Sunday, April 3, 2011

Just a Book?? And Time for a Give-Away

The Winner of the Book Give-Away is Kari Wainwright.

Kari - send me (barleykw at appstate dot edu) your address and I'll put your copy of
Susan Isaacs' AS HUSBANDS GO
in the mail

Congratulations!  and thanks very much for playing - it was fun!

I'm a lover of books.

But, to me - there are books and then there are books.

Some are special simply because of what they are. Books which have, in some way, touched me.  Touched me deeply enough that's it's important to me to have them close by.   A couple of books falling into this category are "Five Smooth Stones" by Ann Fairbairn, and "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows to name just two.  Two of the books that will, as my friend Nan says, go to the old folks' home with me.

A few weeks ago, I heard from BookPage that I had won 10 books for responding to one of their questions.  That was a bunch of fun.  The books arrived  -  brand new.  Most of them nice hardcover books.  Some of them are books I've already read, some of them I already own.  All of them what I would call very good books.  But - "just books."  They'll make wonderful gifts for friends and family.  And, I love that.  I love books and I love giving books to people I care about.  And sometimes I have give-aways here.  Come to think of it, I haven't done that in a long time - it may be time to do that.  Like now!

Just leave a comment and I'll toss it into my virtual hat.  I'll draw a name on Sunday and I'll come back and post that name at the top of this blog entry.  If you see your name, send me an email with your snail mail address and I'll send you a first edition hardcover copy of Susan Isaacs "As Husbands Go," which received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly.   

There I went off on one of my tangents . . .

Back to the subject at hand . . .

On the other hand  -  - 

         some books are quite special (to me) for yet another reason.

A couple weeks ago, I dropped my name in someone else's virtual hat to win a prize in a contest an author was having.  It was one of my favorite authors - and I already have all her books.  But the prize was one of her books personalized and autographed.  And I won!  And I was over the moon!  Yes, it's a book I already have, but that one doesn't have a nice note written in it from her to me.  The one she sent me is a book that will stay right here.  Always.  The other one that I'd already bought and read can now move along to a friend's house, but not the personalized one.  No siree.  That one joins a group of much treasured books that I will cherish forever.  Because instead of "just a book," each of those autographed books move into the realm of  "quite special."  They're books with a personal sentiment, memory, and/or story to go along with being "just a book."

I was surprised during a recent discussion at the blog where this contest was taking place when someone said they didn't understand why some people felt the urge, or the need, to have a book autographed.  They just wanted the book.  The author's signature didn't matter to them in the least.  And I've heard this sentiment expressed in discussions at DorothyL.

It floors me.

Now, I know I'm not the only person who loves having books around that have been signed by the author.  That notion can be easily validated by simply going to a book-signing event at a bookstore or a library.  People are there to see, and perhaps meet, an author whose work they admire.  They're there to have a book signed.

Laws, go to a book convention and witness how many people are willing to stand in long lines to have their books signed by their favorite literary heroes. 

But, obviously - there are a lot of folks who are just as happy with "just the book."

So now I'm curious and I'm hoping some of you will drop by to tell me how you feel about this.

If you're a book lover, do your signed books mean more to you than "just the book," or does it just not matter a whit one way or the other?


Anonymous said...

It depends - if I actually met or have met the author, then it probably means more to me. But I am picky - it has to be a special book by an author whom I highly esteem. Just a random book signed by someone who I don't know or don't particulary care for, I'll skip.

What I do save is any correspondence from authors - such as a very nice and unexpected email from Linda Fairstein after she read my comments on Dorothy-L. She didn't have to take the time to do that, but she did, and I highly appreciated it. That is what I value

I am also moving more to e-books and how the heck do you get those puppies signed??

Sam said...

I belong to the club that loves to add personalized books to my collection. One of the biggest thrills I've had as a book blogger was when Joyce Carol Oates noticed a post about her (and a picture of the 90, or so, books I have of hers on my shelf). She sent me an email offering to send me something I didn't have, and she followed through with a very nicely personalized British edition of one of her books. That one will be with me until they close the lid on me...than it goes to my granddaughter with the rest of the library.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, of course it matters! A signed book? Personally, to me? Nothing better.

If I just come across a signed book? Oh, nice, and better than not, but it doesn't have the magic.

And I love to sign books for people. It's such a...connection.
I think of them opening the book, and seeing my signature, and remembering when we met.

