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Jane Austen ring goes up for auction

A ring once owned by author Jane Austen will be auctioned by Sotheby's later this month. Austen, the author of the much-loved novels "Pride and Prejudice," "Sense and Sensibility" and "Emma," never married or had children, but the ring has remained in the possession of her family since her death in 1817. Scholars had been unaware of its existence, and it is expected to sell at auction for $31,000 to $46,000.

The ring is made of gold with a cabachon blue stone of natural turquoise. It is, as Sotheby's auction house notes, in a simple style Austen wrote of sympathetically in her work. In "Mansfield Park," Fanny Price is given a gold chain by her cousin Edmund, who tells her, "I consulted the simplicity of your taste."

The jewelry is given to Fanny "in all the niceness of jewellers packing," just as the ring remains in its original box. It comes with letters dating back to 1863 describing its provenance: The ring was passed from Jane Austen to sister Cassandra Austen to sister-in-law Eleanor Austen to niece Caroline Mary Craven Austen to niece Mary A. Austen-Leigh to her niece, Mary Dorothy Austen-Leigh, then to her sister, Winifred Jenkyns, who passed it to her descendants.

The ring will be offered at Sotheby's English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations auction on July 10. The auction includes many sets of letters, and superb copies of the "Shakespeare Fourth Folio" (est. $124,000 to $186,000), Charlotte Brontë’s "Jane Eyre" (est. $93,000 to $124,000), and Charles Darwin’s "On the "Origin of Species" (est. $77,000 to $108,000). It also includes fine first editions of Jane Austen's novels "Mansfield Park" (est. $4,600 to $7,700), "Northanger Abbey" and "Persuasion" (est. $3,800 to $5,400), "Emma" (est. $15,500 to $23,000) and "Pride and Prejudice" (est. $31,000 to $46,000).

Hat tip to the Paris Review blog for spotting Jane Austen's ring for sale.


Jane Austen's unfinished manuscript goes up for auction

A Jane Austen memento. Pricey? Creepy?

Literary letters for auction at Sotheby's

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Jane Austen's ring and a note about it, written by Eleanor Austen. Credit: Sotheby's


Kelly Link's 'Stranger Things Happen' returns in limited edition

The first collection of short stories by Kelly Link, "Stranger Things Happen," will be issued in a special edition this fall by Subterranean Press. Link, alongside Southern California's Aimee Bender, is a leading voice in the emergent genre of literary surrealist, speculative fiction.

"I'm assuming I'm not the only writer out there who loves both [H.P.] Lovecraft and Lorrie Moore," Link told the Times in 2008. "What I get when I write is some Lovecraft, plus some Lorrie Moore, hopefully plus a little of me in there as well. So it's about infinite recombinations."

"Stranger Things Happen" was initially released in 2001 by Small Beer Press, the publishing house founded by Link and her husband Gavin Grant, and it put both the writer and publisher on the map, and remains Small Beer's bestselling title. It's still in print, but as always, Small Beer Press sells it in paperback.

That will change with the new Subterranean Press edition of "Stranger Things Happen," which will be in hardcover. It will also feature new illustrations, by the artist Kathleen Jennings; that's her work on the cover, above.

The limited hardcover edition, a run of just 500 copies, will be $75. It comes with an 80-page hardcover chapbook with two previously uncollected short stories by Link. All special edition copies will be autographed by Link, and those ordered here can be personalized.

It's an interesting project -- readers can certainly pick up the more affordable paperback edition for $11.95, or the e-book for just $6.99. The new edition is for collectors, people who value the stories and want to see them in hardcover form, and who see value in a signed and numbered edition that is limited to 500 copies.

This is one of the ways that publishers can distinguish the print work they do from the e-books they issue, focusing on creating an object that's worth having. And Link's work seems a great place to start.


Faces to watch 2008: Kelly Link

Book review: Kelly Link's "Magic for Beginners"

Kelly Link redirects her off-kilter tales to young adults

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Images: The cover of the new edition of "Stranger Things Happen"  and Kelly Link. Credit: Small Beer Press

Fug Girls get 'Messy' with young-adult follow-up [Updated]

FuggirlsJust in time for summer beach reading season, professional celebrity skewerers the Fug Girls are back with another young-adult sendup of Hollywood celebu-spawn. We caught up with Go Fug Yourself bloggers Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan to talk about their "Messy" new book.

Jacket Copy: In your young-adult debut, "Spoiled," a vacuous blond ladder climber goes Manolo a Manolo with her surprise half sister. In "Messy," she continues to spar but with a different female character. What is it about rivalry that appeals?

