Fear & Loathing

Here is a question for all Hunter Thompson collectors out there: If you had to choose between being the proud owner of Thompson’s first or second book which would you choose? The choice, of course, is between Thompson’s famous 1967 Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs or the 1971 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream. Both books are very collectible and popular among the Baby Boomer generation.

Before you answer the question though, here is a bit of background information to help you decide:

Mr. Thompson, was born in Louisville Kentucky, but actually built his reputation as an eccentric journalist in upstate New York. Like a modern-day blogger, he expressed his personal beliefs with a mixture of truths and fiction. In his own words “….you have to know the material you’re writing about before you alter it,” He appealed to the generation that protested the Vietnam War and saw the cynicism in the Watergate political scandal. This is the same generation that was known for its care-free purchasing habits but later later switched its attention to issues such as property taxes and social security. These are the same folks that brought us the slogan “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.”

In researching Hell’s Angels, Thompson spent more than a year travelling with motorcycle gangs before gifting the American nation with a book full of tongue lashing because they created villains out of what he ultimately concluded to be more pathetic than fearsome. In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, he describes the adventures of Raoul and his lawyer Dr. Gonzo Duke, as they take “a saving journey to the heart of the American Dream” in a convertible loaded up with drugs. They go out of their way to degrade, abuse, and destroy symbols of American consumerism and excess, within the city that symbolizes the coarse ugliness of mainstream American culture – Las Vegas.

Hunter Thompson's High Spots


The book that portrays Thompson’s best self-image and skills in writing is ultimately what collector’s are hunting for. His work has presaged modern-day journalism in an evolutionary way. Naming himself “a foulmouthed outlaw journalist” may seem like a joke at first, but it conveys the erratic behavior that depicts the restless failure his generation feels. Unlike most fiction, Thompson, did not have to rely on an omniscient or third person narrator. His writing was right on the edge of where journalism and literature meet.

From the beginning of the Hell’s Angels narrative, Thompson included himself as part of the story via a first-person narrative, a style that became known as gonzo journalism. Another important aspect of gonzo is the blending of personal beliefs with truth’s accuracy, without being ruled fictional. Thompson himself first used the term on page twelve in Fear and Loathing : “But what was the story? Nobody had bothered to say. So we would have to drum it up on our own. Free Enterprise. The American Dream. Horatio Alger gone mad on drugs in Las Vegas. Do it now: pure Gonzo journalism.”

Now back to our question: As a collector of important works of a pioneer in journalistic literature, which book would you rather own? The first introduction of what came to be known as “angry, knowledgeable writing” or a novel that solidified the foundation of “Gonzo Journalism?” If you are like me, you are probably as excited to own either one of them, but strictly financially speaking, you are willing to settle for one of the more affordable obscenity-laced publications by this counterculture social critic.



social media analytics

Based on an analysis of the interaction we have received over the last two years, on our public-facing social media: Linked-In, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blog comments and Pinterest, we have prepared the Static Four Quadrant chart exhibited below.

Data received through Facebook and Twitter is the primary source of standard follower activity (y-axis), whereas social data from Linked-In groups’ comments, links, and Pinterest act as differentiators (x-axis). In addition, data is being collected, measured and analyzed through interactions among our readers on the topics and ideas that are posted on this blog. The four quadrants are thus identified as Likes, Follows, Comments/Pins, and Mentions/Links.

The selection of the book genre to exhibit is based on the categorization of the postings that appear on the blog during a particular timeframe. The size of the globe for each genre is directly proportional to the number of postings that the genre received during the period analyzed.

While we realize that social analytics have limitations regarding the ability to identify all sentiments of a particular audience, the interpretations of this exercise are left to an individual’s abilities to elucidate.

A separate group of analytical information collected outside the direct social media interaction of likes, follows, tweets, mentions, and links consists of page views, time on post, geolocations, keyword-level sentiments, etc. Such information is not part of this analysis. In fact, this type of non-voluntarily submitted data information is in violation of privacy code of conduct. Unlike social media data, browsing information collected by online publishers and advertisers through visitor search terms entered, is primarily used to serve appropriately targeted ads and ultimately gather ad revenue.

We are in compliance with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) privacy proposal by not tracking visitors who had enabled the “Do Not Track” setting on their browsers. We are also not using AdChoices which is driven through such user browser tracking practices.

Perhaps presenting social media readings from postings such as this, may provide a strong enough signal to suggest that returning voluntarily submitted information back to our audience is of liking, worth mentioning and closely followed.


Rare Books Digest Sentiment


Book conservation / Book restoration: Deciding upon a course of action

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Book repair, book restoration, book preservation, book conservation or do nothing at all. With a worn or damaged book in hand, the choices for treatment (or no treatment) may seem bewilderingly complex. Add to this the contradictory advice and opinions offered by different authorities, it may seem impossible to come up with a ‘best’ course […]

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Rare Book Sale Monitor Update – 2nd Quarter 2015

July 17, 2015
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In the midst of the Greece crisis reaching yet another boiling point, the RBSM recorded little or no change in ancient, classical Greek authors’ works covering history, science, geography, philosophy and literature. It has definitely not been the type of economic event with significant impact on antiquarian books. The supply of ancient Greek books got […]

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Once Upon a Simpler Time

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In the midst of our current, diverse, fast paced, competitive, corporate ladder climbing, rat race of a day-to-day society, nearly every work-worn and weary individual holds in common the ability to think back to a simpler time during childhood where anything and everything was possible between the covers of a book. Throughout that small window […]

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The Bright Side of the Black Sun

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It has the chemistry of a major hit – importance, scarcity, artistic impression, controversy, and mystique. Yet the small imprint of Editions Narcisse, later renamed Black Sun, has not performed like a major hit. It all became obvious a year ago during the Sotheby’s Fine Books & Manuscripts, Including Americana, auction event, held in New […]

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Rare Book Market – An Anatomical Exercitation through the Generations

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Speculations on the future of the rare book market analyze the dynamics behind both the demand and the supply quite extensively. Demand for rare books in the United States and arguably the rest of western civilization is largely consumed by some long-standing cultural behaviors. Generalizations that are based on collector stereotypes that are broken up by […]

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Eloise from 6 to being 60 years old

May 8, 2015
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“I am Eloise. I am six.” From these six simple words, the reader is at once hurled on board a captivating and enchanting amusement park of laughter, good times, and the impish antics of one very self assured and important little girl. For countless generations, Kay Thompson’s Eloise books have delighted, enthralled and amused children […]

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Rare Book Sale Monitor update – 1st Quarter 2015

April 24, 2015
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Up until recent times, financial advisors have been reluctant to recommend “alternative” types of investments in collectibles, such as rare books, to their customers. Primary concerns circle around the factors of illiquidity, additional costs for storage, insurance, transportation and fraud. The lack of standard quantitative performance measurements comparing the long term returns of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, […]

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The Appeal of an Enigma

April 9, 2015
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A 16-page Don McLean manuscript, featuring the lyrics of the iconic song, American Pie, including the writer’s notes and an extra verse which was never recorded, was auctioned by Christie’s in New York on April 7, 2015. The manuscript achieved the 3rd highest auction price for an American literary manuscript selling for $1,205,000 (€1,109,182), including […]

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