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Nick Ostdick
Nick Ostdick is a husband, runner, writer, and craft beer enthusiast based in Western Illinois. He holds a MFA in creative writing from Southern Illinois University and has worked as a college instructor, journalist, and blogger.

Recent Posts:

The Bond Dossier: You Only Live Twice

By Nick Ostdick. Mar 22, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

It’s perhaps tragically ironic Ian Fleming’s eleventh James Bond novel is titled You Only Live Twice. That irony stems from the fact it was the last Bond novel Fleming completed before his death in August 1964. While a handful of other Fleming-conceived novels were published after his death, You Only Live Twice was the final 007 story Fleming saw from start to finish. He passed away just five months after the novel’s publication.

     
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The Bond Dossier: On Her Majesty's Secret Service

By Nick Ostdick. Feb 17, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

It’s early 1962 and James Bond author Ian Fleming is hard at work on his next Bond adventure. At his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica, Fleming artfully plots Bond’s next move, how his foes will oppose him, and the romances at stake. At the same time, just down the beach a film crew is working on the first big screen adaptation of Fleming’s work, Dr. No, with Scottish actor Sean Connery in the title role.

It must have been a surreal moment, but one that cemented Fleming’s place as one of the most popular crime/adventure writers of his time. Still, even with all the fame, fortune, and accolades, Fleming’s tenth Bond novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was crafted just as deliberately and painstakingly as those that came before itwhich is perhaps why the novel was and remains one of the most popular and fastest selling of Fleming’s career.

     
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Getting to Know Tomas Tranströmer

By Nick Ostdick. Jan 11, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners

To call him Sweden’s most beloved Renaissance man would be something of an understatement. A world-renowned poet, translator, psychologist, and thinker, Tomas Tranströmer dedicated his life’s work in one way or another to the exploration of who we are and why we’re here. Whether through one of his major literary publications or his psychological work at the prestigious Roxtuna Center for juvenile offenders, Tranströmer strived for a deeper understanding of the human condition and the beauty of the routine, rote moments in everyday life.

     
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The Bond Dossier: The Spy Who Loved Me

By Nick Ostdick. Jan 4, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

“The experiment has obviously gone very much awry.” Ian Fleming

This line, taken from a letter James Bond creator and novelist Ian Fleming wrote to his publisher upon the release of his ninth Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me, is the perfect encapsulation of when an artist attempts to reinvent his art and fails. Published in 1962, The Spy Who Loved Me is not only thought to be Fleming’s most drastic shift in his portrayal of both Bond and his titular spy’s adventures, but it’s also the most poorly received of Fleming’s Bond novels. So poor was the reception, in fact, that Fleming himself went to great legal lengths to prevent reprints and subsequent editions in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

     
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The Tie That Binds: The Importance of Binding in Rare Book Collecting

By Nick Ostdick. Dec 14, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book Making

It’s the first thing you see. It’s the first thing you feel when you pick it up. It often goes a long way toward determining how you feel about it or how you’re going to feel about it once you crack the pages. While we’re talking about book covers in this example, what we’re really talking about is binding: the method in which the front and back cover are fastened over the actual book pages. Because a book’s binding can be decorative as well as pragmatichelping to protect the book from the elementsit’s often a critical factor in determining a book’s value and worth in the rare book landscape.

As a result, novice and seasoned collectors alike should not only place importance on type and condition of a book’s binding, but they should also be somewhat knowledgeable about the different methods of binding and their significance in determining a book’s value.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Thunderball

By Nick Ostdick. Dec 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

There are some books where the story behind the story is just as interestingif not more sothan the story itself. 007 creator and novelist Ian Fleming had largely avoided this scenario in the publication of his first seven Bond novels; however, Fleming’s eighth 007 novel, Thunderball, found Fleming and his protagonist in some of the most high-stakes peril yetthough Bond’s struggles against international crime syndicates pales slightly in comparison to Fleming’s entanglements with copyright lawyers.

Whatever the case, Thunderball marked several turning points for both Fleming and James Bond. While the novel was one of the most well-received and commercially successful Bond novels to date, the composition of the novel was fraught with roadblocks and speed bumps, which is perhaps part of what drove Fleming’s creative process and allowed him to unfold one of his more spine-tingling plots.

     
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The Importance of Condition in Rare Book Collecting

By Nick Ostdick. Nov 15, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Condition. Condition. Condition. It’s something of a mantra heard from the novice rare book collector to book collecting experts and everyone in between. Perhaps just as important as whether a book is a first edition or the first of its kindprimacythe condition of a book is crucial in helping assess its value and place in the rare book collecting universe. This is especially true when looking at modern classics such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby where the number of original copies is quite large compared with other classic American novels published just 10 or 20 years before. For example, copies of Gatsby in prime condition can significantly differ in value from copies in fair or poor condition published during the same era.

Given the importance placed on condition by collectors, it’s critical to understand the key elements that define the term. What should collectors look for when considering condition? What are the prime factors that determine the condition of a given book? And how do these elements work together in both large and small ways to help collectors accurately assess the value of a certain book?

     
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The Bond Dossier: Goldfinger

By Nick Ostdick. Nov 11, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: James Bond

It’s a central question in the journey of any artist: How do you bounce back from a project that didn’t meet audience expectations? For novelist Ian Fleming, the answer lies in the publication of his seventh James Bond novel, Goldfinger.

Coming off a somewhat tepid response to his previous novel, Dr. No, Fleming was determined to turn out a Bond story that would not only further the development of the series and its central character, but also give readers what they had come to know and love in the Bond seriesaction, adventure, thrills, romance, and style. And Fleming’s efforts to write a ‘return-to-form’ novel paid off handsomely.

     
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Primacy and Rare Book Collecting: The Value of Being First

As the old saying goes: ‘It pays to be first.’

In the world of rare book collecting, this is also a well-known fact. First editions. First printing. First drafts of manuscripts. These are usually the kinds of 'firsts' book collectors are on the look-out for when evaluating a book’s worth and value, and it’s these elements that factor largely into how much rare books fetch at auction and how sought-after they become.

However, the concept of primacy, or being recognized as the first incarnation of something within the literary canon, goes well beyond the simple notion of first editions or first printings. First mentions of a character, a setting, a theory, an idea, or even the first location where a book was printed all factor into the primacy of a book and are important elements book collectors and evaluators must weigh when determining a book’s worth and value.

     
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The Bond Dossier: Dr. No

By Nick Ostdick. Oct 1, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, James Bond

There comes a time in any great series of books when the tides turn—when, for some reason or another, the characters, plots, themes, or messages of the books fall out of favor or have their relevancy or worth challenged, both for the writer and the reader. For Ian Fleming and his James Bond novels, that time came with Dr. No. (1958), the sixth book in the Bond series under Fleming’s watch.

In hindsight, perhaps the spiral in critical appeal—though the commercial success of Dr. No remained aligned with the Bond novels that came before—was inevitable. After all, Fleming was uncertain about Bond’s future following the completion and publication of the previous 007 adventure, From Russia with Love, so much so that he waffled on whether to kill off his titular character. In fact, early versions of the book actually saw Bond’s death scene played out in some kind of melancholic, triumphant glory.

     
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About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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