Friday, May 21, 2010

Giveaway: Secondhand Bookshelf

It’s Friday, which means this is my last blog post for the week. To celebrate, I’m going to launch a little contest I’ll be calling Secondhand Bookshelf. Here’s the basic idea: I go to Book Culture and purchase an exciting used book. It will, most likely, be a little beaten-up, but that’s part of the fun. Maybe there will be interesting marginalia, or it will be on a dusty and dated subject, or it will feature strange and fantastic illustrations.

And it will be a book that someone no longer wanted. It will likely be, in Herman Melville’s words, “the book in the old morocco cover; the book with the cocked-hat corners; the book full of fine old family associations; the book with seventeen plates, executed in the highest style of art; [a] precious book [that] was next to useless.”

So, moving on! In keeping with the theme of my review of Lighting Out for the Territory, the precious but useless book I have for you this week is Sobriquets and Nicknames, by Albert R. Frey, published by Houghton Mifflin.

It once belonged to the Union High School (of Mansfield, Washington) library!

It was written by the author of William Shakespeare and Alleged Spanish Prototypes, A Bibliography of Junius, and A Bibliography of Playing Cards!

It was published in 1887! (Probably!)

You can find all sorts of interesting nicknames within! For example, did you know that Victor Hugo called Voltaire the Ape of Genius?

Or that Governor Enos T. Throop of New York was known as Small-Light Throop?

Or, on a related note, that William Thomas Fitzgerald was dubbed the Small-Beer Poet?

Plus, this book comes with a neat note that I found tucked inside! Thanks, Patty! I’m glad to hear that Junior is STILL KICKING.

To be entered in the (what will inevitably be very small) drawing, send your name—and the Twainian sobriquet you’d go by if you were an author—to my attention at at gmail dot com by noon next Friday, May 28, and I’ll ask Caroline to announce the winner here. There are no restrictions on who can enter—except, of course, the seven [tk] ladies. I might post all of the sobriquets I receive, so know that when you send them in, and make 'em snappy!

Good luck!

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