Back in July, we here at Bookstr reported that a fist edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had sold at auction for £28,500, or, $34,650.73! Finishing that article, we said that “Sadly, you can’t get this copy anymore since, well, you know, it’s been bought for a gigantic amount of money” but turns out we were wrong!
The long and short of it is that back in the day, when J.K. Rowling wrote the first of seven books (seven? Wow!), it was entitled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and later re-titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because British publishers weren’t confident American children would know what a ‘philosopher’ was.
This 1997 edition contains two tell-tale errors: the misspelling of ‘philosopher’s’ on the back page and a double mention of “1 wand” on page 53 in an equipment list.
IMAGE VIA ITV
Now another first edition has has sold for over £46,000 (roughly $57,303) at auction in the U.K, with the buyer paying a total of £57,040 (roughly $71,000) to cover both fees and taxes.
Image Via The Verge
Shockingly, this first edition of Harry Potter was expected to fetch between £20,000 and £30,000 (roughly $24,000 to $37,000), but a telephone bidding war Thursday skyrocketed the final price. This is happened because, according to the Hansons Auctioneers in Staffordshire, in the West Midlands of England, there were four phone bidders, as well as internet bidders, that helped boost the book from its estimated selling point.
It also might be because the book was kept in pristine condition in a locked briefcase for 20 years, reports the BBC. Jim Hanson, the Hansons book expert, told the Birmingham Mail he “couldn’t believe the condition” of the auctioned book, saying its quality was “almost like the day it was made. I can’t imagine a better copy can be found.”
IMAGE VIA BBC/NOTE THAT “PHILOSOPHER’S” IS SPELLED AS “PHILOSPHER’S” HERE
The book was in such great condition because after the owners realized this edition’s importance, they planned to keep it as an heirloom. What made them decide to sell the book was after they heard about that first edition Philosopher’s Stone selling for over $35,000 in July.
Can’t say I blame them! Unsurprisingly, once the decided to sell the book, Hanson says that:
The owners took such great care of their precious cargo they brought it to me in a briefcase, which they unlocked with a secret code. It felt like we were dealing in smuggled diamonds.
The National Book Foundation has unveiled the finalists for the National Book Awards. Listing five books each in five categories, they’ve given us some recognizable names, but it’s going to be an interesting year considering that none of the authors have taken home a National Book Award in these categories before.
For this article, we’re going to show you what made it into the ‘Young People’s Literature’ category.
This book follows Jam and her best friend, Redemption, as they learn that monsters exist and suddenly meet Pat, a creature made of horns and colors and claws that emerges from one of Jam’s mother’s paintings thanks to a drop of Jam’s blood.
Now Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but it’ll be tough given that no one in this world believes in monsters.
How does one navigate in a world that is in denial about what you yourself know to be the truth?
Acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks this all important question, and many more, in their timely young adult debut. Kirkus Reviews praised this addition to YA as a “…soaring novel shoots for the stars and explodes the sky with its bold brilliance.”
As Kirkus Reviews notes, this is a “collection [that] brims with humor, pathos, and the heroic struggle to grow up.” The overarching story is that a school bus fell from the sky, but no one saw it happen. Going through the day-to-day life of ten children all on a different block, we discover what really happens after the last school bell rings and what goes through our minds as we walk from home and, more importantly, what we ignore.
Here we follow the story of Frankie, who’s been an orphan ever since her mother died and her father left her and her siblings in an orphanage. Now Frankie and her sister, Toni, two young, unwanted women doing everything they can to survive.
But now the embers of the Great Depression are kindled into the fires of World War II, and with the shadows of injustice, poverty, and death all around, the odds are against Frankie to make it in his doggone world.
NPRnotes that “[t]here may be wolves behind all the doors, but there is also a whole world beyond for those bold enough to push them wide.”
In 1919 (obviously) America was recovering from World War I, black soldiers returned to racism so violent that that summer would become known as the Red Summer, the suffrage movement had a long-fought win when women gained the right to vote, laborers turned to the streets to protest working conditions, and a national fervor led to a communism scare. It was the year that prohibition went into effect.
