Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

*** Famed New York artist Richard Prince is donating his immense and unique collection of rare books and memorabilia to the Morgan Library in New York. Prince has made a fortune by plagiarizing magazine ads and turning them into art. Very expensive art. Art so expensive that dropping $175k on the only known copy of Dashiel Hammett’s The Glass Key with the dust jacket is just another day at the office. His collection centers around “sex, drugs, Beat [poets], hippies, punks – and great reads,” he says. Works for me.

Artist cashes out as collecting becomes a burden

*** A $300 million dollar book? What? That’s more than the GNP of some nations. So one suspects this is a mis-print, or a mis-statement, from the Indian Institute for Astrophysics. Granted, an original, 400 yer old work by Johannes Kepler would be a valuable book, quite valuable, in fact, but $300 million? One has to suspect they mean $300,000.

Kepler work isn’t worth a penny more than $250 million, if you ask me

*** Yesterday, your friendly neighborhood bookseller officially lost his first sale due to the insane law from our government that prevents sellers like me from selling children’s books printed before 1985. It wasn’t an expensive book and the gentleman who tried to buy it wanted it because it contained a story he remembered from his childhood. Sounds innocent enough, right? Well, not to our confused, muddled and completely out-of-control Congress. By the terms of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, this man cannot legally be conveyed this book by any means, because the ink might, MIGHT contain traces of lead. It doesn’t matter that he is an adult and that it won’t be near children, some fool legislator thinks they are protecting children with this over-the-top nonsense. As I’ve said before, this blog is non-political, except when politicians stick their moronic and unwanted noses in the book business. Since they have now done so, you have to wonder how long it will be before they start telling you what content your books may have. And still people keep electing these buffoons.

Let’s be clear here: nobody wants children exposed to lead. What we want is politicians who are smart enough to write protective laws that don’t wipe out entire industries. Is that too much to ask?

Government idiocy, redux

*** Jonathan Littell’s novel about a remorseless Waffen SS officer is coming to the US. The Kindly Ones was bought for a cool million bucks, so someone thinks the American public is clamoring for a book about an SS man who takes part in the Holocaust, has incest wiht his sister, might have killed his parents and is, in general, a pretty unlikeable chap. One can only wonder, can’t one?

Guts and gore, coming soon to a bookstore near you. Here’s a link to one review from the UK, where it is already in print.

Waffen SS gore, anyone?