About

Getting to know me in five bullet points:

  • I’m a thirty-something bibliophile.  I get really excited about 1920s and 1930s (mostly romance) fiction in dust jacket.
  • This blog started as a reading project in late 2010.  After wishing there was more information available on the obscure books I love, I decided to start sharing my collection with the world, one book at a time.
  • I’m a Children’s and Teen Collection Development Librarian.  Before that, I worked at a historic private library in the South.
  • My older sister passed away in April 2012 at the age of twenty-six.  I miss her terribly, and continue to think about her everyday.
  • I have an adorable cat named Thomas.  He is a great reading buddy and usually sits on my wrists as I type up new blog posts.

 

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16 Responses to About

  1. Eric says:

    That about covers it. I came across your site when attempting to learn more about prolific ’20s-’30s book cover artist SKRENDA. I came across a battered copy of Leaves of Grass last week with “Skrenda” credited with the cover art (of which I’d share with you if this post allowed a Jpeg upload). The requisite Google search yielded few results others than your site.
    Thanks, Eric
    Seattle, WA

  2. Awesome! It makes me very happy to know that Google has been picking up my posts. Currently, I have about twenty Skrenda covers in my collection, but I only tend to post them once I’ve read them or if they’re a duplicate cover set. So please, continue to check back occasionally for more Skrenda covers.

    I’m not sure how to allow photo comments on Word Press, sorry about that! Skrenda’s range was really something. So far, I’ve run into LOTS of romances, even more copyright fiction, a few mysteries, and a really interesting Wonders of the World book.

  3. ljbreedlove says:

    Hello, I read about you winning a prize for your collection. Thought I’d drop by. 🙂

    My mother was a high school English teacher and she raised me on books by Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill. I reread a few recently – Loriing has held up surprisingly well. Hill not so much.
    Have you read either? I wouldn’t mind collecting a few Loring books, myself.

    Congratulations on your prize.

    Lois

    • Thank you, and thanks for stopping by to read my blog! My collection has both Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill books, although I haven’t gotten around to reading one of them yet. The trick with both of those authors is finding a first edition in dust jacket. A few of my GLH books are reprints from my earliest days of collecting, as some of them really do have great cover art. Which Loring books did you like best?

  4. Hi Jessica,

    I’m a writer covering your Honey & Wax win for Bustle. Would love to get a few comments from you regarding your collection. Feel free to email me if you’d be willing to chat.

    Congratulations and best regards,
    Kristian Wilson

  5. RichieG says:

    Hello there!

    I am so glad I just stumbled upon this blog while searching for “Three Lost Girls,” which is advertised in the back of the book I am reading, “The Charming Cheat” (1933). I am so happy that there is someone else in the word that too collects 20s/30s books! I found my first one last year (with a Skrenda dust jacket, no less) and I am hooked, and just started an instagram (@flapperfiction) and slowly posting my collection. I am not sure how to contact you directly, but would love to show you some of my collection and start a conversation if you email me at goffrichie@gmail.com. I’ve yet to meet someone with this common interest so it’s very exciting :).

    All the best,
    Richie

    • Welcome, I’m glad you found my blog! Three Girls Lost is a great book, possibly one of my favorites. Hope you’re enjoying The Charming Cheat. I have that one, but haven’t read it yet.

      1920s and 1930s book collectors totally exist! Some collect mystery, fantasy, more literary fiction, etc., but I mostly stick with romance novels.

      • RichieG says:

        What are your favorites that you own? I will do my best to wait to find a copy of Saleslady. And I see Glittering Sham is for sale, just a bit more than I want to pay for right now.

        Do you have any books by Lois Bull? I really like her books and their covers!

      • In theory, my favorites should eventually find their way to this blog. In reality, I started this blog more than seven(!) years ago, and still haven’t posted on all of my favorites. It’s a good problem to have really.

        And nope, I haven’t been so lucky as to snag any Lois Bull titles yet. They look awesome though!

  6. Dr Joe McAleer says:

    Hi Jessica:
    I was intrigued to read about you and your collection in the recent “Fine Books & Collections” magazine. Do you also collect Mills & Boon titles? The hardcovers from the 1930s-1950s had wonderfully expressive jackets. I wrote the history of the firm, “Passion’s Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon” (1999). Would like to connect with you via e-mail to discuss.
    Regards,
    Dr. Joe McAleer

    • Thank you for stopping by my blog! My collection currently doesn’t include Mill & Boon publications, and is mostly American editions. However, our interests do overlap. Your book sounds fascinating and I’d love to read it!