A hundred years later, Sandler looks back at each of these movements, looking at their momentum and their setbacks, showing that progress isn’t always a straight line. More than a history book, Sandler has crafted an “entertaining and instructive look at a tumultuous year.”
This high school English teacher and YA novelist has a breakout hit with this June 18th release. Critically acclaimed, this Filipino-American author gives his most personal story yet:
The novel explores Jay, whose cousin is killed as part of Duterte’s drug war, as he travels to the Philippines in an attempt to unravel the mystery of his cousin’s death, confronting a place he thought he knew.
Kirkus Reviews showers praise, ending their review by saying “[p]art coming-of-age story and part exposé of Duterte’s problematic policies, this powerful and courageous story offers readers a refreshingly emotional depiction of a young man of color with an earnest desire for the truth,” and I say that I’ve been following this ever since I included it on Top Picks all the way back in June 16th, and now it’s been nominated!
Who do you think is going to win? I know who I think is going to win…
Now in real life, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway had a tense relationship. That’s a nice way of saying they both thought the other was a garbage writer. So, in honor of Faulkner’s recent birthday celebration, we figured we would bring them together to settle their differences—by punching each other in the face.
So ignoring the broader themes of Chuck Palahniuk’s seminal work, Fight Club, we’re going to do what we do best and have two people fight each other.
Since we can’t talk about Fight Club (see rules one and two), we’re going to write about it. Specifically, we’re going to have two writers fight each other. Three rounds will determine their strength as we go through their power of description, their distinctive style, and their impact on the world at large.
1-Whose Writing Style is More Descriptive?
Image Via Nobel Prize.org
Actually, let’s wait up.
Ernie in his natural habitat / Image Via The Forward
Hemingway’s descriptions are brief and uncomplicated, yet his ability to paint such vivid imagery is astounding. Each word is a paintbrush and he puts them all together perfectly.
“What should we drink?” the girl asked. She had taken off her hat and
put it on the table.
“It’s pretty hot,” the man said.
“Let’s drink beer.”
“Dos cervezas,” the man said into the curtain.
“Big ones?” a woman asked from the doorway.
“Yes. Two big ones.”
The woman brought two glasses of beer and two felt pads. She put the felt pads and the beer glasses on the table and looked at the man and the girl. The girl was looking off at the line of hills. They were white in the sun and the country was brown and dry.
“They look like white elephants,” she said.
“I’ve never seen one,” the man drank his beer.
The dialogue is excellent, but I have one question for you: What do the characters look like?
It doesn’t matter what the charters looks like in this story, but we’re not talking about the power of this story, we’re using it as an example of Hemingway’s descriptive prowess.
Image Via Inquiries Journal
Faulkner, unlike Hemingway, is known for his purple descriptions. Let’s look at A Rose for Emily: for an example, where he describes Miss Emily:
They rose when she entered–a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand.
Can’t you just picture it?
Image Via Quartz
Let’s get on some even ground through. What do the main buildings in these stories look like? Here’s an earlier passage from “Hills Like White Elephants”:
The hills across the valley of the Ebro’ were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. Close against the side of the station there was the warm shadow of the building and a curtain, made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out flies. The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes. It stopped at this junction for two minutes and went on to Madrid.
Well, we now know that the man and the woman are “the American” and “the girl”. Besides that, we know what isn’t there, such as trees and shade, and that there is a building with a curtain made of bamboo weeds as well as a bar. But what does the building look like? Is it big? Small? White?
Again, it doesn’t matter for this story, in fact it’s reservation is its greatest strength, but we’re not judging Hemingway for his story but for his description.
Image VIa William Faulkner – WordPress
Here’s Faulkner describing a house in A Rose for Emily:
It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores. And now Miss Emily had gone to join the representatives of those august names where they lay in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson.
We know the shape of the house, the fact it has a garage, the lights on the street, the history of the house, we know everything and anything we’ll need to know and even some things we might not need to know. Plus, the passage is bigger. Who’s got more description?
Don’t worry be happy / Image Via Literary Hub
Who’s got style? Whose method of writing is more memorable, distinctive, and just all around fabulous?!
