I spent yesterday afternoon at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

They had first editions from everyone from William Gibson to Isaac Newton, proofs and manuscripts from Neal Stephenson and Ludwig Wittgenstein, 17th century books on witchcraft with binding that did not appear to be from livestock, and Turing’s programming manual for the Ferranti Mark 1. But the books I saw the most copies of at different booths were firsts of The Monkey Wrench Gang and Grapes of Wrath.

Antiquarian Book Fair, Monkey Wrench Gang

Many of the sellers were from London or Paris. So I find myself imagining a shadowy cabal of Parisian antiquarians, realizing that they have a show in San Francisco coming up and wondering what the Americans will buy. “J’ai trouvĂ©!” one of them declares. “Ed Abbey and Steinbeck. They won’t be able to resist.”