Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Favorite Future Classics

The wife and I live in Manhattan. It's a bit crowded, with too many bikes and books for such a small space. We'll move eventually though, and I dream of having my own library, with book shelves built into the walls, bank lamps, comfortable brown leather chairs, and scotch.

So in anticipation of that day I've started to collect first editions. I'm not willing to spend $20,000 on Catcher and the Rye though. Instead, I'm collecting first editions from the past twenty-five years or so that I think might one day be worth some money. Basically, I'm picking books I love and hoping that they have longevity.

I've already got A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane (thanks droobieboy), and I plan on getting the following titles next:

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
The Alienist by Caleb Carr

Any other suggestions? What books will have a legacy in the years to come?


Brian Jay Jones said...

Trying to stay roughly within the genres toward which I know you lean as a reader:

Good Omens (Gaiman/Pratchett)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (Berendt)
Mystic River (Lehane)
Kavalier & Klay (Chabon)

Adaora A. said...

I suggest

THE SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A TIME TO KILL by John Grisham.(I can't say enough things about this book).

I dream of having a library in my house too. For now I have a bedroom in the home I was raised in and one and a half over flowing shelves. I need another one. Hell I need a full room lined with shelves.

Anonymous said...

My great aunt was a book lover and the collection I inherited includes the Leatherstocking Tales and a beautiful first edition of "Domby & Sons" (the cover is gorgeous). My mother in law asked if I've read it...no, I haven't! I'm afraid it will be bad for the binding. Does that seem silly to you?

Anonymous said...

Anything by Philip Roth, in anticipation of his (hopefully inevitable) Nobel.

What will you do with your apartment when you leave? Is it rent controlled??

JohnO said...

I have my doubts about Grisham because it's genre ... and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, though fascinating,

But I have to second Brian's vote for Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

I have a soft spot for Zadie Smith's "White Teeth," but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a collectible. Just a great read.

Ryan Field said...

Anything by Anne Tyler, for one. Then John Irving. But I usually pick books I love and then hope for longevity too. One author I collect is Brian Morton (A WINDOW ACROSS THE RIVER). I don't know how much his books will be worth in the future, but I like the way he writes.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Kinda off your regular beat, but Jacqueline Carey's a darn good bet.

Southern Writer said...

I would think anything by Ian McEwan. I'd also snap up Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind. And an unabridged The Stand by King. I would also give just about anything for a first edition Peter Pan and The Velveteen Rabbit.

Adaora A. said...

Ian McEwan is a good choice. I really love ON CHESIL BEACH.

A TIME TO KILL is brilliant. It's fiction, but that sort of thing has happened. It's haunting, and it affects you. That's good story telling. That's Grisham at his best.

Kaytie M. Lee said...

Personally? I'd be looking for first editions by the new presses. McSweeney's, for one. They publish interesting books that are also really beautiful artifacts. Salvador Placensia's PEOPLE OF PAPER was one of their first. Also, Chris Adrian's THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL is quite striking.

Then they got all creative with Stephen Dixon's I and END OF I, with hardback cutouts in the cover--not something you see from the big houses.

Books with small first press runs that went on to have big second runs would be an obvious choice, too, and perhaps as an agent you'd have better insight into which titles did that than the average book buyer.

TC Boyle's early first editions already run in the hundreds--you might look for a copy of WATER MUSIC. I don't recall whether that title fits into your last quarter century rule.

And hey, signed is better!

Usman said...

Anything by Orhan Pamuk. I think he'll be the next Dostoevsky, a few decades from now.

Josephine Damian said...

ATONEMENT for certain. I own two: One to read, one to keep nice.

I've got first eds of THE ALIENIST and SILINCE OF THE LAMBS, and am kicking myself for not buying HARRY POTTER when it first came out.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just love that Life of Pi is on your list.
I LOVE that book. It may be my favorite book.
And seeing it there on your list, I wonder, that maybe, aferall, when my own is complete, you might want to see it too.
(I wasn't sure you would be an agent open to that sort of experimental chancing.)

Anonymous said...

Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvick
took me totally by surprise.
I just loved it.
I don't know if it will make the classics, but it might.

Anonymous said...

Falling Man, DeLillo

Ithaca said...

Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker.

Chumplet said...

I suppose it would be nice to pick up a copy of Patricia Wood's Lottery, since it's a finalist for the Orange Prize.

It's probably in its second or third printing by now, but I grabbed a copy when it first came out and had Pat send me an autographed sticker from Hawaii.

I've bought old copies of early books but I can't tell if they're first editions. How does one tell?

For instance, an old copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales has "First in This Edition 1966" on the copyright page, but I'm sure it was published in many forms before that.