Faulkner won last round, so he’s up at bat…
Image Via AMazon
Faulkner’s “The Sound and The Fury” experiments with switching perspectives, changing his style from chapter to chapter from children to an outcast to an insane characters and the illiterate. Like a musician he’s an expert at arrangement, building tension and breaking while at the same time filling it with a high emotions and Gothic elements. His characters are wide ranging and diverse, from descendant of slaves to poor whites to working-class Southerners and the aristocracy from old and traditional Southern families.
He experiments with everything and anything, but sadly this comes at a loss. What is his style? Flowery prose?
Image Via Wikipedia
A pioneer of iceberg theory, Hemingway was known for his minimalist style. The idea of it is to write as little as possible with the truth lurking beneath like an iceberg.
As a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star, while living in Paris in the early 1920s, Hemingway covered the Greco-Turkish War. His biographer Jeffrey Meyers explains that Hemingway “objectively reported only the immediate events in order to achieve a concentration and intensity of focus—a spotlight rather than a stage.” He brought this to fiction, believing that if an experience were to be distilled, then “what he made up was truer than what he remembered.”
Yes, “Hills like White Elephants” isn’t heavy on description and the dialogue doesn’t explain anything, but it doesn’t take a literary master to realize that the building with the beaded curtain is an abortion clinic. The story is about two people discussing about having an abortion.
His books are loaded with symbolism, but it all comes naturally. Why? Well, as Hemingway explained when he received the Nobel prize for literature (don’t worry fans, Faulkner got the same prize):
No good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived at beforehand and stuck in… That kind of symbol sticks out like raisins in raisin bread. Raisin bread is all right, but plain bread is better… I tried to make a real old man, a real boy, a real sea, a real fish and real sharks. But if I made them good and true enough they would mean many things. The hardest thing is to make something really true and sometimes truer than true.
Who’s got a distinct style? Faulkner’s certainly got style, but experimentation means people can’t pick you up at first glance. Maybe that’s a good thing, but for this competition it’s a bad thing.
Point for Hemingway!
Don’t worry be happy / Image Via The Daily Beast
Both of these authors have made classic works, but whose influenced more authors?
Image VIa The Telegraph
Faulkner created revelations of life in the south, challenging perceptions of the area, but these revelations often hit on deaf ears because he makes the readers work for it. Like Joyce and Wolfe, his craft of social critique through fiction is as masterful as it is incredible.
Now I have to talk about the bad stuff.
The long and short of it is people don’t get him, so many stop reading. Even those that finished are often left in a state of confusion, as was one interview who posed Faulkner this question: “Some people say they can’t understand your writing, even after they’ve read it two or three times. What approach would you suggest for them?”
Faulkner’s response? “Read it four times.”
Let’s give Faulkner credit: he certainly has more complex emotions than Hemingway’s archetypal heroes have and he certainly has a style, given his love of the Gothic South and his frequent use of stream of consciousness. He’s far more experimental than Hemingway, but that’s hard to imitate.
Image Via Encyclopedia Britannica
Ernest Hemingway, on the other hand, is known not only for his iceberg theory and his terse, journalistic style, but his love of traveling. His stories have us drinking in Paris, trekking through Spain, warring in Italy, fishing in Cuba, and hunting in Africa.
As the pioneer of a simple style, his influence is everywhere. Plus, in the age of social media, what do you think people are reading more: long-winded symphonies of words, or pages filled with as little words as possible?
Point for Hemingway!
Image Via National Post
Sweat poured down his face. On his knees, hands wrapped around his gun, Ernest Hemingway leaned against a rock. He had to lean his head down forward so Faulkner wouldn’t get a shot at him. Taking a breath, heart jackhammering in his chest, Hemingway looked down at his trusty rifle. The edges were worn, the gears were light with rust, but it could still fire a shot, or at least he believed it could.
He hadn’t fired a single shot yet. Not biggie, neither had Faulkner. Hidden in his home, the door shut, the blind cautiously drawn, leaving only a inch of space where the black eye of a rifle, similarly worn and rusty, pointed out at the bolder. Hemingway could feel the black eye of Faulkner’s rifle just above him. His neck hurt, every bone in his body urged him to pick his head up and crane his neck, just for a small stretch, but he knew the moment he did Faulkner would take his shot. He had to move something, anything, so moved the only thing that was safe to move: his mouth.
