Friday, December 17, 2004

Updike's Got the Right Idea

So a few days after my last post, I read this article (below) about what Mr. Updike decided to do with his book overload problem. Seems a rather clever solution. It would be pretty great to buy a novel with John Updike's thoughts in the margins. I've long wondered what people would think if they came upon a book I used for research. I've scrawled many an idea in the margins of poison textbooks, CSI sourcebooks, and explosives manuals and I firmly believe that if a secondhand reader came across some of those notions in the course of their reading, it might keep them up nights. But I suppose that's my job anyways....


Author John Updike Sheds Old Books

By The Associated Press

MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Mass. - John Updike, like many a good book-lover, found the cellar of his house and shelves in his barn were being overrun with books he and his wife have collected over the years.

"They were just collecting dust and mouse droppings," the author told The Boston Globe in Friday's edition.

Their solution? Find someone who would pay for the used books, and haul them away.

"I'm at an age when you think about lightening your load, rather than dumping it on your heirs," said Updike, 72, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

Mark Stolle, owner of Manchester by the Book store, bought Updike's collection. But not all of them will be re-sold cheaply.

In some of the books' margins are handwritten questions and analogies from the novelist and essayist — writings that Updike called his "scribblings." Those editions will go for between $200 and $1,000.

Updike, who counts himself a supporter of independent bookstores, doesn't mind that Stolle is making a profit.

"If he's able to make a few dollars on a few of the review copies scattered in there, all the better. He paid a fair price."


Kristy said...

I love when published authors have public blogs, it's a chance for us to see pieces of a writers life and thoughts. I will be reading you from now on. I have never read any of your books, however I found you via Tod Goldbergs listing of appearances, which I check from time to time because I am his biggest fan. I'm jealous of your book storage problem, and the fact that you get to have an appearance with Tod. Do me a favor...tell him his fan club President in Florida is jealous of you....that is when you see him... :-) Oh...and I read a lot so I'll have to make a trip to the bookstore today and pick up a Hurwitz.

-PoeticaL (

Aquaryan said...

In a previous comment on your other blog entry, Gregg, I think I mentioned that John Updike might have got the idea from your blog. If this is true, then John might be reading your novels.

If there are anyone who has not had the opportunity to read any of Gregg's novels, then I would like to recommend that they start off with "Do No Harm" and work their way backwards before checking out his latest novels.

The only novel that I did not like was "Minutes To Burn". Of course, this is just my own personal opinion.

With Christmas coming up, it is not too late to pick up one of Gregg's novels for someone (or yourself).

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

I would love to get a book with another authors thougths in it. Michael Crichton writes in all his books with the exception of his Jules Verne collection. He mentioned it in a great atricle a few years back in Firsts magazine. It would be pretty cool to have a book on dinosaurs with his notes from writing Jurassic Park.

In regard to Gregg's books, Gregg is an amazing writer. The only thing that bugs me is that he is so young and healthy he will continue to write books long after I pass on and I'll miss them. said...

Kristy-I'll pass along your best to Tod when I sign with him in Palm Springs. Thanks for writing in.

And as for the other comments...Milwaukee book storage...hmm...I'll have to give this some thought.