All About Dave Eggers

This is a shout out for my friend Sarah, who is currently (brave soul that she is) RE-reading What is the What.  So, I thought I'd do an author-themed collectibles run down for her (and you).

Eggers has been on the literary scene, pretty strongly since 2000 and has written a number of books, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as articles, and yes, even screenplays. I'm going to focus on his fictional work here, with one exception - his first book. Why? because it was his first book. And an author's first book is a must (if you're collecting):

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Simon & Schuster, 2000): "Literary self-consciousness and technical invention mix unexpectedly in this engaging memoir by Eggers, editor of the literary magazine McSweeney's and the creator of a satiric 'zine called Might, who subverts the conventions of the memoir by questioning his memory, motivations and interpretations so thoroughly that the form itself becomes comic." [PW]

This is a slightly fictionalized memoir of Eggers' life. His parents both died of Cancer when he was in college, leaving him to raise his younger brother. His older sister was in law school at the time, and his older brother had a full time job. His older sister made claims that, in writing the book, Eggers used her journals without consent and completley undervalued the amount of help she leant in raising their younger brother. She recanted this statement prior to committing suicide in 2002.  

First editions of this book are selling on for between $50 (unsigned) and $300 (signed).

You Shall Know Our Velocity (McSweeney's, 2002). "a moving and hilarious tale of two friends who fly around the world trying to give away a lot of money and free themselves from a profound loss."

This was the first book Eggers published with his own publishing company (McSweeney's). It had a smaller first run (50,000). Copies generally sell for between $45 and $200+. Eggers re-released an expanded version which was dubbed Sacrament and came out in a limited edition of 2,000 signed copies. (good luck finding it, but if you do, they list for over $200).

The Unforbidden is Compulsory or Optimism (McSweeney's, 2004). Paperback, short stories. I've seen this list for between $20-$100.

How We Are Hungry (McSweeney's, 2004). Hard cover with no dust jacket issued. Short stories. The hard cover edition includes the story "There Are Some Things He Should Keep to Himself," which consists solely of five blank pages, this not included in the paperback edition.  First editions sell from $25 (unsigned) to $185 (signed).

Short Short Stories. (Pocket Penguin, 2005). Paperback, short stories. I've seen this listed on Amazon for $16-$85.

What is the What (McSweeney's, 2006) is a "fictionalized memoir, in which Valentino, [s]eparated from his family when Arab militia destroy his village, joins thousands of other 'Lost Boys,' beset by starvation, thirst and man-eating lions on their march to squalid refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where they try to piece together a new life. He eventually reaches America, but finds his quest for safety, community and fulfillment in many ways even more difficult there than in the camps: he recalls, for instance, being robbed, beaten and held captive in his Atlanta apartment. Eggers's limpid prose gives Valentino an unaffected, compelling voice and makes his narrative by turns harrowing, funny, bleak and lyrical." [PW]

Hardcover first editions (first issues) of this book list for $50 and up (unsigned).  The book itself has thicker boards covered in blue and brown papers. The second issues used orange and blue papers.

How the Water Feels to the Fishes (short stories; part of One Hundred and Forty-Five Stories in a Small Box) (2007).  On the upper edge, it sells for $60ish -- but you can still find copies in the $15 range.

The Wild Things (McSweeney's, 2009). Based on Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are.  A "Faux Fur" edition was released in conjunction with the standard first edition. The Faux Fur cover has a cut-out in the front panel from which a pair of green eyes peer out. Standard cover shows a silhouetted profile on a mottled red background (no dust wrapper).  First editions of either can list from $35 (unsigned) to $175 (signed).

Zeitoun (McSweeney's, 2009). From The New Yorker:"Through the story of one man’s experience after Hurricane Katrina, Eggers draws an indelible picture of Bush-era crisis management. Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a successful Syrian-born painting contractor, decides to stay in New Orleans and protect his property while his family flees. After the levees break, he uses a small canoe to rescue people, before being arrested by an armed squad and swept powerlessly into a vortex of bureaucratic brutality. When a guard accuses him of being a member of Al Qaeda, he sees that race and culture may explain his predicament."
Signed copies are going from $50-$130. First editions can still be had for $24-$60.

So, the lesson learned here? Buy whatever Eggers first edition you can get your hands on, 'cuz the boy can write AND his books are valuable collectibles.

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