Ducking out of the freak rainstorm yesterday on West End, I stumbled upon an intriguing new bookstore hidden off West End at the 440 junction, in the same condo/retail complex as the excellent Woodlands vegetarian-Indian buffet. Not even a life-size stand of Dubya in the front window could scare me away from Nashville Autographs & Rare Books, a store devoted to signed editions and celebrity memorabilia.
The owner, Tim Miller, started his collecting with the proceeds from just one book, a signed first edition of John Grisham's The Firm
. So says his sister Dana, who led me through room after blindingly well-lit room of tidily organized volumes: leather-bound, signed editions of Kurt Vonnegut's novels; an ancient pressing of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes
; autographed memoirs by everyone from Spike Lee to Regis Philbin alongside two copies of Bob Dylan's obscure novel Tarantula
But the bookstore's passion is presidential lore. Miller's imprint, FlatSigned Press
, published the last work by former President Gerald Ford: a signed, leather-bound edition of the Warren Commission Report with a Ford introduction. (FlatSigned's other books include Randall Wallace's Braveheart
screenplay and tomes by former astronaut Buzz Aldrin.) Their earliest holding, Dana says, is an authenticated five-word memo from George Washington; a case near the entrance holds a pair of Revolutionary War-era British magazines next to what looks like one of Charlie Daniels' fiddles. Somewhere nearby, no doubt, lies the evidence that can clear Nicolas Cage's great-great-grandfather of the Lincoln assassination.
In other words, here's the place to shop this Valentine's Day for the loved one who collects, say, the signatures of every First Lady since Bess Truman. Good thing Dana says the store will have its grand opening on Presidents' Day. Will G. Gordon Liddy be there? We can only hope. But the invitation has been offered, and Dana says other authors will likely stop by for signings.
Tempting though it is, I'll pass on the jacketless copy of The Sun Also Rises
signed by Hemingway—a steal at $10,000—or a signed To Kill a Mockingbird
roughly the price of a Lexus. That goes also for the Adam West signature and the autographed photo of Alabama, which run, er, somewhat less. But don't let me stop you. Nashville Autographs & Rare Books is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 3415 West End.