthday of English writer Emily Bronte (1818), whose only novel, Wuthering Heights (1847), wasn’t published under her name originally. She used the pen name Ellis Bell. She died at age 30, the year after the book was published. Her sister, Charlotte, published a second edition after Emily’s death.  Although it wasn’t universally well received initially because of its depiction of physical and mental cruelty, and unbridled passion, today it is considered classic English literature.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Don Marquis created archy and mehitabel

It is the birthday of humorist Don Marquis (1878), who created archy and mehitabel, the cockroach with the soul of a free verse poet and his alley cat sidekick. The social commentary duo started as a newspaper column in The New York Evening Sun in 1916 and eventually were presented in numerous books, illustrated by George Herriman, who illustrated the cartoon Krazy Kat for Hearst newspapers. The archy and mehitabel series was part of popular culture during the rest of the teens and 1920s. Marquis claimed that he left paper in his typewriter at night and archy jumped on the keys to write his messages. He couldn’t operated the shift key so everything he wrote was in lowercase. Below is an example. Archy seems to have anticipated texting.

listen to me there have
been some doings here since last
i wrote there has been a battle
behind that rusty typewriter cover
in the corner
you remember freddy the rat well
freddy is no more but
he died game the other
day a stranger with a lot of
legs came into our
little circle a tough looking kid
he was with a bad eye

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy birthday, novelist Malcolm Lowry

Top left: Lowry with first wife Jan Gabrial. Bottom left: Second wife, Margerie Bonner. Right: bottle of gin.
It is the birthday of English writer Malcolm Lowry (1909), whose novel Under the Volcano (1947) is considered one of the best novels of the 20th century. It tells the story of an alcoholic British consul stationed in a small town south of Mexico City in 1938. It begins on the Mexican Day of the Dead, November 2. It was based on his experiences with is first wife, Jan Gabrial, living in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in a vain attempt to save their marriage. Numerous publishers rejected the first version of the book. Lowry’s second wife, actress and writer Margerie Bonner, helped him revise it to the version that was finally published.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Happy birthday, Aldous Huxley

It is the birthday of English writer Aldous Huxley (1894), whose sci-fi novel, Brave New World (1932), anticipated the loss of individual identity in a mass production world. It is considered among the best English-language novels of the 20th century. Huxley moved to Hollywood in 1937, and wrote the screenplay for MGM’s Madame Curie. He also contributed to 20th Century Fox’s 1943 production of Jane Eyre but filmmaking’s frenetic pace didn’t suit him and he returned to writing for print. However, he continued to live in Hollywood until his death in 1963. He became a friend of Swami Prabhavananda and immersed in spiritualism and psychedelic drugs. He died on the same day as C.S. Lewis and John F. Kennedy. Writer Peter Kreeft’s novel Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley (1982), features a conversation between the three men about Jesus.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Happy birthday, artist Thomas Eakins

The Swimming Hole (1884-1885), Thomas Eakins. The artist appears in the lower right corner.
It is the birthday of realist painter Thomas Eakins (1844), who is widely considered among the greatest 19th century American artists. He also is known for his work in sculpture, and with photography in the art studio. He painted hundreds of portraits, placing his subjects in unusual outside settings. He is also remembered for his landscapes, and human figure studies, which he emphasized during his tenure as an instructor and later director at the Pennsylvania Academy. Perhaps one of Eakins’ most well-known paintings is The Swimming Hole (1884-1885), depicting a common 19th century activity. Art historians consider a masterpiece.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy birthday, John D. MacDonald

It is the birthday of writer John D. MacDonald (1916), the enthralling storyteller who created the Travis McGee series about Florida’s beloved self-styled salvage consultant and tarnished knight-errant. He wrote 21 books in the series, most of them set in the Sunshine State. To celebrate MacDonald’s birthday, here’s another revered Florida storyteller, Carl Hiaasen, discussing the writer who influenced his own work perhaps more than any other.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy birthday, Raymond Chandler

It is the birthday of detective novelist Raymond Chandler (1888), whose Philip Marlowe character is for many the quintessential private detective. Chandler's influence on the genre is indelible. What better way to celebrate his birthday than to share some of his choice passages? These are blatantly lifted from The Raymond Chandler Website, where they were blatantly lifted from Chandler's own works. You can read more here. Or you can just find his books and read them.

