Libraries of the Rich & Famous, part II

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Time for more libraries from famous people!  Here is a really fabulous library from Rod Stewart:

This one isn’t really to my taste, but for those who like modern architecture, designer Karl Lagerfeld’s is impressive:

And finally….one from Frank Sinatra:

Hope you had fun with these little sneek peeks!

Libraries of the Rich & Famous

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I suppose everyone has fantasies of what they would do if they had a ton of money.  At the top of my list would be a home with a spectacular library.  It would need to have plenty of natural light, and windows overlooking some sort of view (woods, a lake, anything but the wall of my next-door neighbor’s house ten feet away!)

Let’s take a look at some celebrities who appear to have lavished a tidy sum on a personal library:

This was Greta Garbo’s library:

And here is Woody Allen’s:

And finally, a really terrific one from the late Michael Jackson:

North & South

Elizabeth Camden Ramblings about Romance, The Lady of Bolton Hill 3 Comments

When The Lady of Bolton Hill was first released, a handful of the early reviewers compared it to a miniseries called North & South.  I mistakenly thought they were referring to the John Jakes mini-series by the same name.  The John Jakes story was set during the American Civil War and featured two men whose differing political allegiances tore their friendship asunder.  It bore literally zero similarity to The Lady of Bolton Hill, so I dug a little deeper and found the BBC miniseries based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.

I decided to order the BBC version of North & South through NetFlix and take a peek.  I am so glad I did!  The BBC version is a splendid tale of star-crossed lovers and class struggles.  Set in Victorian England, it tells the story of a privileged young woman who moves from a serene, bucolic village to a grimy factory town.  There she meets the brooding and passionate John Thornton, who owns one of the largest factories.  These two could not be more opposite.  Mr. Thornton develops an immediate attraction to the heroine, but Margaret is repulsed by what she perceives to be his cruelty and ruthless business practices.

The storyline is good, cinematography is gorgeous, the soundtrack is haunting…but what really makes the movie is the magnificent Richard Armitage who stars as John Thornton.  Just beneath his stern demeanor we can see this simmering, passionate man who is ripped apart by his unrequited love for Margaret.  Time and again she stomps on his heart, to which he responds by getting colder and more remote….but the viewer can see him wrestling with these terribly inconvenient emotions he can’t subdue.   He is a complex character and it is fascinating to watch him confront one challenge after another over the course of the miniseries.  Oh, and he’s also smoking hot.  Just saying.

I admit to a fair amount of trepidation before watching North & South.  So many reviewers had commented on the similarities between my book and the miniseries that I worried people might think I had sponged ideas or plot lines from it.  Although there is a superficial similarity in the basic plot (rich factory owner, girl of privilege who disapproves of his business tactics) that is where the similarity ends.  And after watching the miniseries, I was flattered down to my toes that people thought my book and the miniseries were mentioned in the same sentence.

 If you’ve never seen North & South, you are in for a treat.  It is available on NetFlix, and also on the new streaming video service from Amazon.

How Long does it Take to Fall in Love?

Elizabeth Camden Ramblings about Romance Leave a Comment

Anyone who has read much in the romance genre will notice a curious phenomenon. In most romance novels, the lead characters meet and fall in love in a very compressed time frame. They agree to get married and ride off into a dazzling sunset.

Studies show that between one and two years of courtship before getting engaged is “the sweet spot” for a lasting marriage. An engagement after less than a year of dating often occurs when the relationship is fueled by a rush of infatuation, or when the couple is still on artificially good behavior and have not relaxed into their authentic self. A courtship longer than two years may reveal that one party is reluctant. So what accounts for the prevalence of very short courtships in romance novels?

To be honest, a long courtship makes for dull reading. As a writer, I wonder if I am setting a bad example for people who become dazzled by the whirlwind they see celebrated in movies and novels. Falling in love after a few dates and hoping it will be the basis for a lasting marriage just can’t happen. Right?

There are exceptions to every rule. My parents just celebrated their 57th anniversary. They had a grand total of eight dates before becoming engaged.

Eight. Dates.

Were they nuts? Infatuated? Completely insane?

Well, a little bit of all that, I suppose. To be fair, immediately after those eight dates and before becoming engaged, my Dad was shipped off to Korea where he served for almost two years. During those years they exchanged hundreds of letters. This allowed for a cooling off period and a certain amount of time for deeper understanding. By the time my Dad was back in the states, he was ready to pop the question.

My parents were the exception to the rule. Even though the basis of their courtship was built upon those eight dates, they knew each other almost two years before getting to the alter.

Two years….. hmmmm… still a little on the dull side for a romance novel.

What Makes a Book Valuable to Collectors?

Elizabeth Camden The Book World 2 Comments

In a recent blog entry I wrote about how books rarely become more valuable based on age alone.   There are plenty of exceptions to this rule, so I thought I’d write about what makes a book become of interest to collectors.  The Hobbit is a great example of why some books become very valuable.  No one expected this charming little children’s tale to become a smash hit, so only 1,500 copies were printed in 1937.  Collectors who are seeking a first edition of The Hobbit are going to have fierce competition.  As the valuable first edition copies of the book find their way onto collector’s bookshelves, fewer copies are circulating for sale, so the price continues to snowball.  Comic books, which were considered disposable commodities in the early decades, have become valuable for the same reason.  

In 2010 a first edition copy of The Hobbit sold for a staggering $120,800.

The main criteria for causing a book’s value to skyrocket are the following:

A First Edition.  This is probably the biggest factor in making a book valuable.  A first edition of Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1899) with the dust jacket and in good condition will sell for around $35,000.  A second edition printed just a few years later will sell for less than $40.  That first edition is a big deal.

Scarcity.  This is why first editions of book from authors who later went on to achieve great fame are so valuable.  Tamerlane and Other Poems was the first book of poetry by Edgar Allen Poe.  Only twelve copies are believed to be still in existence.  In 2009, a copy of this work sold for $662,500.

Cultural or Historic Importance of the Work.  A landmark book, especially a book that helped shape history, will be extremely valuable. Although hardly a household title, Journey of Discovery to Port Phillip, New South Wales by William Bland sold for almost $700,000 in 2006.  The book is of ground-breaking importance to the discovery and exploration of Australia, and that makes it valuable.  

Condition of the book.  No one likes ratty, stained, or smelly books.  Even collectors shy away from such books, but if you’ve got a rare title in pristine condition, the value will soar.

Signed by a famous author or illustrator.  Get your first edition Elizabeth Camden books signed now before I hit it big!

Jay Walker’s Home Library

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Yes, the library pictured below is in a man’s private residence.  Jay Walker is the founder of, and he designed his home to accomodate this spectacular library.  It is 3,600 feet of pure, eccentric fabulocity. 

I also have a real thing for incorporating gorgeous windows into a library.  Jay Walker’s library windows are some of the best I’ve ever seen:

Thanks to Wired magazine for the picture.  There are lots more images of Mr. Walker’s spectacular library at the Wired wesbite here.