August 31, 2006

The Top Shelf

As we are both voracious readers, my husband and I own at least a dozen bookcases in our small 1930's bungalow. In the antique oak bookcase in the living room, I have one shelf reserved for signed books. I don't generally attend book signings unless I really enjoy the author's works. As fate would have it, I just happen to have thirteen signed books.

A dear friend sent this over to me from England (many thanks again, Nat!), but I have not yet read it. I think I tried when it first arrived, but got distracted and wound up setting it aside.
Inscription: Lesley - Jasper.

Picked this up in The Elliot Bay Bookstore in Seattle a few summers ago. I read the first few chapters, but set it aside for something a bit more engaging.
Inscription: Paul Collins

I met Hasselstrom at a Willa Cather conference (she was the keynote speaker) in Red Cloud, Nebraska in 1997. I've read a few of her stories and poems, but not the entire book.
Inscription: Linda Hasselstrom

Another acquisition from the Willa Cather conference.
Inscription: Linda Hasselstrom

I'm pretty certain my mom gave this to me many years ago. I know I've read it, but that was another lifetime ago. Thumbing through it now, I realize it's high time for a re-read!
Inscription: To Lesley - Erma Bombeck.

I fell in love with Bess Streeter Aldrich's prose when I first read A Lantern in Her Hand in 1997. I attended a book signing for Carol Miles Peterson (biographer) at Barnes and Noble in Lincoln. Haven't read any of the book (yet!).
Inscription: For Lesley, With all good wishes, Carol Petersen.

Another book (which I did read and love) from my mom.
Inscription: Dear Leslie - All the very best & lots of love. Jennifer Lauck.

I read this in April 2005. I gave it a perfect 5/5 and it wound up on my Top Ten list for the year. I wrote a fan letter to the author and received not only a signed copy, but a separate personal note of condolence to my husband and myself.
Inscription: For Lesley and Rod, And in memory of Rachel - With my best wishes and deepest prayers for you and your family. Philip Beard.

I met Lorna Landvik at a small conference in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998. She is very funny (used to perform stand-up comedy) and kept us all in stitches.
Inscription: June 20, 1998. For Lesley - Here's to finding your own oasis! Lorna Landvik.

I attended a book signing for Haruf at Barnes & Noble in Lincoln. What a thoroughly engaging (and very humble) man. He was such a joy to listen to and talk with during the signing.
Inscription: For Lesley - Good to meet a book seller. Kent Haruf.

Same book signing at B&N.
Inscription: For Lesley - Good to see you, Kent Haruf.

I met Jill ker Conway at the same conference in Cleveland in which Lorna Landvik was participating. I hadn't read her book yet, but she was fascinating to listen to.
Inscription: To Lesley, with warm greetings, Jill Conway

Saving the best for last. Russell was another author I was fortunate to meet at the Cleveland conference. Not only is she incredibly intelligent, but she's also very funny. I had already read her book and thought it was absolutely fantastic.

Inscription: For Lesley - All the best, Mary Doria Russell


  1. Hi Les ~ Loved this post! I'm contemplating doing the Thursday 13...simply because it's been so much fun reading everybody elses. :)

    Happy Reading!

  2. I met Mary Doria Russell last year at a booksigning for A Thread of Grace. I agree with you completely! Sharon

  3. This is great. I also have a little collection of signed books.

  4. What a fantastic idea for a post! If you don't mind I think I'll steal in the near future. Living in the UK allowed me to get some signed copies. I too have a top shelf! :)

  5. Thanks, Joy. Glad you enjoyed it. I'll keep an eye out for your Thursday Thirteens.

    Have you read A Thread of Grace, Sharon? I thought it was quite good and want to read it again someday. I remember Ms. Russell talking about the research for it in great detail at that conference back in 1998. I sure hope she writes another novel soon!

    Iliana - how many signed books do you own? I have a couple more that I didn't have room to mention, but I know some folks have quite a collection.

    Nat - So glad you enjoyed the post. By all means, feel free to use the idea for a future post of your own. I'm curious about what is in your list of signed copies. Be sure to include any special inscriptions.

  6. You're so lucky to have a signed copy of Plainsong by Haruf. I loved that book. The others? I'm ashamed to say I haven't heard of them...still, an autographed book is a lovely thing to own.

    The only one I have signed is The Love Letters by Madeleine L'Engle, which was one of my favorite books in the whole world even before she signed it.

  7. Cool post, Les!

    I may have to try this Thursday thing, one day, but I'm not sure I can handle 13. My brain seems to shut down at 5 of anything. I love your lists, though. They've all been utterly fascinating.

  8. Really enjoyed this post, Les! I am most impressed with the number of authors you have met and the signed books you own. Thanks for including the inscriptions, it made for very enjoyable reading. I would love to have met Maria Doria Russel!

    I don't have too many autographed books, just "The Kite Runner" given to me by my bookseller friend when he met Khaled Hooseini in California and I managed to get Asne Seirstad to sign my copy of "The Book Seller of Kabul" when I attended a reading here in Toronto a couple of years ago.

    A really nice post, thanks!

  9. Bellezza, have you read Haruf's follow-up to Plainsong, Eventide? It's wonderful!! Even better than Plainsong, imho. Of all these signed books, Dear Zoe, The Sparrrow and Your Oasis on Flame Lake are high on my list to recommend. I need to get a copy of The Love Letters by L'Engle. I absolutely adored Two-Part Invention and need to read more from her series of journals.

    Nancy - I'm not sure I can keep up with the 13 list either! I may have to limit it to a once-a-month feature, especially if I want to keep it book-related. Glad you've been enjoying them thus far.

    Lotus - Glad you enjoyed the post. I just happened to luck out with enough signed books for this list! BTW, I have The Bookseller of Kabul on my tbr list. Thanks for the reminder. I need to get a copy and give it a read, as I've heard great things about it.


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