"On the dance floor half a dozen couples were throwing themselves around with the reckless abandon of a night watchman with arthritis "---Playback (Chapter 8)

"Dead men are heavier than broken hearts "---The Big Sleep (Chapter 8)

"She's dark and lovely and passionate. And very, very kind."
"And exclusive as a mailbox," I said.
---The Little Sister (Chapter 19)

"It was a cool day and very clear. You could see a long way--but not as far as Velma had gone"---Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 41)

"I put the duster away folded with the dust in it, leaned back and just sat, not smoking, not even thinking. I was a blank man. I had no face, no meaning, no personality, hardly a name. I didn't want to eat. I didn't even want a drink. I was the page from yesterday's calendar crumpled at the bottom of the waste basket "---The Little Sister (Chapter 25)

"Eddie Mars wanted to see me."
"I didn't know you knew him. Why?"
"I don't mind telling you. He thought I was looking for somebody he thought had run away with his wife."
"Were you?"
"No."
"Then what did you come for?"
"To find out why he thought I was looking for somebody he thought had run away with his wife."
"Did you find out?"
"No."
---The Big Sleep (Chapter 23)

"Tall, aren't you?" she said.
"I didn't mean to be."
Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.
---The Big Sleep (Chapter 1)

"I never saw any of them again - except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them." ---The Long Goodbye (Chapter 52)

"Then he picked the glass up and tasted it and sighed again and shook his head sideways with a half smile; the way a man does when you give him a drink and he needs it very badly and it is just right and the first swallow is like a peek into a cleaner, sunnier, brighter world." " ---The High Window (Chapter 15)

"The minutes went by on tiptoe, with their fingers to their lips." ---The Lady in the Lake (Chapter 1)

"She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight." ---The Little Sister (Chapter 12)

"I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard." --"The King in Yellow"

"The big foreign car drove itself, but I held the wheel for the sake of appearances." --Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 9)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

See you at the Tennessee book fair

We’re off to the Tennessee Antiquarian Book Fair, which is held each July on the campus of the University of the South in Sewanee. This is one of our favorite shows all year. The weather is usually nice and the old university and town of Sewanee are delightful.

 The show isn’t huge but enthusiastic book collectors come from a wide area, and we’ll see book dealer friends, many of whom are regulars at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in March. Among them will be our friends Cliff Graubart of Old New York Bookshop, ABAA, in Georgia. It’s always great to see him. Also from Georgia will be our friends Kenneth Mallory, Jim Strawn of Smythe, Books, LLC, ABAA, Bob and Lee Linn of The Ridge Books, Larry Wandling of Old South Books, Josh Niesse and Megan Bell from Underground Books, and Thomas Dorn from Canton. Quite a contingent from Georgia.

Of course, Mike Cotter and Greg Snider of Yeoman’s in the Fork, just a stone’s throw away in Franklin, Tennessee, will also be there, as will Billy Arant of Chattanooga, Dennis Melhouse of First Folio, ABAA, in Paris, Tennessee, and Ben Earnest of Owlsnest Books in Ooltewah. But this show wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for Tom McGee of The Book Brake in nearby Cowan. The Tennessee Antiquarian Book Fair started in Cowan, and in no small measure through the efforts of Tom McGee.

We’ll be taking Civil War books (they’re always popular that neck of the woods), children’s books, leather bound books, and literature of the South.

We know many Floridians who head for the mountains in the dog days of summer and we’re pretty sure that’s what we’re in right now. So if you’re in the area, we’d be happy to see you. Please do stop by. You’ll be glad you did. The show is Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27. Here’s a link to the Tennessee Antiquarian Booksellers Association so you can get all the details.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A documentary tribute to Hemingway

For Ernest Hemingway's birthday, pause to view this amazing documentary. It's worth the time. Then take some time to read or reread Hemingway's books.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Edgar Snow wrote on Mao and Red China