Susan Isaacs! One of my true favorites. Kaye, you are amazing.

Jen Forbus said...

Don't enter me, Kaye, I just wanted to respond to this wonderful question because my signed books are so, so special to me. They are connected with wonderful memories.

Take for example my SILENT MERCY I just got from Linda Fairstein. I also took my ENTOMBED with me to be signed. ENTOMBED is one of the books responsible for me falling in love with crime fiction. SILENT MERCY will always represent the first time I met Linda.

Every one of my Moe Prager books is signed with a very unique, very personal note to me from Reed. Again, precious memories.

And my L.A. REQUIEM is signed, "Jen, Your sister rocks. Robert Crais" My sister took my books to one of his signings. She doesn't read crime fiction, but she took them for me. Two of my favorite people together, doing something nice for me. How cool.

I have a bookshelf of precious memories like most people have a scrapbook of pictures - I have that too, but you know what I mean. It makes my heart smile to see them each day and remember.

Thanks for such a great discussion topic. Hugs to you Kaye.

jenny milchman said...

Well, I may be a little different. If the book is signed by an author I know or have met or even exchanged a few words with, it holds a place in my heart and I will keep it with me even if the whole world goes digital and we read "books" embedded right into our retinas.


But a signature alone--a book I bought signed, or even one I stood on line with a zillion other people to get an quick scrawl just doesn't hold the same place in my heart.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll still keep it over the digital retina thing. But it won't feel like a little piece of the author lives on the page.

Great topic, Kaye. I love reading the comments. The Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Crais stories are great.

Patty said...

I used to belong strongly to the "it doesn't matter" camp, mostly because living solidly outside of most book circles (western Iowa and South Dakota) I had no hope of ever getting a book signed to me, all pre-Internet of course. A friend sent a paperback book to Stephen King and he signed it for me, that I keep and treasure and it was my first signed book. Now, I have several (six of them alone from Craig Johnson and I'll get every one of his signed I can since he is nice enough to get close enough to me to visit!). So, although I don't need a signed copy, I enjoy getting them and thank the authors very much for being so generous with their time and their works.

LJ Roberts said...

Don't enter me either, please, Kaye, but you know me, I can never keep quiet on a good question.

First, Five Smooth Stones and Guernsey hold special places in my memory and library. How dearly I wish those where signed.

I am a collector. Most of the 5,000 books I own are hardcover; most of those are 1st editions and most of those are signed. Periodically, I do go through and cull so not all stand the test of time.

For authors whose work I particularly enjoy, I love having signed copies; signed and dated within 30 days of the release date are better still. Inscribed; no. While I don't collect them for resale as my primary goal, some I do know have increased in value and a personal inscription would have diminished that.

I think it's the same reason why I used to collect antiques and vintage jewelry. It adds to the uniqueness of the book.

Obviously, having a signed 1st of Lehane's first book is much different than having a signed 1st of his newest book. For the first, he was an unknown author with a small print run. Now the print runs are huge so the rarity has been lost. Having a signed 1st of "The Book Thief" is special to me as is "The Thirteenth Tale."

The sad thing is when I go to relatively extreme lengths--such as ordering a book from a tiny shop in Wales because it was the only place I could find where the author was signing--but then being disappointed by the book. Ah well, them's the risks and the shop sent absolutely delightful emails to me. There's the gain.

Anonymous said...

I have maybe a dozen inscribed books that are precious to me for one reason or another -- usually special books inscribed by favorite authors at a convention or conference, so it's an experience. But I appreciate signed books, too, knowing that an author cared enough to sign it. And I really like it when an author adds the date of signing.

Susan Isaacs is one of my favorite authors. Right this minute her huge book LILY WHITE is on my reading stack. I found it while browsing the library shelves.

Put my name in the hat. I'd love to have one of her books I haven't read.


Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

I much prefer a signed first edition. Signed and dated is better. And if I held my books for resale or was stocking my long-gone bookstore, that would be preferable to the buyer. So many people think an inscription is worth less. yet there are far fewer books inscribed than signed. An inscription proves the author held the book in their hands and carefully added extra thought and care when they wrote inside that copy. It should be worth more.