Heather Cocks: It isn't so much about rivalry as outsiderness. In "Spoiled," Molly was a geographic outsider. In "Messy," we get someone who’s emotionally an outsider. Those are the kinds of feelings that anyone can relate to. A lot of teen rivalry is feeling you’re different from someone else and being judged for being different. I don’t know any teenage girls who look back on that time and say, 'What a wonderful, magnificent time of personal growth.' Usually you're thinking of the girl who made you feel like an idiot.

MessyJC: Like "Spoiled," your new book is a takedown of celebrity culture. But, like your blog, it's a takedown that unfolds in the blogosphere. Why did you want the rivalry to center on a Hollywood insider blog?

Heather Cocks: There's definitely the idea that the Fug Girls are writing a book, so there’s a fun wink to how we met and got started. The reason these books even exist is because we have this blog. People often assume that we ourselves are anonymous because we don’t put our pictures on the website and we have facetious bios we put up. My picture is from Joan Collins when she was on "Dynasty" and Jessica’s is Shannon Doherty from "90210," so people see that and assume we’re trying to stay anonymous and sometimes disbelieve we’re women or that our names are really Heather and Jessica because they’re cheerleader names you would cherry-pick to write a blog like ours. That brings up the whole idea of whether you can believe what you see on the web. It was a fun way for us to deal with identity issues. [Updated June 6, 2012, 8:51 a.m.: The original version of this post said the Fug Girls don't put their fiction on their blog. They don't put their pictures.]

Spoiled_pbJacket Copy: How is writing young-adult fiction different from your blog, especially writing as a team?

Jessica: Heather and I are very comfortable writing together because we’ve been doing it for eight years. Our posts on Go Fug Yourself we write ourselves, but our work for New York magazine and other freelance we do together, so it feels like a natural extension. Logistically, we had a very detailed outline and then we traded.

JC: Why did you even want to write fiction for teens?

Heather: It’s such a different muscle from what we do on the blog because it’s creating something new as opposed to riffing on material. To have a picture that’s your base is different from creating the world yourself. We both watch a lot of CW and ABC Family. We're very soapy people. We read a lot of young-adult because there’s so much really well-written fiction for young adults. God knows the number of times we mention "Sweet Valley High" on our website. It felt like a really natural arena to step into.

JC: What's so great about your books is that the humor from your blog completely translates. What makes fashion and celebrity culture so fun to make fun of?

Jessica: We sort of see Go Fug Yourself as the online version of sitting around with your friends watching the Oscars. It's a virtual coffee klatsch to sit around and say, "What is she wearing? What is he thinking?" We intend it to be good-hearted, but I also think if I had all these resources -- all the money and the stylist and the trainer and the time -- I would look fantastic all the time. There’s something confounding when someone who has all the resources to look amazing all the time sometimes looks totally insane.

JC: Brick was such a narcissistic, movie-star dad in the first book. Without spoiling "Messy," does he step up in book two?

Heather: One of my favorite scenes is when Brooke achieves a measure of professional success early in the book and she tells Brick and they have a little moment together. Anyone who read "Spoiled" knows she’s very much driven by wanting his attention. Brick in this book becomes a little more involved in her life, so I think people will be happy to see him spending some time. But he just finished work on "Avalanche," his epic snow movie shot in Key West.


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Novelist James Patterson preaches the power of kids' books

"Fated" review

-- Susan Carpenter

Photos: Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan; book covers for "Messy" and "Spoiled." Credit: Kim Fox; Little, Brown and Company.


Garage Magazine includes art condoms in its second issue

HaringcondomIn its second issue, dedicated to sex and relationships, Garage Magazine has included an appropriate, unique gift: artist-designed condoms. The designs are from artists Keith Haring, Sue Webster, Tim Noble and Mat Collishaw.

The magazine is part art, part fashion, a high-end blend of the two. As ArtInfo writes, it had to work hard to top issue No. 1. When it debuted in 2011, it had three separate covers; one was adorned with a Damien Hirst-designed peel-off butterfly sticker, underneath which there was a not-safe-for-work Damien Hirst-designed tattoo.

Garage was founded by Dasha Zhukova and named after an art center she opened in Russia in 2007. On the magazine's website she writes, "out of an increasing abundance of ideas, Garage the magazine was born."

The second issue promises to include stories about Internet dating, the legalization of gay marriage, and the advent of fertilization technology. But don't expect it to be too straightforward: Issue No. 1 was creative, artistic, and sometimes baffling. “It is so very, very different from other magazines,” Garage’s art director Mike Meiré told the N.Y. Times. “It’s like a box of Pandora.... You don’t know what is happening on the next page.”

