In the Post: Andy Weir and David Mitchell

Today's front stoop finds are brought to us by Rainy Day Books of Fairway, KS and Black Cat Books of Sag Harbor, NY.

First on the list, David Mitchell's Slade House, a small 238 page haunted house story that spans decades and genres as only Mitchell can do. This is a sequel, of sorts, to his last novel The Bone Clocks (although the New York Times calls it more of a footnote). Readers need not have read The Bone Clocks in order to find this novel accessible, although you may want to just to get a feel for Mitchell's writing. It's gotten mixed reviews. Kirkus gave it a starred review while the NYT reviewer thought it fell a little flat.

The fine folks at Rainy Day books had Mr. Mitchell in-house for a signing and were nice enough to send me a signed first printing when I told them that I would not be able to make it to their event (as I live about a thousand miles away).

Next on the list is Martin Weir's The Martian, having just come out as a major motion picture, and coming highly recommended from several friends, I decided to in fact read the book before going to see the movie. (Something I generally don't like to do because I don't want to be disappointed). I procured a used, reading copy through the Abebooks marketplace (via Black Cat Books). Admittedly, I could've gotten a cheaper copy through Amazon, but as of late I've not had much luck with people accurately describing what they're selling. (A "near fine" copy that is actually coming apart at the seems, or a "first edition hardcover" that is actually an unedited, paperback ARC).

This time around, I ordered a book whose description stated "1st Edition. Hard bound in dust jacket. Dust jacket shows very minor edge wear, otherwise in very good condition." And that's exactly what I got. For less than $20 (with shipping). Still a little over my budget for a reading copy, but considering what I ended up with, I am quite pleased. I was not expecting it to be a first printing, since it made no mention of that in the description (and first printings usually sell for $90) - but when I opened the book up to the copyright page, I discovered that it was, in fact, a first printing. So $20 was quite the deal.

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