Modern First Editions 2010-2019
Room by Emma Donoghue
Room is told through the perspective of a five-year-old boy Jack, held captive in a room he has never left. His young mother was kidnapped at 19 by 'OldNick' and repeatedly raped, giving birth to Jack. She tries to give Jack a normal life and keep him healthy and happy. Eventually, she devises a brave escape for the pair, whose new life in the outside world is more challenging than imagined. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2010, a film version of the book was released in 2015.
Room was first published on August 6th, 2010 Picador in the UK. The first UK edition has a blue dust jacket with black border and a fuzzy replication of a small house and child on the front. There is also a signed limited edition of 250 numbered copies released by Picador.
The first American edition was published in October 2010 by Little Brown and Company, New York, and the first Canadian edition by Harper Collins, Toronto. These have a white dust jacket with 'ROOM' spelled across it in different colors.
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The second novel by author Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones, follows the family of pregnant teenage Esch Batiste before, during, and after hurricane Katrina hits their home on the Gulf Coast. Mostly left to fend for themselves by their hard-drinking father, Esch and her brothers prepare and weather the storm over the twelve days the novel takes place. Salvage the Bones was awarded the National Book Award for Fiction in 2011.
The first edition of Salvage the Bones was printed by Bloomsbury, New York, in 2011. The first edition has a complete number line on the copyright page and a $24.00 price on the dust jacket.
Easton Press released a signed leather bound edition with 22k gold accents.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl is the third published novel by writer Gillian Flynn. When a small-town creative writing professor, Amy, goes missing on her 5th wedding anniversary, her husband, Nick, is the suspect. The novel is told from the markedly unreliable viewpoint of Amy and Nick, both unhappy in their marriage and deeply manipulative. Flynn's portrayal of dark female characters who are not inherently nurturing or good is pivotal to this novel. By the end of 2012, the book had sold two million copies and was adapted into a critically acclaimed and successful film in 2014.
The first edition of Gone Girl was published by Crown, New York, in 2012. The first edition has a complete number line to "1" and stated 'First Edition' on the copyright page.
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Published in 2013 by Riverhead Books, The Good Lord Bird by James McBride follows Henry Shackleford, an enslaved person who joins John Brown’s abolitionist mission. Narrated in first person through Henry (nicknamed Little Onion and mistaken to be a girl), the novel recounts Brown’s interactions with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and the raid on Harpers Ferry that led to the execution of Brown. The historically weighted subject and events are handled with an original and comic tone that critics compare to Mark Twain. The Good Lord Bird won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2013.
First editions of The Good Lord Bird, published by Riverhead Books in 2013, have a complete number line ending in “1” on the copyright page and a $27.95 price point on the inside front flap of the dust jacket.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The second novel by Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See, follows a young blind French girl, Marie-Laure, who flees Paris during the German occupation in World War Two. Her father, a master locksmith at the Museum of Natural History, is put in charge of a famous diamond, or one of its replicas, a treasure the Nazis are eager to find. As Marie-Laure joins her family in the resistance in the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, her life becomes intertwined with a young Hitler youth, Werner Pfennig, an orphan with a talent for radios.
The First edition of All the Light We Cannot See was published by Scribner, New York, in 2014. "First Scribner hardcover edition May 2014" is stated on the copyright page along with a full number line '1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2.' Boards are navy blue with black lettering on a light green spine. The dust jacket has no statements of awards or prizes on the front and has a price stamp of $27.00.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life is a heart-wrenching tale that follows the lives of four men, Jude, Willem, JB, and Malcolm, as they go from University into their mid-fifties. The novel centers around Jude, a talented litigator who suffers from a damaged spine and trauma from his past. There is nothing little about this book - it spans 800 pages and contains difficult subject matter, including violence, rape, and child abuse. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
The first US edition of A Little Life was published by Doubleday in 2015 and has a full number line on the copyright page. The first UK edition, published by Picador, also has a complete number line.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Author Colson Whitehead uses the concept of 'the underground railroad' not as a metaphor but as an actual train underground in this novel which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The story follows the protagonist Cora in a desperate run for freedom from a cotton plantation in Georgia to the North. Her travel takes her on a journey through time and space, battling terrors as she avoids slave catches and navigates toward freedom.
The first edition of The Underground Railroad was published by Doubleday, New York, in 2016. First editions, first printings have "First Edition" printed on the copyright page and a full number line.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Titled after the Korean game of chance and survival, Pachinko is an epic historical tale that follows a poor Korean immigrant family who migrated to Japan. The story begins with teenage Sunja, the beloved daughter of a disabled fisherman. Sunja becomes pregnant by a wealthy stranger in the early 1900s, but discovering he is married opts to marry a poor minister instead. Her decision takes her to Japan, and the novel follows four generations of her family’s life. Pachinko was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction.
The first edition of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee was published in 2017 by Grand Central Publishing.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Where the Crawdads Sing is the debut novel of author Delia Owens, a zoologist who had previously published works on her experiences studying wildlife in Botswana. The novel centers around Kya Clark, who the people in town called ‘Marsh Girl.’ Forced to survive on her own after her mother abandons the family because of her abusive alcoholic father, Kya has a wild beauty and intelligence that draws in curiosity. When a handsome local boy is found dead, she becomes the main subject of the murder investigation.
The first edition of Where the Crawdads Sing was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 2018 and has a complete number line from 1-10 on the copyright page.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son, nicknamed Little Dog, to an illiterate mother exploring issues such as family, class, and addiction. The mother, Rose, is a single parent with a traumatic past, working at a nail salon while raising Little Dog. The novel highlights the importance of telling one's story to heal the past and survive the present. This is the debut novel from Ocean Vuong, a Vietnamese American poet, essayist, and novelist, who was just thirty-one when it was published. It was longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction.
Penguin Press published the first US edition, and the first Uk edition was published by Jonathan Cape, London, in 2019. The dust jacket of the UK edition is stamped £12.99, and the first edition has a full number line and 'First published by Jonathan Cape in 2019.'
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Author Bio: Amy C. Manikowski is a writer, bookseller, trail-diverger, history buff, and pitbull lover. She graduated from Chatham University with an MFA a while ago, and after wandering aimlessly settled in Asheville NC.