Think broadly. Don’t be so rigid. Why would you want confine your collection to just books? Maybe you could add a movie poster or two from your favorite films made from your favorite writer’s stories. Maybe you could add some interesting periodical appearances. Have you ever heard John Steinbeck or Ernest Hemingway or James Joyce speak? There are spoken word records out there to consider. Any collection should include some material about your favorite author. Buy something out of the ordinary. Find something possibly unique. Starting now I will occasionally present items that might fit these parameters. Many of these items will seem familiar, but each one will have something that sets them apart. This should be your goal. As they say, think outside the box.
Here is an example. Appleton-Century published Ruth Comfort Mitchell’s Of Human Kindness in 1940. She was the wife of a California state senator. Her book was a direct reply to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and is decidedly in opposition to Steinbeck’s masterpiece. In her version of events, migrant workers are treated with human kindness and suffer none of the abuses that Steinbeck cites in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. In short, all is sweet and rosy for migrant farm workers in her version of California. In fact, she indicates that none of the abuses noted by Steinbeck ever took place. This particular copy is signed by her and dated in the year of publication on the title page. This item is not recorded by the Goldstone & Payne bibliography of Steinbeck or by the Morrow catalogue. I find it interesting and fascinating. I love these oddities. Some are old friends known to me for many years. Some, like this one, I discovered only recently. See? Even someone who has been involved with collecting and selling Steinbeck and Steinbeckiana for more than 45 years can still learn a new trick. Give it a try.