For my own collection, I always ask for it to be inscribed to me by name, dated, and if the author has time, I love it when they add a few words about the book or perhaps the circumstances under which they signed it. I even love the book Carol O'Connell inscribed to me in a far away city, to be mailed to me later. She wrote my name and then said, "I was here. Where were you!?" and she dated it. Those are my most favorite, when I know the author wrote those words specifically to me. And I always thank them for the extra time and effort. I don't know if they really understand how much that matters

Lynn S. Smith-Roberts said...

Hi Kaye --

The first time I've commented on your blog, although I pass by every once in a while. I always enjoy your comments on Dorothy_L.

Lynn S. Smith-Roberts

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do like having a book autographed - and I prefer having it personalized as well.

Those go on special shelves in my book collection. Correspondence would be even better but I have not been fortunate enough to get that. I guess that I am too in awe of authors to correspond - and I mean more than just an email.

I hope to go to a convention and perhaps I will meet an author that I can write to someday.

Helen Kiker

Just Jane said...

Found your blog a few weeks ago. Now check it every day for new posts. Love it.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Hi, everyone - Welcome!

How fun to see you all here!

Jaztyme, hey you. I agree. A signed random book isn't that important to me either. But, as it turns out, it could be THE book that speaks to friends of mine who rarely get to book signings. So, again, it can be a bit of a treasure for someone else.

I'm guessing the question of eBook signing is going to present some interesting solutions in the very near future.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Sam! LOVE this story! I guess you just never know who might stumble across your blog - wow!

Your encounter with Joyce Carol Oates and her generous gesture is one of the nicest I've heard. You do, indeed, have a treasure.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Hank, hey there! Thank you for stopping by! This is the perfect opportunity for me to thank you for your constant support and for your generosity. You are one of the most loved, most respected writers in the mystery community. You always make time for your readers and always manage to make each of us feel special. Many hugs to you, sweetie.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Jen - Thank you for stopping by. If anyone has experience and stories about the loveliness of the mystery community, it's you my friend.

Linda Fairstein is a treasure, I agree. I love opening the books she's sent me to re-read over and over the notes she's written. She is a very classy woman and another, like Hank, who manages to make each and every person who comes in contact with her feel like THE most special person in her world. I love her to bits.

Hugs back at you, honey!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Jenny - Hey There! " . . . embedded right into our retinas." EEK!!!!! Girl - as much as I'm loving technology and can't wait to see what's next - this just freaks me out.

Patty - I envy all the time you get to spend with Craig Johnson! I have all his books, but only one is signed. I had an opportunity to chat with he and his lovely Judy at the Indy B'Con, but forgot to ask him to sign his book which I had with me in my tote bag at the time! Can you imagine? WHAT an eejit I am.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

LJ - one of these days, I just want to sit at your feet and listen to you tell story after story. I think you are a fascinating woman. (I also want to know what that lipstick is you're wearing in this new killer photo of yours).

I have bought so many old copies of "Five Smooth Stones" to pass around (ie - push onto) friends. Having an autographed copy of this book would be a thrill, I must say. I do have a copy that I've only seen one of. The dust jacket has a large photo of her on the back. She appears to be sitting in a diner having a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Unusual, I think, because she received a lot of hate mail and death threats after this book was published.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Pat - Hey There! I love Susan Isaacs too, and Lily White was a fave! I'm glad you stopped by 'cause I wanted to tell you how much I loved your James Lee Burke story you told at DL. He is one of my heroes and even to pass by him and share the few words like you did would have had me in a faint.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Sandie - Hi! OH! Carol O'Connell! I love her work. Have every one of her books, but none signed. I love this story!

Lynn - I'm so glad you dropped by, thank you! And pleased that you finally left a comment, yay!!

Helen - I encourage you to try to get to a book convention. I think you'll find yourself "hooked." Actually, I can only speak of mystery conventions and I have to say - there's not a nicer, more fun, more welcoming community of people on God's green earth. For real.

Jane, Welcome!!!! I hope you'll be a frequent visitor - Thank You!

Brenda Buchanan said...

I like to meet authors whose work I admire. It's great to have the chance to look them in the eye and tell them how much I appreciate their work. So I'm with you, Kaye. An autographed book from a terrific writer is a treasure.

Brenda B. in Maine

Unknown said...

I'm mostly in the "don't care" camp. I have a couple of signed or inscribed books that are special, but I don't keep books that aren't special to me just because they're signed, and it would have to be somebody *way* special for me to stand in a long line to get something signed.

