Thursday, September 26, 2019

Beautiful Signed First Edition of James Lee Burke's "The Glass Rainbow" - $2.99

I can't remember the last time before today that I purchased a book at a Goodwill Store - but today's buy was a doozy. 

I have been reading and collecting James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux books since the beginning. How long ago was that, you ask? Well, long enough for Mr. Burke to age rather gracefully from the photo on the back of the very first Robicheaux book (Neon Rain) to the Western cowboy look on the back of the 2010 book (The Glass Rainbow) that I purchased today. (If Mr. Burke's latest books feature recent photos, the man has not aged much since 2010.)

Author Photo on Back of The Neon Rain  (1987)
Author Photo on Back of The Glass Rainbow (2010)
Now for the best part. I already had a pristine first edition copy of The Glass Rainbow and I almost walked away from the store without even picking up the copy they had on the books rack. But curiosity got the best of me, as it usually does, and I decided to take a quick peek at it. And that's when I noticed that this one was a signed copy originally sold by Faulkner House Books of New Orleans on July 10, 2010. Inside the book was a bookmark from the store and the original receipt for $32.49, including $6.50 shipping to Houston. (Faulkner House Books is housed in the one-time home of William Faulkner and was opened on the author's birthday a few years ago.)

Dust Jacket
James Lee Burke Autograph & Store Bookmark
This is the best find I've had in a while but it makes me wonder why and how the book ended up being donated to a charity shop. I suspect it's another case of someone's children disposing of a parent's "junk," something I've run into several times over the years in these shops. The takeaway here is to document those things of value well enough that your children or other heirs do not destroy them or give them away because they appear to have no monetary or sentimental value. Books do not strike everyone as being things of value. We know that they are valuable for a lot of reasons not exclusive to monetary value; nonreaders don't have a clue. 


  1. I'm not familiar with that author- but what a find! No kidding about the value- I'm sure most of my books won't be worth even what I paid for them at secondhand shops and library sales years from now- but I do have a few first editions and signed copies on the shelves.

    1. Jeane, I don't know if you read much detective fiction or if you even enjoy that genre. If so, James Lee Burke is a master of that genre - but he is so much more than that. He is largely recognized as someone who manages to merge literary fiction with genre fiction like few others are capable of doing.

      Dave Robicheaux is the main character, but the supporting cast is marvelously written, too. It is hardcore violent at times, though, something that new readers should know going in. Robicheaux, as is evident by his name, is a Louisiana Cajun who works as a detective in the New Iberia sheriff's department after having been fired from the New Orleans PD. There are over 20 books in the series now but they are coming slower and slower because Burke is about to turn 83. Also because he's got another couple of series going and adds to them some years rather than to this one.

      I'm a Cajun myself, so it is fun to watch how Burke handles the people and the area in his books. He writes dialogue so well that I can hear the Cajun accent in my head sometimes.

    2. Nah, not my genre type at all- sorry. But for what it is, it does sound good!


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