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Collectibles Spotlight: Chicago

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Picks from Kenneth

Kenneth was born in the great city of Cleveland before the river caught fire, changing shores thereafter. Chicago has been home for several decades, where he has restored three historic buildings to National Standards. Besides operating his own successful independent bookshop for a decade in a Chicago suburb and founding a still-flourishing 30-year-old community garden, he was formerly the General Manager of the bookstores at O'Hare Airport prior to joining ThriftBooks in 2016.

The Road to Serfdom

A polarizing book, quite scarce in early printings, this the second printing of the American first edition. No matter your beliefs in economics, whether you praise or condemn this treatise, it remains one of the most influential texts of the twentieth century. 
The Road to Serfdom Book Cover

The Story of Ferdinand

What child who met Ferdinand has ever forgotten, who could? Early printings are quite uncommon, this is the eighth as it entered its second year of publication. The best children's books have lessons we never forget. 
The Story of Ferdinand Book Cover

Antoinette Pope School Cookbook

The original printing from legendary Chicago cooking school proprietors, Francois & Antoinette, in its original issue, signed by both. 
Antoinette Pope School Cookbook Book Cover

The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools

Maybe you remember perusing this for hours, and still it's full of fresh ideas for these days, though we certainly could use a new edition.
The Next Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools Book Cover

This Is San Francisco

Sasek has always been one of my favorite illustrators. The San Francisco edition of his children's travel guides is as contemporary as the day it was published. 
This Is San Francisco: A Children

Lane's Picks

Lane was born in the small intestine of Texas, developing a deep fascination with science fiction, mythology, and the supernatural at an early age. While pursuing his master’s degree in writing at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, he began his career as a used bookseller. This led to a deep and abiding love of the profession, ultimately leading to his current position as Collectibles receiver at ThriftBooks. Lane lives in Chicago, where he creates obscure comics, occasional short stories, and alternate reality gaming experiences using magical dice. Learn about what makes Lane's staff picks special in his own words below.

Deathbird Stories

Harlan Ellison was a dark genius of his craft, and this collection of stories provides insight into his psychic landscape and how it resonates with the human condition. A number of years ago I found the documentary "Dreams with Sharp Teeth" and was reintroduced to the work of Harlan Ellison. I had read a few of his stories before but revisited him with zeal after this. One of the first collections of his vast oeuvre I explored was Deathbird Stories, with the titular novelette in particular providing a Gnostic pessimism I find fascinating.
Deathbird Stories Book Cover

Alone Against Tomorrow: Stories of Alienation in Speculative Fiction

In terms of why this book was selected, the answer can be found in likely the most well-known title of the collection, "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream," a story bordering the realms of horror and science fiction in a manner rarely encountered. This alone is worth the price of admission, while all the other stories, each centered around themes of alienation, reinforce the fact that Harlan Ellison was a master of his craft. Harlan Ellison is an author that captures your attention and carries you through a slow burn of anxiety throughout his dystopian realms yet leaves you with enough interesting questions and ideas after the fact that you go back for more. I have a soft spot for his acerbic wit, and the grin his work possesses, even in its darker expressions.
Alone Against Tomorrow: Stories of Alienation in Speculative Fiction Book Cover

Animal Farm

Animal Farm remains one of the most important works of the twentieth century and represents Orwell's first attempt to, as he put it, "fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole," while still maintaining a satire that clever children or observant adults can appreciate. Once a year I search out my well-worn copy of this book to revisit the masterful allegory, usually relating its to moments of significance in the current political climate.
Animal Farm (Arcturus Essential Orwell, 1) Book Cover

Batman: Year One

Frank Miller redefined the early career of Batman with this series, inspiring generations of comic book writers and artists, not to mention filmmakers, who have since drawn elements of it to inform their own creations. This first printing of the hardcover collection is surprisingly scarce but extremely satisfying. I find myself coming back to Batman: Year One again and again, not only because it represents the origin revamp contrasting beautifully with Miller's work on The Dark Knight Returns, but also as an example in masterful graphic storytelling.
Batman: Year One Deluxe Edition Book Cover

Starship Troopers

A very rare find in its first edition, this Hugo award-winning classic of science fiction was prescient in its presentation of a militaristic culture attempting to consolidate the cosmos through force. Though often enough a vehicle for Heinlein's political stances (arguably a hallmark of all of his work), it still provides ample material for discourse and interpretation, as evidenced by generations of writers and cultural critics engaging it and adapting elements of it. Admittedly, my first approach to this book was colored by Paul Verhoeven's film adaptation, its Leni Riefenstahl aesthetics, and all that comes with that. I find myself revisiting it every few years, if only to contrast it with the latest work patterned after the template it designed (Old Man's War is a charming example) and themes eerily repeated in a society designed to be continuously at war.
Starship Troopers Book Cover
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