LJ Roberts said...

Kaye - I think you and I could swap stories for days upon days; and wouldn't it be fun!

I'm glad you like the new photo. The previous one was from 2007, so I thought it was time for an update. I'm not naturally photogenic, so for me it's a process to get a photo I like. The lipstick is from Estee Lauder; first Autumn, blot, then Sugar Honey on top.

My copy of Five Smooth Stones is hardcover with the dust jacket, but not signed,no photo of her on the dustjacket and in VF/VF condition. I also have a copy of That Man Cartwright by her, but it is an ex-lib hardcover. However, I checked and my copy of "Guernsey...." is a signed copy.

For e-books, I have been known to buy a signed, hardcopy to collect then download the e-book version to read. But that was when I was employed.

Carol N Wong said...

I used to collect books but not so much now. Have moved a lot so it is difficult to pack up all the books so now I just keep the ones precious to me and sell or donate the resst. When it comes to signed books, I don't care so much unless someone writes something special to me. I have three of those so far and would not give them up for anything.


Unknown said...

If I'm not a big fan of the author, I'm mostly in the 'do not care' camp. But I do have a few personally signed books from a favorite author that I'll keep (or take with me to the old folks home).

Carol M said...

I've only met one author and would never give up the signed book I received. I have others that are also on my "save forever" bookshelf because I talked to that author on line and they are signed to me and, of course, I love the book. I really like getting signed books and rarely give them away!

Eileen said...

It means more to me, I think. I don't have very many books signed but each is very special. I have the first three of Steve Hamilton's books about the UP. My brother in law went to a signing he was doing in Marquette and bought them for me. I have two books that Lilliam Stewart Carl signed. And I have a few more. I have a book signed by Frank McCourt that is very dear to me.
I have a nook as well...I carry a Sharpie marker in my purse. If I were ever lucky enough to meet an author, I would have them sign the back of my nook. :) Works for me!

Eileen said...

Shoot, I knew if I named names, I would forget someone...I have a signed copy of Drive Time by Hank Phillipi Ryan. I've been watching her on local tv for longer than she or I would care to recall. :) Sorry, Hank!

Kari Wainwright said...

There are some signed books that are extraordinarily special to me. Then there are others that I simply have because I met the author at a Left Coast Crime or a Bouchercon. Still, almost all of them bring back memories to me when I look at the personalized note and signature.

Thing is, I love books, signed or not. And I'd love to win the copy of the unsigned one you are giving away while you enjoy your treasure.

gkw9000 at

Anonymous said...

I've never been lucky enough to have a book signed by an author, although I have come across books I've read that are signed by an author. Those two books were signed by the author when they came to the library to give a talk. It definitely would mean more to me if I got a book signed by an author who I had a conversation with. If that happened, I would never give the book away since it would bring fond memories forever.

Sandi L.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Signed books are special. Signed or not I love winning books. Heck, I just love books.

pennyt said...

I have just a few books that have been signed by favorite authors and they are keepers for sure. I hadn't thought about Five Smooth Stones in years, but I loved it when I read it. Please enter my name in the drawing. Thanks.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

oh wow - how fun!

I'm loving seeing you all here and hearing all the different viewpoints, and stories.

Keep 'em coming, please.

Bev said...

If I get to meet the author, the signed book means a lot more to me. There is one in my collection that is very special to me. For my birthday one year, my mom stood in 98 degree heat to get the latest Janet Evanovich signed for me. My mom has been gone for 10 years now and the fact that she made the effort to go means a lot to me. Every year, Pat McManus comes to Boise to sign his latest book. It's traditional that I go stand in line to get the latest signed for my brother. I think I have been doing it for about 15 years now. The one time my brother got to meet Pat, I swear you would have thought he died and went to heaven. He was so excited.

Karen said...

When I know the author, and the author personally signs the book to me, then that book is mine forever. It is a treasure. An autographed book is neat but I am not a collector. Ironically, I know that a generic autograph is worth more than a personalized message but then, I'm not in it for its potential value. I'm in it because I found a wonderful author who has given me wonderful gifts and then, to top it off, has personally autographed book(s) to me. That means a lot.

Eve Barbeau said...

I love the title "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" It alone makes me want to read the book. I think I'll wonder over to my bookseller right now. Thanks for that.