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Reading Lists: Are they important?

Oprah’s, The New York Times Bestsellers, Calcott, Calvert’s, Newberry, and every school in the US have them, along with every library system. You can find them for picture books, religious groups and nearly every sub group out there. But are they really necessary? Why do we have reading lists? They are intended to showcase certain ideals or stories, but most people, I have discovered, tend to use them as a way to avoid certain books.

What are your ideas?


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The Importance of Magazines

As someone who is more technologically old fashioned I feel like I need to step up and defend older art forms.

While electronic forms of reading are more eco-friendly there is something to be said about keeping physical magazines. There have been many discussions and studies about the physical handling of magazines (and other printed media) helping one understand the importance of the reading material, and many others about the waste that producing them creates.

But this is not about any of that.

Magazines are transient parts of culture. Cheaply (for the most part) made and easily discarded. The information on them is direct and compelling, offering people a glimpse of what they have never experienced before. Magazines offer children the chance to read materials and discover other things they might find intriguing. They create rabbit holes of interest and enjoyment.

Zines (home made  magazines) have given fans a chance to see their work in print and to share ideas & tales to the outside world. They have allowed the strange, out of the box thinkers a chance to find like minded fellows and realize that they are not alone. Sometimes this will encourage them to be more of themselves and bloom, othertimes it will just keep them from wilting.

Zines can become magazines, as some did back in the early days of the 20th century when science fiction was still in its early stages. Asimov and others have printed them on cheaply made paper, kept hidden behind the bookstore’s counter or on racks in the back.

But like everything, magazines caught the general media’s eye and thus had it’s own heyday. For a span of my lifetime they were everywhere and on every obscure subject. Five different ones on the history of stain glass printed monthly, 20 different ones on sewing printed monthly.  News, gossip, sports and alternative ones printed weekly. All sent to every bookstore in packs of 30. When the new issue came in, the covers of the unsold old ones were ripped off and returned to the publisher for credit. The books themselves were trashed. (later recycled) Never to be seen again.

All hat information lost to time.

If you were lucky the library might have the copy you missed, but they wouldn’t keep them past a year. If you could afford it, you could order back issues from the printer, but even then sometimes you were out of luck.

While out dated, older magazines can offer insights to how people thought in that era. The illustrations and photos can show us things that have been lost to time. And sometimes we can discover stories that have been forgotten, or that have inspired others into greatness.

SO next time when you are out at a bookstore, an old bookshop or a yard sale don’t pass the dusty pile of old magazines by. Give them, and yourself, a chance to shine.

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Found items: Fly-aways or ephemera?

Today I discovered another thing left behind in a book. A business card from the 1960’s or earlier. I know because the phone number had letters in it, which was not used after area codes started and party lines were dropped.

This card has been placed in a box with other’s of its ilk. Over the years I have found many items that people have used instead of bookmarks: love letters, grocery lists,earrings, feathers,broken chain bracelets, coupons, cancelled checks, postage stamps, clean candy wrappers and business cards.

Lately it has been more business cards, as they have become more prevalent in our society in the last decade or so. Some of these items have been tossed, others have been “sold” on Listia and other sites for cryptocurrency, but most I have saved as a way to glimpse a bit of the past.

One thing I have rarely found left in books are book marks. Considering I see hundreds of types in every store that sells anything close to a book or journal, one might think that there would be more left behind in the pages of a returned library book. Sadly, for me, this is not the case.

Since childhood people always have given me bookmarks, and yet sadly I have never really used them. Where are you to put it when you are reading on the train or bus? And some are bulky and damage the spine. So while beautiful or thoughtful they have proven, to me at least, to be more art than practical. But is this the same for all readers?

So here is the thing….

What do you call the items that are used instead? Are they still book marks? When they are left behind do they change titles?  Are they mementos? Fly-aways? Ephemera?

No one really knows. Biblio groups all use their own names and classifications. A few years back the I-Love-Libraries  group wrote a post on it and quoted an article about it as well. (see below). Perhaps, in generations to come, people will treat them as historical treasures. Or perhaps just throw them away.

Either way I count it as a surprise to find them and collect them just the same.

Posted by I Love Libraries on Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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Sad tidings

The last few months have brought some changes.

The White Elephant in Crawfordville Florida has closed down. All of our inventory have been removed and we are currently looking for another vendor spot.

We have moved our storage to another spot in Tallahassee and a good portion of our inventory was damaged by weather.

But we are still putting more books onto



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Sherlock Holmes

When  A Study in Scarlet was first printed in 1887 no one would have believed that the main characters would be so popular. In fact it is commonly believed that fandom as we know it today was started due to Doyle’s strange detective. The insanity of  the character’s popularity was seen after Doyle killed the great detective off in 1893’s The Adventure of the Final Problem. When it was published fans attacked him in the street, sent hate mail and made his life unbearable.In an effort to get them to let him and his family be The Return of Sherlock Holmes was published in 1903.

