I’m a huge fan of Joyce Carol Oates and this signed first edition copy of the Pulitzer Prize nominated novella Black Water is a real prize. One of the most prolific writers working in the States today, Oates is not only a novelist, but has also published numerous collections of short stories, as well as many other novellas, plays, poetry and literary criticism. This edition is the UK hardback, first published by Macmillan London Ltd in 1992 and is signed by the author in the only space available on the first printed page of the book.
I recently visited a wonderful Stanley Kubrick exhibition in Rome and was reminded of a small piece of my own original Kubrick memorabilia, this 1962 movie tie-in paperback edition of one of my absolute favourite novels – Vladamir Nabokov‘s Lolita. First reissued by Corgi in 1961, this is the fourth 1962 reprint and although hardly a rare item, is nevertheless an interesting piece of both film and book memorabilia.
As the announcement was made this week for Doris Lessing’s Nobel Prize in Literature win, a campaign is under way to nominate another world famous British writer…J K Rowling!
If you agree or disagree head over to the Squidoo Lens on JK Rowling and make your voice heard. Do you think she should win the Nobel Prize in Literature? Vote in the poll! The plan is to create enough publicity so that she is at the very least considered as a serious candidate.
Seriously – has anybody done MORE in recent years to get the world reading…?!
Joseph Heller (1923, Brooklyn, NY – 1999, Long Island, NY) lived most of his adult creative life in the shadow of his brilliant first publication, a work of genius that quite literally spoke to an entire generation, was the Zeitgeist book that encapsulated the anti-war mood of the times and even gave the world a new English expression which has since entered into the common vernacular – Catch-22.
In his final book, Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man he ruefully explores this very theme in a novel that is also laden with gallows humour (Heller died shortly after completing the novel).
To jog your memories, here’s a clip from Mike Nichols’ movie adaptation of Catch-22 (1970).
It’s not surprising therefore, that the gestation period for Heller’s second novel, Something Happened, was somewhat protracted. The book was finally published in the United States in 1974 by Alfred A Knopf, thirteen years after Catch-22 first appeared in 1961. Although it never achieved the commercial success of its predecessor it received a glowing reception from the critics. Although Something Happened retains some of the absurdist juxtapositions of Catch-22 on the whole the overall feeling is very bleak with its wilfully repetitive, internal monologue of the narrator, Bob Slocum, a jaded and cynical middle-aged man frustrated by the disappointments of living the American Dream.
I love Jospeh Heller, and this is my absolute favourite – the book has a maddening hypnotic power right through to its mesmerising conclusion.
Anyway, here is my copy – a signed first US edition of Jospeh Heller’s Something Happened.