Rediscovered: An Otto and Ellroy

Autograph Hound Super-Sunday opens with Kevin Cook refining his terms, and letting us know he’s got even worse autos than the one from Kent Harrington he was talking about yesterday:

With Kent’s autograph, what I meant to express was that it was the worst autograph ever given to me in a book that I personally asked to have signed — not the worst autograph that I possess. Here’s another piss-poor one from James Ellroy. I wish that I had remembered this one from The Best American Noir of the Century when you were discussing Ellroy’s “signature” the other week. The difference between his effort and that of co-editor Otto Penzler is night and day.

Ellroy’s is a terrible effort, but he did not sign the book for me. His autograph was already in the book when I bought it.

When my office in Manhattan was a couple of blocks away from The Mysterious Bookshop I could bring books there to be signed by authors who came in for readings, talks — or just to sign. Those included Michael Connolly, George Pelecanos, Don Winslow, T. Jefferson Parker and others.

I got Pelecanos to smile and give a little laugh when I told him that I loved the title Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go — because I said it out loud inside The Mysterious Bookshop and Otto absolutely hated the title.

Kent Harrington’s autograph ranks even or perhaps just ahead of Pelecanos. Even when we had a great talk together at The Mysterious Bookshop he still provided me with the sloppy “GPl” autograph in the books I asked him to sign. You can probably see for yourself what I am referring to if you have copies of the Dennis McMillan books that he signed.

Whatever the case, at least I can say that I have “signed” copies of all the early Pelecanos books.

By the way, I suppose most of the sloppy autographs are probably a result of the writers just having lousy handwriting. Only some popular authors such as Michael Connolly deliberately shorten and simplify their autographs because of the shear volume of books that they are asked to sign.    

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