  7. Hi, Jessica.
    Congratulations on winning the Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize last year. Heather O’Donnell was just on our program recently talking about this year’s competition. I wanted to discuss matters that would best be in a private email but I could not find one for you. Please contact me when you can at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.

    All the best,
    Allan

    T. Allan Smith
    Creator and Executive Producer
    Rare Book Cafe

  8. Amy Asch says:

    Dear Jessica,

    I too became aware of your blog from the Honey & Wax prize. Congratulations!

    I am very interested in the 1920s/30s from a movies, musicals, and American Popular Song perspective — and that has led me once in a while to pop fiction from the era, especially if it’s set in NYC. I’m really looking forward to learning from your blog.

    I’m sure it’s not easy to keep up with reading everything you acquire, but thought I’d recommend one.

    I ADORED a novel called “Little Sins” by Katharine Brush (1927, Minton, Balch & Co; my copy doesn’t have a d/j) — the rise of a sweet, sincere young beauty who starts her life in Manhattan as a poor taxi dancer and finds a career as an illustrator and then finds love; and the fall of a tremendously beautiful and tremendously spoiled rich girl. They have two men in common — one debauched and one steady. Just summarizing it makes me want to read it again.

    Best wishes,
    Amy Asch

    • Thank you for the congratulations, and for the excellent book recommendation! I’d love to be able to find a copy of “Little Sins” and am putting it on my watchlist.

      If only I could read everything I acquire! This blog has helped me take a longview of that project, and I sometimes joke that my rare book habit is like a part time job on top of my full time job.

      So far, I’d say that the most musical book I’ve reviewed on here is “High Hat,” a radio romance. There is definite overlap with the performing arts in fiction and these romance novels, and I hope to review more in the future. One book in the collection is titled “Broadway Bride,” but the front cover blurb has me thinking it’s less musically focused than I’d like: “When Nita Dudley married her Broadway ‘playboy’ she signed her sister Natalie’s name to the marriage license – and thereby hangs this exciting tale”!

      Thanks again for stopping by my blog and sharing your interests. They overlap in great ways, and 1920s-1930s musical history sounds fascinating!

      • Amy Asch says:

        Hey — thanks for your nice reply and I will look into “High Hat”.

        I think lots of people buy more books than they have time to read. I’ve got stacks. You’re a capital C collector with a blog — no wonder you can’t read them all! Don’t worry about writing back, but I hope you don’t mind my sharing my impressions of another one that might fit into your specialty.

        Since I first wrote to you, I’ve gobbled “Hangover” by Max Lief, published by Horace Liveright, 1929. The romance part is between a theatre columnist/reporter for an NYC tabloid and the daughter of the millionaire who owns the paper. She is having a little adventure as a reporter (and not doing too badly) before marrying the Boston Brahmin to whom she has long been engaged. The affair is on-again, off-again because of class differences, and her social obligations. She does marry the reporter, but there is always tension. I doubt that the marriage would last.

        Because of my interest in 1920s Broadway, for me (and maybe also for the author?) the most interesting part is the setting and the period details: the writer attends the opening night of a Broadway revue (with specifics about the types of performances); gossips with fellow theatre critics at Sardi’s (some of whom are real-life people, not fictional characters); goes to a speakeasy with musical entertainment; even writes his own play and has an out-of-town tryout (many financial problems as well as artistic). J.J. Shubert (a real-life producer) buys the play and has it turned into a musical. There are anecdotes about the lives/woes of chorus girls. There are set pieces of drunken house parties in Manhattan and in Westport, CT. Apartment/hotel living in Manhattan (chatty maids). The hero and his love interest have a nice carriage ride/make-out session in Central Park. Also aspects of the newspaper business: circulation wars, battles among reporters for first access to the family of a murder victim. There’s an aside about movie critics fired because their opinions are different than the owner’s (!).

        I heard about the book because it was one of the very first to use the term “casting couch.” I’m looking forward to researching the author when I have more time. He seems to have some Broadway songwriting credits. I’d also love to check historical book reviews — back in my undergraduate days I used something called “Book Review Digest.” I wonder whether in 1929 critics felt it was accurate or exaggerated. And it would be interesting to see how reactions from New York and other parts of the country differ.

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