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Blog posts by Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an ABAA Member and an owner of johnson rare books & archives in Covina, California.

Selections from Member's stock

Literary Los Angeles

By Brad Johnson

Literary Los Angeles: A Legacy as Diverse as the City Itself The Hollywood sign looms large over Los Angeles. However, despite its close association with the motion picture industry, the enduring promise and dark undercurrents of America's first postmodern city are best understood through its prose and poetry. This literary legacy will be on display in February when the world's leading antiquarian booksellers gather in Los Angeles for the 43rd ILAB Congress, which will lead into the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena. The following list of 20 defining works of Los Angeles literature is presented in anticipation of these prestigious events: Reminiscences of a Ranger: Early Times in Southern California (1881) by Major Horace Bell Horace Bell (1830-1918) was an incendiary attorney who was fond of the seamier side... [more]

Much has been written in the wake of Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister's passing. But lost amidst all the accolades and remembrances of the Motorhead frontman who married the sounds of heavy metal and punk and almost single-handedly invented thrash is the fact that he was the son of a librarian and an avid reader throughout his life (one assumes this was by virtue of nurture, rather than nature, as his father was a minister in the Royal Air Force). One might not expect the artist who wrote “Killed by Death” and “The Game,” the entrance theme song for WWE wrestler Triple H, to be particularly bookish. But as his friend and sometime collaborator Ozzy Osbourne recalled, there was much more to the man than his legendary appetite for booze and speed: “To look at Lemmy, you'd never think he was as educated as he was. People look at the mus... [more]

A special exhibit celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is among the many highlights of the 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair. The display will include cornerstone works of Gothic literature, including the scarce 1818 first edition of Frankenstein, as well illustrated editions, graphic novels, and film stills from The Bride of Frankenstein and other cinematic interpretations. It will also include a selection of albums with music inspired in whole or in part by Frankenstein's monster. Frankenstein was first set to music in Presumption; or the Fate of Frankenstein (1823), a three-act play by Richard Brinsley Peake (Mary Shelley attended the play in London during its original run). This was followed many years later by Frankenstein, or The Vampire's Victim (1887), a musical burlesque composed by M... [more]