Friday 20 November 2009

Ripley's Claim

It's always nice to come home to a package from the postman (sounds a bit smutty, but anyway...), and waiting for me yesterday was a book I won on eBay for £3.50: the first Pan edition of The Talented Mr. Ripley. An actual 1957 first edition of this book (UK, that is; 1955 in the States) is somewhat out of my price range (hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds), but this 1960 paperback version is just as good really. It has a great, evocative cover:

by David Tayler, about whom I know virtually nothing, other than he used to take about a month to work up his covers. The large, dark head in the background is, I imagine, Tom Ripley, and the grinning smaller head Dickie Greenleaf. I can't find the Pan edition for sale anywhere online at the moment, but I suspect I got a rather good deal. The book's in lovely condition, with a bright cover and slight tanning to the pages, but nothing you wouldn't expect from a book that's nearly forty years old. A good find.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Spandex Mania!

The world and his wife seems to have gone crazy for my friend Martin's small press comic Spandex. Mart sent out a press release to various people and all of a sudden it's been picked up by the Sun, the Metro and is all over the interweb. Martin is now panicking slightly. Bless. It's all well deserved though.

A Momentous Decision

I think (I think) I have decided not to go to the comic shop this week. There are a number of reasons for this. The first two are interrelated – one reflects the other to the extent that I'm not sure which came first. They are: there aren't many comics out this week that I want (four, in fact: Dark Avengers, Irredeemable, Underground, and X-Men Legacy); and I'd quite like to save the expense of a trip to Brighton and the cost of four comics. On top of those two reasons, there are a couple of others, also interrelated: I don't feel a burning desire to buy any of those four comics (and indeed wouldn't lose any sleep if I didn't get, say, Underground, at all); and I'm still in the grip of a more general comics malaise – this in spite of drastically cutting down on my consumption.

So, for the first time in I-can't-actually-remember-how-long, I almost certainly won't be going to the comic shop this week. (Obviously I reserve the right to go anyway if the mood takes me.) This may not sound like a particularly momentous decision to anyone reading this (anyone? Anyone? Bueller?), but for me, it's a biggie. Or at least it would have been, not so long ago. Less so now. So clearly it's not a momentous decision for me either, thus making a nonsense of this entire post.

Anyway, on a not unrelated note, yesterday I strolled up to the amusingly named A. J. Cumming bookshop on the high street and emerged clutching this:

No, it's not a proper first edition; it's a Book Club edition. But it was only a fiver, and it's the same murky, moody cover as the first edition, and I haven't read it. Result.

Monday 16 November 2009

To Rye-Aye

God that's a dreadful pun. Anyway, the Rye book fair was a fun affair, similar to the Lewes Book Fair, and with some of the same dealers too. A few circuits of the hall in Rye College produced a 1961 first edition of Gavin Lyall's The Wrong Side of the Sky for a fiver, sporting a cute jacket of a flier on a blue background. I can't find the cover anywhere on line, but it's a splendidly old fashioned wrapper. I shall look forward to reading that one (I also have a Pan edition of Lyall's subsequent novel, The Most Dangerous Game).

For anyone interested, Steve Holland has a good piece on his website about Lyall here.