In today's Roanoke Times I found this ad, addressed to "Dear Virginia Friend," which I guess is me:
For only $37.95 plus $8 shipping, I could own a hard bound "coffee table" book (8.5 by 11 inches) with 320 pages and 314 photographs! Wow! What a deal, huh?
I thought it odd that the publisher didn't have a website listed on the ad, especially if they "expect to sell out all inventory this year" so I should order my copy today! (Note that the words I bolded were bolded in the ad.) I Googled and found that they did indeed have a website. And the book had been around since 2007. Google books says it was written by Nelson Harris (who has indeed written some history books, but his Amazon page doesn't list this one) and gives the editors as Bob Lasley and Sallie Holt. On another site, Bob Lasley is listed as the author. In fact, Amazon lists him as the author of a whole slew of memory-type books, as well as a vanity published book. This is getting curiouser and curiouser.
I checked WorldCat to see what libraries shelve this book. Since it has been out since 2007 and since "it is the most unusual and enjoyable history book ever written about [my] region,"I figured it should be in libraries all across the nation. It's in a total of eleven libraries, two of which aren't in Virginia. WorldCat classifies it as biography. Huh?
I also looked for reviews of this book. Surely in the five years since it was published, it should have gotten at least one. (Apparently, not even Harriet Klausner, the queen of numerous Amazon reviews, reviewed it.)
The ad says that I'll "certainly find people, places, things and events that will bring back the good times of the 1930s, '40s, '50s. '60s, and early 70s." I might be a "Virginia old-timer," but my "good old days" are not the 1930s or even the first half of the '40s. I'd also love to know who the "141 Virginias from all walks of life" are and if I do indeed "probably know many of them."
What I'd really like to see is a search-inside-the-book-feature so I can see how well-written (or not) this high-priced book is.
But I don't think I'll be buying this book unless a copy turns up at a used book sale for $1. Then it might occupy a spot on my coffee table