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Collectibles Spotlight: Reno

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Introduction and Staff Picks from Matthew

I love books. Some of my fondest childhood memories are from ditching recess to read Tolkien and various myths and legends in the school library. I studied secondary education and linguistics at the University of Nevada, Reno until 2018 when I was offered a job at ThriftBooks in the Sorting department. I was moved to non-ISBN receiving in spring 2019, and to Collectibles in June 2020. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to share some of my favorite recent finds along with one or two I stumbled on in our inventory.

Gone with the Wind

This copy is a facsimile from First Edition Library. It's a full recreation of the First Edition state and comes with a lovely slipcase. My grandparents loved Westerns and period-piece Americana. We watched the Gable and de Havilland masterpiece with some regularity. The film was a classic from their childhoods, just as this first edition facsimile can be a classic among your household.
Gone with the Wind Book Cover

Native Son

Richard Wright's seminal novel tells the story of Bigger Thomas, a young man accused of a crime he didn't commit and the lengths to which he'll go to retain his freedom. I read this book about 12 to 15 years ago, and to this day the naked emotion of Bigger's plight still resonates.
Native Son Book Cover

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

What can be added to the over 100 years of commentary on Twain's tale of raucous boyhood and journeys to the 19th century deep South? Rejoin Huck and Jim, grab your vittles and raft, and crack open this First Edition facsimile. Twain was the first piece of fiction I read with stylized dialogue. While I didn't appreciate it as a child exposed to Robinson Crusoe at too young an age, Twain's simple syntax and timeless stories have never ceased to be a balm for my heart in later life.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Book Cover

One Hundred Years of Solitude

From my first reading, I've conceived of Solitude as half furtive glances toward our colonial past and half extended metaphor for the transfer of trauma among a social group over time. The catharsis such a perspective can give would be reason enough to suggest this book, but it also happens to be expertly written and a cultural keystone. This copy is a First Edition with an un-clipped jacket.
One Hundred Years of Solitude (Leatherbound Classics) Book Cover


"This [is] not a story to pass on," as Toni Morrison so eloquently put it. Beloved tells a fictionalized version of the aftermath of a true story in which a fugitive slave murders her children in order to prevent them from experiencing the mundane horrors of American chattel slavery. If I had to pick exactly one thing I love about Morrison's work in general and Beloved specifically, it is the manner in which she does not attempt to shock her readers. She presents the information in a manner both distant but nurturing, like a mother explaining some great tragedy to a young child, and we get to decide how closely we wish to examine it.
Beloved Book Cover

Staff Picks from Theia

Theia considers herself quite privileged as charged in locating and selling the ThriftBooks "gold." Having grown up in the Southern Sierra's, she now enjoys exploring the Northern Sierra's with her trusted horse Blue. Her connection with books is lifelong, and she devotes many waking hours contemplating their future. Her focus for this spotlight loosely speaks to time, place, and circumstance and her particular interest in history and the American West. The book she identified first, "Pony Tracks" by Frederick Remington, led her down a few rabbit holes but she insists her imagination didn't totally fail her. Had her circumstance--a deadline--not interfered, she would have kept going....

Rising from the Plains

I recall reading once that at an early age John McPhee listed his interests on paper, and his literary career has been a slow, steady pursuit of that list ever since. One of McPhee’s areas of interest is geology. In Rising from the Plains, he introduces us to Wyoming in a manner that speaks to place and history through the eyes of its settlers and their descendants. J. David Love, a noted field geologist and environmentalist, and his mother are the subjects in an intertwined story against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Absaroka Range. Rising from the Plains is signed by John McPhee, and this listing also includes Annals of the Former World, for which he won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize. McPhee has published over 40 books. This selection is meant to be an introduction to his words for those unfamiliar with his work.
Rising from the Plains Book Cover

The Journal of Jacob Fowler

As Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee includes discussions on Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Osage, Ute, and Pueblo Indians, the Journal of Jacob Fowler places us on what will become The Santa Fe Trail and in contact with all. Jacob Fowler's account (ca. 1821 - 1822) is a narrative adventure from Arkansas through the Indian Territory, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico to the sources of Rio Grande Del Norte. This title holds the distinction of being the first account by an American covering this "wild and unknown" area.
The Journal of Jacob Fowler, Narrating an Adventure from Arkansas Through the Indian Territory, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, to the sou: Rces of Rio Grande Del Norte, 1821-22 Book Cover

True Grit

Charles Portis introduces us to 14-year-old Mattie Ross in 1969 as she embarks across Arkansas and into the Indian Territory on an expedition. Charles Portis passed away earlier this year. I was lucky to find his words in this lifetime and wanted to share this opportunity for all to do the same. It's always a delight to find this book, although it doesn't happen as frequently as I'd like. This copy is a Book Club Edition and thus predates the moment this masterpiece went out of print.
TRUE GRIT Book Cover

Sacagawea's Child: The Life and Times of Jean-Baptiste Pomp Charbonneau

We find ourselves back in Wyoming with a 27-year-old fur trader named Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea and a man at the forefront of western expansion his entire life. His time in Wyoming is spent with Jim Bridger, a savvy fur-trapper and the discoverer of the Great Salt Lake. This book accounts for Pomp's entire life and brings us--in his 61st and last year--to California in pursuit of gold.

Guns of the Old West: Special Edition

Part of The Firearms Classics Library, these three books are quite beautiful on any shelf.
Guns of the Old West: Special Edition Book Cover

Uncle Tom's Cabin

This 1896 copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin is hauntingly handsome. Originally published in 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin became the most popular novel of the 19th Century and according to many rumored to have set the groundwork for the US Civil War.
Uncle Tom

The Maine Woods (Illustrated)

A year after Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn, Henry David Thoreau published The Maine Woods. This copy is a stunning First Edition. As we progress further along, Thoreau will reappear as a companion--of sorts--to a very astute and adventurous Scottish man who would go on, in his own career, to help preserve much of America's land and better our individual and collective mentality toward place and environment. I would very much like to say this book was John Muir's own copy, but I can only imagine it. Given our proximity to the Sierra Nevada and Muir's haunts, one never knows. Really any First Edition Thoreau is special.
The Maine Woods Book Cover

My Antonia

A writer praised for bringing the American West to life on the page, Cather's "My Antonia" is an obvious selection. This particular copy, though a reprint, is a replica of the First Edition and handsomely presented in a slipcase. And like Portis, Cather's puts forward a young, bold, female character against a rugged landscape.
My Antonia (International Collectors Library) Book Cover

Ansel Adams: Letters and Images, 1916-1984

Of all the great landscape photographers, Ansel Adams is clearly the 20th Century's most beloved and recognized. His own remarkable eye for The Yosemite and the West has, in its own right, every compare to the great writers, and there is simply no way around him. These books are meant to be complements and serve as an introduction or simply as a foundation for any library.
Ansel Adams: Letters and Images, 1916-1984 Book Cover

Georgia O'Keeffe: Art and Letters

Like Adams, Georgia O'Keeffe remains one of the great artists of the 20th Century, a painter undoubtedly dedicated to place and time. This title is meant to serve as an introduction to O'Keeffe or as an addition to any library.
Georgia O

Touch the Earth: A Self Portrait of Indian Existence

Touch the Earth is another iconic book from the 1970s offering words that have no compare. Much like the other contemporary works highlighted, it's not often I see this book. When I come across a copy--especially in hardcover--it's always a pleasure to present to our readers.
Touch the Earth Book Cover

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