When your literary idol sells the book you inscribed

Writer John McNally sent one of his literary heroes an inscribed copy of his first novel. In return he received a brief note of thanks. He might not have thought about it again, except:

Today, I ran across a listing for that very book on ABE: “Book Description: New York: Free Press, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Fine in a Fine dust jacket. First edition, first printing. Inscribed and signed by the author on the title page. A pristine copy with an interesting inscription: “For Ursula K. LeGuin, whose novel ‘The Lathe of Heaven’ made me decide to become a writer. With gratitude, John McNally, 5/04”. In a new mylar cover. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 10589″

She sold my damned book! I love how the inscription is described as “interesting,” as in “That’s an interesting T-shirt you’re wearing.” (BTW: If you want to buy this interesting gem of a book, it’s going for fifty bucks.)

McNally’s latest novel, America’s Report Card, is just out from Free Press. It’s garnered positive responses at The Washington Post, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The Elegant Variation.

He’s also the editor of When I Was A Loser, an anthology that will include the teenage loser essay — “Confessions of a Cradle Robber” — I was writing earlier this summer.


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