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Book briefs: Rare books, fictional authors and a new novelist

May 28, 2009 |  7:58 am


The Antiquarian Booksellers Assn. in England has recovered 14 of the 71 rare books stolen from financier Sir Evelyn de Rothschild by former ABA President David Slade. In February, Slade admitted to pilfering books that he sold through an unsuspecting auction house for 232,880 British pounds.

Firearm engravings, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Kalahari Desert and the Beedle Bard are the subjects of some rare books that have recently landed at Portland's Powell's Books -- that's the store's rare books room, above. Those books are for sale, by the way, not for the taking.

One kind of book that can't be stolen is a fictional one. Those are the kind written by some of Christopher Miller's favorite fictional authors, which he lists at Conversational Reading. A "fictional author" is not an author of ficton but one in fiction, like Kilgore Trout from "Breakfast of Champions." Miller's new book, "The Cardboard Universe," features "a dismal but prolific science-fiction writer named Phoebus K. Dank." He admits Dank is "in some ways modeled on Philip K. Dick (though Dick was a better writer) and in some ways a kinder, fatter, more prolific version of myself."

The Washington Post talks to newly minted, real-life fiction writer James King, whose book, "Bill Warrington's Last Chance," has just won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. "This is something I've always hoped for since I was a kid," the 54-year-old told the paper.

Book Expo America, the nation's largest publishing conference, begins today with a series of panels and other events in New York City. I'm there and will be filing reports, WiFi willing.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: gracewanderer via Flickr