Edgar Snow with Mao Zedong in the 1930s and in the 1970s (inset).
It is the birthday of journalist Edgar Snow (1905), whose book, Red Star Over China (1937), is considered one of the most important works on China in the 1930s during the rise of the Communist Party. The book contained the most extensive interview with Mao Zedong that had been seen in the West at the time. Snow spent considerable time with the leaders of the Community Party, including Mao and Zhou Enlai. Snow’s book  Battle For Asia (1941) was based on his visit to Japanese-occupied areas of Asia before the United States entered World War II. Snow also wrote of Japanese atrocities against the Chinese in Scorched Earth (1941). He covered the war for the Saturday Evening Post. During the 1950s, he was investigated by the anti-Communist McCarthy committee. In 1970, he learned on a visit to China that President Nixon would be welcome there but Snow died before that historic trip took place in 1972.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Horler created Brit hero Tiger Standish

It is the birthday of British thriller writer Sydney Horler (1888), whose novel Tiger Standish (1932) introduces a tall, ugly-handsome, two-fisted hero cast in the Bulldog Drummond mold. Standish was a freelance British counter-espionage agent with a penchant for rescuing damsels in distress and meting out justice to dastardly criminals. He is a pipe-smoking member of the British upper class with a manservant, and a cat named Richard the Lion, to whom he confides his inner thoughts. Standish was popular in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. Horler wrote 157 novels, many of them featuring Standish. He also wrote several nonfiction books, including London’s Underworld (1934), which he spent a month researching in the city’s high crime neighborhoods.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Happy birthday, Art Linkletter

It is the birthday of radio and TV personality Art Linkletter (1912), who hosted the CBS radio and television show, House Party, for 25 years, and the NBC radio and television show, People Are Funny, for 19 years. One of the most popular segments on House Party was Kids Say the Darndest Things, in which he interviewed children. Early in his career, Linkletter was arrested for falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen. (He was born in Canada). He was fined $500. In the 1950s, Linkletter invested heavily in the hula hoop. Here’s some vintage Art Linkletter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happy birthday, Shoeless Joe Jackson

Babe Ruth (left) and Shoeless Joe Jackson.
It is the birthday of talented baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson (1887), who was banned from the game after 1920 for his alleged involvement in the Black Sox Scandal in which several Chicago White Sox players were accused of trying to fix the 1919 World Series in exchange for payoffs from big-time gamblers. The players were acquitted in court but banned just the same. Some scholars believe Jackson was never involved in the fix. 8 Men Out (1963) by Eliot Asinof deals with the scandal and implicates Jackson. It was the basis of the 1988 film. The novel Shoeless Joe (1982) by W.P. Kinsella is a fantasy about an Iowa corn farmer who builds a baseball park in his field so Shoeless Joe and his fellow players can redeem themselves. It was the basis of the movie Field of Dreams (1989).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bulfinch wrote mythology for the masses

Theseus – Temple of Volksgartens (Vienna) Illustration from Bulfinch. Inset: Thomas Bulfinch
It is the birthday of writer Thomas Bulfinch (1796), whose Bulfinch’s Mythology (1881) made ancient mythology popularly accessible to ordinary readers, not just the well educated. The volume, published  14 years after his death, was actually a compilation of the earlier volumes, The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855), The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur (1858), and Legends of Charlemagne, or Romance of the Middle Ages (1863). Writer Edward Everett Hale compiled the works. Bulfinch wrote that he created his storybooks so that people could understand the allusions of lecturers, essayists, and public speakers to classic mythology.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Klimt's erotic work stirred controversy

It is the birthday of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862), whose highly erotic works stirred criticism and controversy during his lifetime but also found an appreciative audience. One of his  best known works, The Kiss (1907-08) is thought to depict Klimt and designer Emilie Louise Flöge as lovers. She was his lifelong companion though he had many lovers with whom he produced at least 14 children. Venetian and Byzantine art influenced his highly stylized work. Although he made a good living with his painting, Klimt’s work has brought millions of dollars in sales since his death, and his images remain popular in prints. Klimt personally supervised the production of only one folio set of 50 images during his lifetime. Only 300 sets were produced of Das Werk Gustav Klimts (1908-14).