“You bloody drunk!” Hemingway screamed.
His voice echoed through the wide open plains and came back to him. The echo rang out in his ear. Take the shot. Stand up and fire.
“And you’re a coward!” Faulkner screamed from inside his house.
“I am not!” Hemingway barked, still hiding behind his rock.
“Stop hiding then!” Faulkner screamed. “Oh, but you won’t, will you? You would never crawl out on a limb. You have no courage and have never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
That attack on his manhood felt like a punch in his manhood. “Poor Faulkner,” Hemingway spat. “Do you really think big emotions come from big words? You think I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”
“I am lambas and ambrosia!” Faulkner was hurling fire at him, firing with great speed, “And you are bread and beer!”
“Everyone loves beer!” Hemingway shot back. “Now face me, you coward!”
But Faulkner did not. He did not speak, and Hemingway did not respond. He simply sat behind his rock, crouched there, his eyes squinting from the sun.
His eyes were narrowed. The moon shined a light upon him, like the bright lights on the stage. Should he stand? Is it worse to die a coward, or to die sober?
“I will get that liquor,” Hemingway muttered, and with that he jumped out from behind the rock, turned, and saw that the rifle wasn’t in the window.
Taking a breath, rifle aimed in front of him, Hemingway approached the house.
Coming to the door, he kicked it open. A useless gesture, the door was already unlocked.
Swinging his head from left to right, Hemingway saw on the left was Faulkner, lying on the ground.
“I’ve won,” Hemingway said, “I’ve won!” He threw his rifle to the ground, but it did not come away from his hand. It was stuck there, thanks to sweat and fear. Who cares? After all this time, fighting from dusk til dawn, he had won out.
Victorious, Hemingway marched passed Faulkner and found his liquor cabinet. Smiling wide, he opened the cabinet wide.
But all the bottles were empty. With that revelation, Hemingway cried.
The infamous Cold Hill House has been demolished to make way for a new housing estate, and now an elderly couple has moved into the new estate. But no one who moves into Cold Hill reaches their fortieth birthday, and this couple’s days are numbered.
Publisher’s Weekly notes that “[a]fter an opening scene of gore, the novel takes time to build to its final unavoidable and understated tragedies” and we here at Bookstr warn you that this novel builds and builds and you’ll forget the chilling conclusion, even though you may want to.
A September 19th release from Andrea Camilleri, this Italian author has written, among many others, the infamous Montalbano mystery series. The Montalbano series, set in nineteenth-century Sicily, has been made into the critical darling Italian TV series.
Image Via Amazon
His newest book follows Inspector Montalbano who, among many others, assist the wave of refugees coming in along the Sicilian coast, but while on duty, traged strikes the docks when Elena Biasini, a charming master seamstress, is found brutally slain.
Now Inspector Montalbano delves into the world of garments, discovering how to weave the loose threads of this case together.
As usual, Camilleri delivers an excellent mystery with a rich plot, made all the more intense by the fact that the aging Montalbano growing age is starting to show. A deeply satisfying police procedural, as well as a feast of satire and playful nonsense, this novel is not only a commentary of our times, but also an astounding feat considering Camilleri was blind when he wrote this book with his assistant.
Her newest novel is much anticipated and, thanks to the wonder of time (it came out October 8th!), is already out!
But what’s the book about?
Image Via Amazon
Raised in Los Angeles by a hippie mom, Galaxy “Alex” Stern dropped out of school early and entered a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse.
By age twenty, Alex is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Now on her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance to rebuild her life and attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride.
What’s the catch?
Well, Alex is tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies and she finds herself in a world of occult magic and…death!
A thrilling ride, this novel has gotten praises from the King of Horror himself, Stephen King, who said that, “Ninth House is the best fantasy novel I’ve read in years, because it’s about real people. Bardugo’s imaginative reach is brilliant, and this story―full of shocks and twists―is impossible to put down.”