It has been over a hundred years since that first short story was published, and the Victorian detective is still popular. There have been many radio, movie & TV adaptations of the novels, comic book appearances,  and plays. There have been updates to the series  setting him in the 1980s and the 2000s.  There was a futuristic version where he is brought back to life to fight crime with Watson’s great grandchild and even one where he fights Dracula. But in all of them the core image remains: a brilliant, observant man with an overactive ego and an inability to understand & accept the limits of others. A sociopath? Autistic prodigy? Who knows.  He is shown to be the best and the worst of all of us.

And yet in the last few decades the stories have extended from the core material. There are various live stories where we see Irene Adler marring the Great Detective and a 14 book series where an older Holmes meets and marries a young woman who is his equal in intelligence & skills. There is a young adult series where we learn the origins of the Baker Street Irregulars, another one where we learn of the younger Holmes sister who is determined to be the first Female detective and a series of adventures of Holmes & Mycroft as young boys. (Sort of like the Hardy Boys, which was based off of Holmes.) .  Even Mrs. Hudson has her own novel. These days fan fiction and ship/slash fiction is written online and there are many Sherlock/Watson pairs.

It is amazing how this disagreeable character still fascinates us and inspires us.

That being said, we here at Unique Reads have just received a collection of Sherlock Holmes novels and are steadily placing them online at our selling page. If you are looking for a good read, and an interesting take on the Great Detective, please come and check it out.

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Advanced Reader Copy or Uncorrected Proof?

When one is starting to buy books for a collection certain terms start to show up in descriptions. Sometimes the terms are not clear. Description conditions are varied within each term and sometimes they all seem quite arbitrary.  Over the next few blog posts we will be explaining these terms so that the book buying experience will be less of a mystery to the average buyer.

Two terms can cause some concern for the beginner collector. Advanced Reader Copy and Uncorrected Proof. Both have the correct ISBN and can be consider 1st printing. But there is a difference and it all involves the printing industry.

When a book is to be published and editor will go over it to make sure everything is correct. This includes spelling & grammar, spacing, chapter numbers, page layout and also content. Editorial departments gets hundreds of books to check a week. These books are bound in a plain, cheap paperback cover. The information on the publishing date normally is on the front cover. These books are not intended for sale and will contain mistakes. Sometimes they will contain chapters that will be edited out of the final product. These are called Uncorrected Proofs and will say it on the cover.

When a book is ready t be published and they want a review or six in local papers or blogs a rough paperback or hardcover (if the publisher  thinks it will be popular) with the cover art (or dust jacket).  This will look like a real book, except for two details. Printed on the back will be the estimated publication date, the term “not for sale” and Advanced Reader’s Copy. These books are normally kept by the reviewer for their own collection, and the contract states that the review cannot pre-sell it or even talk about it except in the review.

Reviewers can review over 20 books per month (by various publishers) and this can create a large collection. For years most used bookstores would not even accept them as trade due to the “not for resale” tag.  This has made these items into rare collector items.

Nowadays you can find the Uncorrected proofs and Advanced reader copies on used book sites. This started when book-scouts would buy collections from editors and reviewers estates. Most of the books were published and out of print, and these may be the only copies out there. These items would include the term “bought in/or included with a collection bought from” in the online description.

The prices range from very cheap to expensive depending on the seller. As of right now, the unstated agreement is not to sell them until after the book has been published and out for a while.

These are usually abbreviated as Un.Cor Prf., UnCorrPro, AdvReaderCpy, AdRdCpy. So if you see these terms and are confused, email the seller and ask.






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In the Interm

In the last few months more books have been brought to The White Elephant for sale. A large collection of the Egyptian History and art books are now there.

Items are also being put up on under ElizabethCampbell. These are mostly non books (book marks, postcards & so on) as well as some used home-school materials that are missing a few pages here and there.  

Also there is currently a problem with the store email.

Working on fixing this.

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The Terri McNeir Collection

Terri McNeir was an avid reader and collector of unicorn statues and romance books. Since the start of Harlequin Special Edition Romance, and Harlequin Intrigues until 2017, Silhouette Shadows and all the other sub lines that came out.  She hunted down every book in these series and, at the time of her death, was missing only five titles.

Three series of Very Good to Like New conditions: over 5,000 titles.

If interested, please let me know.

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Anne McCaffrey Collection

We have just received a collection of Anne McCaffrey books. All paperbacks.

We have 25 of the Pern Novels (missing the short stories from the Analog magazine & Legends collections)

All of the titles in the following:

The Brain & Brawn Ship series

Crystal Singer series

Power Lines series

Dinosaur Planet

The Planet Pirates

The Talents

The Tower & Hive

The Twins of Petaybee 

Acorna: The Unicorn Girl


These series will be sold as a set.