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Josiah Wedgwood famous for pottery

It is the birthday of the famous English potter Josiah Wedgwood (1730), whose unique pottery design is known throughout the world and is still manufactured today. Wedgwood was intensely interested in scientific advancements, and that curiosity fueled his improvement of the quality of his pottery and methods for producing it. Wedgwood also was a leader in the British abolitionist movement and is famous for producing an anti-slavery medallion titled “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” The eldest of Wedgwood’s four daughters, Susannah, was Charles Darwin’s mother.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The man who bowdlerized Shakespeare

It is the birthday of English philanthropist Thomas Bowdler (1754), who is best remembered for his sanitized version of William Shakespeare’s works, The Family Shakespeare (1807), in which all potentially offensive passages were removed. Subsequent editions were published in 1818 and later, and were quite popular. Eleven editions were published by 1850. Bowdler set upon the project to make the Bard more suitable for women and children after realizing his father had omitted passages for years when reading Shakespeare to the family. Bowdler’s bold action gave rise to the term bowdlerize, meaning to censor literature, movies, and TV programs. Near the end of his life, he also bowdlerized Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1826), but it wasn’t published until after Bowdler’s death.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy birthday, painter Camille Pissarro

Two Women Chatting by the Sea, St. Thomas (1856); Inset: Camille Pissarro
It is the birthday of Danish-French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro (1830), who is considered the dean of Impressionist and post-Impressionist painters. He served as a father figure to such talents as Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Georges Seurat. He was born on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas when it was a Danish possession. He was sent to boarding school in France and studied art. At first he painted in the traditional style, but then came under the influence of realist painter Gustave Courbet and landscape artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

John D. Rockefeller, world's richest man

It is the birthday of oil baron John D. Rockefeller (1839), who is widely considered the richest person in history. He built an empire that became Standard Oil Company, transforming into a fierce competitor who bought out his rivals or forced them out of business. Rockefeller so completely controlled every aspect of his industry that he spurred antitrust legislation that eventually broke up the oil and steel industries. A devout Northern Baptist, he never smoked or drank. He tithed generously to his church.  He considered his religion a major factor in his success. Rockefeller also set the standard for philanthropy, investing in educational institutions, public health initiatives, and overseas missions. His donations helped eradicate hookworm and yellow fever.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Menotti wrote Amahl and the Night Visitors

It is the birthday of Italian-American Gian Carlo Menotti (1911), who is best remembered for his popular Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951) and for founding the Festival of the Two Worlds (1958) in Spoleto, Italy, and Spoleto Festival USA (1977) in Charleston, South Carolina. He also won Pulitzer Prizes for the operas The Consul (1950) and The Saint of Bleecker Street (1958). In this video, Menotti tells about establishing the Italian festival and celebrates his birthday.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day weekend!

"The first stanza (O Say Can You See...) makes the flag musical," the painter Peter Halley says of his vision for this flowing photomontage. "In a way the stars and stripes get equated with streaming and bursting." (Peter Halley) Read more about artistic interpretations of the Star-Spangled Banner in Smithsonian magazine.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cohan gave his regards to Broadway

It is the birthday of Broadway's original song-and-dance man, George M. Cohan, who is considered the father of the American musical comedy. He wrote dozens of shows, produced and performed in them as well. He published more than 300 songs, including enduring favorite such as "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Over There," "Give My Regards to Broadway," and "The Yankee Doodle Boy." Though he always claimed to have been born on the Fourth of July, his actual birthday was July 3.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hermann Hesse: Counterculture favorite

It is the birthday of German writer Hermann Hesse (1877), who is best remembered for his novels Siddhartha (1922) and Steppenwolf (1927), which, through the influence of Timothy Leary and Colin Wilson, became favorite literature of the counterculture in the 1960s. Siddhartha is about a young man’s pursuit of enlightenment in India. Steppenwolf tells the story of a young man who feels that he is an outsider in society, and wrestles with his dual nature as both a low, animalistic man and a spiritual one. Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy birthday, Indiana Jones

It is the birthday of fictional hero Indiana Jones (1899), a professor of archaeology whose globe-trotting exploits to retrieve priceless artifacts bring him into conflict with Nazis, bloodthirsty cultists, and Soviets. The character created by filmmaker George Lucas (and fleshed out with his friend Steven Spielberg) was inspired by the pulp magazine and movie heroes of the 1930s, such as surgeon-scientist-explorer Doc Savage, as well as treasure hunter Allan Quatermain of the novel King Solomon’s Mines (1885) by H. Rider Haggard. Henry Jones, Jr., first appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and subsequently in three other films (all portrayed by Harrison Ford), as well as television series, video games, and novels. Theme park attractions also feature the character.

Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

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