The condoms can be found in every issue of the magazine, and in Andre Saraiva’s Le Baron nightclubs in Paris, London, and New York during Fashion Week.


What book inspired Carlos Campos' Fall 2012 collection?

Thing Magazine: The Dave Eggers shower curtain

Art meets books: very cool and far away

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Keith Haring condom wrapper. Credit: Garage Magazine

What book inspired Carlos Campos' fall 2012 collection?


Fashion designer Carlos Campos first read Gabriel García Márquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera" when he was a teenager. And the book stayed with him: The designer, now 39, based his fall 2012 line on it. He showed his designs Sunday at New York fashion week.

Campos told Agencie EFE:

"El libro de García Márquez es una historia de amor muy romántica, de un hombre que espera 50 años para decirle a una mujer que la quiere. Quisimos tomar ese romanticismo y mezclarlo con el realismo, dentro de esa fantasía, de la escritura de García Márquez."

According to Google Translate, he said, basically:

"García Márquez's book is a very romantic love story of a man who waits 50 years to tell a woman he loves her. We wanted to take that and mix romanticism with realism within the fantasy, writing of García Márquez."

Campos and García Márquez may share a common language, Spanish, but they hail from different places -- Campos was born in Honduras, and García Márquez, a Nobel Prize winner, is from Colombia. Campos, who moved to the U.S. when he was 13 and has made his mark in menswear, has looked to literature before. Last year, he cited the Pablo Neruda poem "Ode to Simple Things" as an inspiration for his fall line.

Does Campos' fashion line relate to the book's opening line? Decide for yourself. "Love in the Time of Cholera" begins, "It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love."


Silver Lake public library hosts beard competition

Book-purse recommendations for the 2011 Golden Globes

H&M wants you to dress like the girl with the dragon tattoo

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Models on the runway at the Carlos Campos show on Feb. 12. Credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images

Silver Lake public library to host beard competition

Gentlemen, start your 'staches! The Silver Lake Branch library will be hosting a facial-hair face-off Dec. 20. The event has a book hook: Jack Passion, author of "The Facial Hair Handbook," will be on hand to talk about his book. He might even share tips about how to prevail in beard-and-mustache competitions -- he's the two-time reigning natural beard champion of the World Beard and Mustache Championships.

Our fashion blog All the Rage writes:

The new event, which joins an increasingly crowded calendar of facial-hair face-offs around the country, will be awarding first-, second- and third-place prizes in six categories titled: Hipster, Best Fake, Most Scholarly, Most Outrageous, Go Big or Go Home and, the one that's our favorite given the time of year, Santa Claus.

Local businesses, some on the very same block, are helping to sponsor the event: Silverlake Wine, Cha Cha Lounge, Rockaway Records, Relapse Records and the Mane 'n Tail shampoo (for dogs, not beards).

It is free to enter the competition, which will begin at 6 p.m at the Silver Lake Branch Library on Glendale Boulevard. Competitors are asked to register by Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. by e-mailing organizer and library staffer Johathan Pitre at [email protected]


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Theodore Sturgeon's papers will live long and prosper at the University of Kansas

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Competitors in the World Beard and Mustache Championships, 2009, held in Anchorage, Alaska. Credit: Ryan McFarland via Flickr.

H&M wants you to dress like the girl with the dragon tattoo

Trish Summerville and the H&M clothes based on her costume designs for the upcoming film adaptation of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Costume designer Trish Summerville, who created the outfits worn by the character Lisbeth Salander in the upcoming film adaptation of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," has created a new line based on that look for H&M. The 30-piece look is gothy and gritty; it's going to hit 175 stores worldwide Dec. 14, a week before the movie's release date.

In a video announcing the collection, H&M creative director Donald Schneider explained the motivation behind it. "We sat together and said, 'Why don't we do something? We are Swedish, this movie has a lot to do with Sweden, which is unusual for Hollywood."

Siteg Larsson was Swedish too. The author of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was a Swedish journalist who died after finishing two sequels to the popular thriller. Now known as the Millennium trilogy, it is a massive international bestseller.  His survivors, a longtime girlfriend and members of Larsson family, are in a dispute over his estate. Both parties have indicated that they may have materials written by Larsson for additional books starring Lisbeth Salander.

In the film, Salander is played by Rooney Mara, who recently appeared in "The Social Network." When W magazine ran a photo spread of Mara made over for her role as the fierce computer hacker, director David Fincher said, "Lisbeth is the goth Pippi [Longstocking]."

And come December, the streets can be filled with hundreds of others. Would Stieg Larsson have approved?


