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Subject line will read: The Traven of the Sierra Madre
Subject line will read:  The Traven of the Sierra Madre
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Printed Page Bookshop
Cool books, Warm people                                                                December 2015
Save 10% on all books at our holiday open house Sat., December 5

Drop by anytime Saturday, December 5 for yummy snacks and drinks. And, if you mention this newsletter, we'll give you 10% off your entire purchase.

This month's puzzler

On November 26, 1922, this man was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Growing up in the family of a St. Paul barber and his wife, he took to drawing early, most often choosing his dog Spike as a subject.

He was a shy and socially awkward teenager when he got to Central High School, but found solace in his artwork.  Years later, he said that one of his great disappointments was having his drawings rejected by the editor of the high school yearbook.  (That hurt would be remedied 60 years later when a five-foot statue of one of his most popular creations was erected at the school.)

After graduating from high school in 1940, he studied cartooning by correspondence while working in a number of odd jobs.  After serving in WWII, he returned home, began working at that same art scool and started drawing cartoons for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

In 1950, he created a syndicated comic strip that went on to achieve international fame.  At the height of its popularity, it was published daily in more than 2,500 newspapers in 75 countries.  The largely autobiographical strip contained numerous philosophical musings from the mind of its creator.  Many were delightfully oxymoronic, including the signature line:  "I love mankind, it's people I can't stand." 

Who was this man?  What was the title of the strip?  (Answers below)

Holiday hours

Printed Page will close at 2 pm December 24 and will be closed December 25.  We will also be closed at 2 pm on December 31 and be closed January 1.

A well-known author 
whom no one really knew
Who was B. Traven?
He wrote 13 novels that have sold 25 million copies in 30 languages, yet he is among the most shadowy figures in the history of literature. He is probably best known in the English-speaking world for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," a novel which was made famous in part because of the 1948 John Huston film. (A first edition of the book goes for about $5,000.) Traven's politically charged novels of life among oppressed Indians, peasants and oil workers are required reading in Mexican schools. Experts regard him as the best foreign-born writer ever to write about Mexico.  But where he was born is just the beginning of the mystery of B. Traven.
He may have been born in Germany sometime around 1890.  Literary detectives long suspected that he wrote under the name of Ret Marut, a revolutionary who escaped police custody and emigrated to America.  He may also have been Traven Torsvan, whose Mexican passport stated that he was born in Chicago.  Under the name of Marut, he told authorities that he was born in San Francisco, where (conveniently) birth records were lost in the 1906 earthquake. Another theory, sometimes referred to approvingly by Traven himself, was that he was actually the illegitimate son of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Or maybe he was none of the above and was actually Hal Croves, the taciturn agent of Traven's who served as technical advisor on "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."
What we know for sure was that Traven always insisted that his life story was irrelevant and would distract readers from his works.  One biographer said that he courted obscurity as another might court fame and notoriety, courted oblivion with an almost pathological intensity.  He made reclusive J.D. Salinger look like one of the Kardashians.
The irrelevance of anyone's formal identity, in the form of documents like birth certificates and passports, is a major theme of "The Death Ship," which many critics regard as the finest of Traven's novels.  An account of the adventures of an American sailor stranded in Europe without papers or money, the book mocks state bureaucracies and their insistence on documents, a practice Traven also brought to his own life. Credentials mattered little to Traven, or as he wrote in "Treasure of the Sierra Madre," "I don't have to show you any stinking badges!"
Traven died March 26, 1969.  His will gave his name as Traven Torsvan Croves.  So is that who he was?  Maybe even Traven didn't know.
Sources:  The New York Times, University of California Davis.

It took us 40 years to learn
what you'll learn in four hours

Our winter session of the Printed Page College of Biblio Knowledge starts January 12, but we're been preparing for it for decades.  We've distilled everything we've learned about books and book-collecting from other booksellers, collectors, books, magazines and classes and packaged all of that knowledge into four sessions.  Whether you're a reader, collector or aspiring bookseller, you'll find a lot of value in our classes.
Here's what you'll learn:  How to identify first editions and to understand the differences between states, issues and to identify book club to use the variety of bibliographies and why they are indispensible for collectors...resources collectors and booksellers use to understand the complexity of books...the physical characteristics of books and how to protect them...what goes into conservation and restoration...what you can and can't do on your own...the economics of book collecting...where to find books for your collection and how best to buy them, whether through dealers, auctions or to build a collection -- plus answers to all of your book-related questions.
Classes begin at 7 pm and last about an hour each.  The classes will be on January 12 and 26 and February 9 and 23 at Printed Page Bookshop.
Reserve your spot now, because class size is limited.  Send a check  for $40 (or call us with a credit card) to:  Printed Page Bookshop, 1416 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80210.  Be sure to include your email and phone number.

Puzzler answer:  Charles Schulz.  "Peanuts"

Thanks to Dr. Mardy Grothe for the use of his puzzler.  Visit him at
Give us a call at 303.777.7653 today!
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