Favorite Cheap Books & Stuff

For the few dollars that an individual makes on shipping, people are willing to list used books on Amazon for a penny. My buddy Mark Frauenfelder and I delight in finding these penny treasures and have compared notes and blog posts about them. Not all of the following are a penny, but they are still awfully cheap at library discard prices. These aren't my favorite cheap books they are just favorites that happen to be cheap.



 The Making of the African Queen: Or How I Went to Africa With Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind

I am not a huge fan of the move The African Queen, but I loved this book. Written many years, Katherine Hepburn still has a great memories for the details including surprisingly detailed discussion of bathroom issues. Casually written, sometimes laugh out loud funny, it is like reading a blog by a friend that happened to go to Africa in 1950's to film a movie with John Huston, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Great period photos, many from Life magazine.


At time of writing, 1 cent.


Hidden Treasures: Searching for Masterpieces of American Furniture

I just read this book in a day. Amazing. Really fantastic view inside the antique dealer world from two justifiably famous picker dealers. When they were thirteen, their joint collection of stoneware was exhibited in museums. Though the collection was probably worthy, the Keno twin's charm and force of will was almost certainly the deciding factor. As a bit of a collector, I found it very inspiring. Joyfully, I realize that I need to up my knowledge and history to bring more context to the things I love.  


At time of writing, 1 cent.


 The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1) (The Complete Peanuts)

An amazingly generous publishing effort to bring together the complete Peanuts run in a beautiful Seth designed book. I am a Peanuts fan, though not the biggest Peanuts fan, but I was surprised how profoundly moving I found this to book to be. Chronological of the first couple of years, it is startling to come across 'firsts' - like the first time Charlie Brown has the squiggle on his shirt or the first time Snoopy's ears stand straight up. In the first year - arguably in the first cartoon - the Peanuts universe is pretty well set, but how Charles Schulz refines it - always staying true - over his lifetime is a masterwork.


At time of writing, a comparatively heady $9.69.


Life Stories: Profiles from The New Yorker

The New Yorker Profile is my favorite feature of the magazine - with the possible exception being Annals of Crime and Rascality or Letter from California. David Remnick, the current longtime editor of the New Yorker, brings together a best selection from the entire history of the magazine. The Ernest Hemingway profile is an amazing trip through New York with drunk Hem (including a trip to the legendary outfitter Abercrombie & Fitch) complaining about how he just wants to go and see the "kraut" - Marlene Dietrich. The Profiles aren't always about famous people, for example,  another favorite is the Calvin Trillian piece on crime beat reported Edna Buchanan.


At time of writing, 1 cent.