News about Steig Larsson's next book

Goodbye, Rooney. Hello, Lisbeth: The new Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Rooney Mara will be the girl with the dragon tattoo

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Trish Summerville, third from left, and the H&M clothes based on her costume designs for the upcoming film adaptation of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Credit: H&M

Kate Spade meets Nicole Krauss?


Kate Spade's new fall campaign -- "Understated is Overrated" -- is currently appearing on signs, bus stops, the sides of food carts, shopping bags and more. The advertising features, behind the text, whimsically stacked bars of bright color -- look for pink and tomato-red in Kate Spade shops this season.

When I saw the ad in Los Angeles for the first time, I had a sudden association. The ad I saw was on the side of a bus stop, so it was more book-cover shaped than the one above. What it made me think of, of course, was Nicole Krauss' "Great House." Sure, there are four color bars on Krauss' cover, and the palette is less pink and more yellow-orange. Still, they seem to speak to each other, particularly the color and font of the advertisement's "overrated" and the book cover's "great."

Of course, they're not actually connected, but I like the idea of walking into Kate Spade and buying a lipstick in "Great House" orange-red.


Artist Daniel Egnéus gives Little Red Riding Hood a stylish makeover

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Meet Benedikt Taschen

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: (left) Kate Spade wall advertisement in New York City. Credit: KateSpadeNY via Instagram

(right) The cover of Nicole Krauss' "Great House."

Mysterious Galaxy Books opens in Redondo Beach today


If you're in Redondo Beach, step into Mysterious Galaxy Books, which threws its doors open for the first time Tuesday morning. Mysterious Galaxy, which focuses on the genres of mystery and science fiction and their nearby constellations, has been operating in San Diego since 1993; the Redondo Beach location is its second store.

While the bookstore promises a monthlong grand opening this fall, Tuesday is full of celebratory events, including food trucks in the parking lot and a signing at 7:30 p.m. by Denise Hamilton, author of the Eve Diamond series. Her new book is the surf noir "Damage Control."

"We gutted a building and completely 100% renovated it," owner Terry Louchheim Gilman said Tuesday. Located at 2810 Artesia Avenue, the new Mysterious Galaxy occupies about 4,000 square feet; a cafe is coming soon.

It's no timid undertaking in a climate that seems inhospitable to bookstores. Borders is in the process of closing the last of its hundreds of stores nationwide. On the store's blog, Gilman writes:

Almost every day people ask us how we can possibly open a bookstore in the current climate, with bookstores closing and eBooks catching on in such a big way. Our answer is that we think this is exactly the right time to open an independent bookstore. We think that people treasure their communities and especially bookstores, because they bring them together and introduce them to new reading experiences and the authors that write the books that they love.

Gilman had an inside track on the new location. The building was built by her grandfather and is still in  her family.

The grand opening starts Oct. 9 and lasts for weeks, featuring almost daily events with some big bestsellers. Orson Scott Card, Larry Block and Charlaine Harris, author of the popular Sooky Stackhouse novels, will all be signing books in Redondo Beach.

Apart from special events, Mysterious Galaxy Books is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It inherited those hours from the San Diego store -- if the Redondo Beach community clamors for something different, it plans to adjust accordingly.


Downtown L.A.'s the Last Bookstore defies trends

The Writer's Craft: Denise Hamilton on 'Damage Control'

Borders, in bankruptcy, seeks six-figure payouts for executives

-- Carolyn Kellogg


A book - or is it a Ralph Lauren catalog? - for the very young


"The R.L. Gang: An Absolutely Awesome School Adventure" is the third book in a superlative-saturated series -- it follows "The R.L. Gang: A Magically Magnificent School Adventure" and "The R.L. Gang: A Fantastically Amazing School Adventure." The books, for kids up to preschool age, are published by Ralph Lauren Childrenswear.

The new book is out this month. On its website, there is a video that shows happy children, clad head to toe in Ralph Lauren, running through a watercolor landscape. The members of the RL Gang act out the contents of the story, which include enjoying the fall and freeing a trapped bird with a rainbow tail.

As it plays, young readers -- or, one hopes, their parents -- can shop RL Gang looks. How to dress your wee one? Jasper's fleece pant is $55. Mae's prep school down vest is $115. Hudson wears a $39.50 striped oxford, while River's Matlock plaid cotton flannel is $37.50. Zoe looks snappy in a $365 herringbone tweed jacket. Willow's motocross boots are $160.

The book? Oh, the book is $16.95.

Proceeds from the book and a portion of Ralph Lauren Childrenswear purchases made between now and Sept. 18 will be donated to the Show Me Campaign, a nonprofit founded by John Legend, who narrates the story.


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Lost Dr. Seuss stories to be published in September

Is Vogue planning a 119-year digital archive?

-- Carolyn Kellogg



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