A lawyer for years, John Grisham became an author and his name has become synonymous with the modern legal thriller. So how is this October 15th release different from his other novels? Well…
Image Via Amazon
Twenty-two years ago Quincy Miller, a young black man, was arrested for the shooting of young lawyer Keith Russo. For the two decades, Quincy has maintained his innocence. Desperate, he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small nonprofit run by Cullen Post, a lawyer who is also an Episcopal minister.
Cullen Post takes the case but soon discovers there are people who do not want Quincy exonerated. They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.
Gripping, exciting, this book may prove to be one of Grisham’s most thrilling, most heart-pounding novel.
In the summer of 1915, Pin, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a carnival fortune-teller, dresses as a boy and joins a teenage gang that roams the Chicago’s Riverview amusement park, looking for trouble.
She finds it, discovering a ruthless killer who uses the shadows of the dark carnival attractions to conduct his crimes. Witnessing him enter the Hell Gate ride with a young girl, and emerging alone, Pin will be led to iconic outsider artist Henry Darger, a brilliant but seemingly mad man. She’ll have to work with this lunatic to navigate the seedy underbelly of a changing city to uncover a murderer who lurks in the shadow.
Beyond your run-of-the-mill thriller, Kirkus Reviews perfectly notes how “Pin is an engaging, courageous heroine, and her musings on gender identity are both poignant and relevant,” and the novel itself is “Richly imaginative and psychologically complex.”
Each week, Bookstr gives you a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list.
Today, we’ll be recommending five Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels that you have to get on board reading or else you might be unprepared to deal with technological villains, menacing zombies, or the horrors of a tyrannical government.
Set fifteen years after the events of the previous book, the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but the lives of three different women are about to converge.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women come together thanks to a third voice belonging to a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.
Released September 10th, this book has made headway and continues to stay in the public consciousness. Read it now!…Or be left behind.
We follow Violet Sterling, a woman who once lived in the Burleigh House. One of the six great houses in England, Burleigh’s magic kept both the countryside and Violet happy until one fateful day when Violet’s father destroyed everything.
Seven years later, Violet has lived in exile with an overwhelming desire to return home. Now she must return home, grief-stricken, her very soul tearing itself apart, telling her that soon the magic that once made her so happy now threatens to destroy the countryside.
Gripping and utterly unique, we agree with Kirkus Reviews when they summed up this book with one word: “Spellbinding”.
Stan “The Man” Lee needs no introduction. You know him, you’ve seen him, he lives on in all our hearts, but before he passed on he teamed up with supremely talented Kat Rosenfield, author of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone. Together, they’ve given us this wonderful book.
Image Via Amazon
The first installment in the Alliances series, A Trick of Light follows Nia, a 17-year-old genius hacker. Lonely beyond belief, Nia spends her days in a hologram classroom to learn everything about the world, a place she is forever separately from.
Then one day, everything changes. First, nerdy Cameron gets struck by lightning while filming a new video for his Youtube channel. Waking up in a hospital, he realizes that he has changed and he is able to connect to every electronic device.
From here, he soon meets Nia in an online game and they quickly become friends. But then they cross paths with OPTIC who wants their skill set for their own evil plans. Can they stop him and the galactic threat they poses?
Want to read this exciting, gripping, gut-punching story? It came out September 17th and has exceeded our expectations so much we here at Bookstr have to smile and say, “Excelsior!” to Stan and Kat.
Since the death of their parents, seventeen-year-old Aderyn “Ryn” and her siblings have been scraping by as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren. But things get hairy when she learns first hand that sometimes the dead don’t always stay dead.
Legend says that these risen corpses, known as “bone houses”, are the result of a decades-old curse, but when Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity.
Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them into the heart of the mountains, to search for buried secrets, but some things are meant to stay buried.
Kirkus Reivews, as well us at Bookstr, promises that this is “[a] stand-alone dark fantasy that readers will want to sink their teeth into”
This Katy Rose Pool’s debut novel, and thank heavens she’s got more in store for us!
Image Via Amazon
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity using their visions of the future. Then, a hundred years ago, they vanished. But they left behind one final prophecy, foretelling of an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction.
Now five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
In the words of Kirkus Reviews, this September 24th release is “[a] well-crafted, surprising, and gripping start to a new trilogy.”
Featured Images Via Nerd Daily, The Independent, and Amazon