Saturday, March 20, 2010

Notable new books the last two weeks: 03/07-03/20

The Soul of the New Machine, by Tracy Kidder
Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1981. First Edition, signed by the author. Winner of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize.

Meat Market, by Erik Marcus
Ithaca, NY: Brio Press, 2005. Limited Advance Printing, signed and inscribed by the author.

Textile League Baseball: South Carolina's Mill Teams, 1880-1955, by Thomas K.
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1993.

The Luck of the Bodkins, by P.G. Wodehouse
Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1936. First American Edition.

Postcards from the Edge, by Carrie Fisher
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987. First Edition.

Featured Book: Dopefiend: The Story of A Black Junkie, by Donald Goines

Donald Goines made a name for himself by writing gritty and hard-hitting stories of addiction, violence, and poverty; he was one of the first African-American writers of urban fiction. Dopefiend was his first book. A prolific author, he wrote another fifteen books before his death less than four years after Dopefiend's publication. (He died, it should be noted, by the gun; he and his wife were gunned down in either a drug deal gone wrong or in retaliation for his portrayal of neighborhood criminals; his murderers remain unidentified.)

Goines' influence is strong, and not just among the latest generation of urban writers. Musical artists from Tupac Shakur to Ludicris have referenced him in their work, and his novels have been made into movies and even a graphic novel.

The seventies were a golden age of pulp fiction, and most authors produced one or two works before fading into obscurity. Dopefiend, as Goines' first novel, reflects that expectation: the binding and paper quality was not made to last, making it all the more difficult to find in acceptable condition, and this edition was not preceded by a hardcover as much popular fiction is today. Though a common-looking mass market paperback, this is the true first edition of a groundbreaking work.

Our copy is in phenomenal shape, with only some edgewear and rubbing, a crease to the spine, and the usual tanning of the pages. The binding is tight and square and the text unmarked, with no tears or major creases beyond the noted one on the spine. An excellent addition to the collector's library, or the perfect beginning of one. As always, offered at a discount for blog readers who buy through PayPal.

More photos on Flickr

Dopefiend, by Donald Goines
Los Angeles: Holloway House, 1971.
First Edition

Friday, March 12, 2010

Featured Book: The Summer Is Magic, by Joan Howard

The Summer is Magic is a sequel, following The Thirteenth is Magic. Inexplicably, considering how highly-sought both titles are, they have never been reprinted. So they suffer from what I think of as children's-book syndrome: as the population that remembers a particular title from their childhood comes into their own and finds themselves with both money and nostalgia for their youth, they snatch up every copy of a great read that comes onto the market. And the value skyrockets. Though it might be frustrating for the reader trying to pass on to a new generation the joy they remember, they can take some comfort in the knowledge that the books are a phenomenal investment.

The Thirteenth is Magic follows two children who, after befriending a black cat, learn of a mysterious thirteenth floor in their apartment building that can only be reached on the 13th of the month. The Summer is Magic follows the same children as they head to their aunt's country home near the coast; once there, the cat disappears, and the story takes off from there.

Most copies on the market are ex-library, which makes them far less valuable as collectibles. Our copy is NOT ex-library. The interior of the book is unmarked, save for a couple faint fingerprints on the page edges, some acid transfer from the dustjacket to the endpapers, and a crayon mark on the pastedown. Pages are minimally tanned. There are a couple faint fingerprints on the front board and the corners lightly bumped. Mild shelfwear. Boards otherwise clean. Dustjacket has some chipping and creasing to edges and the head and tail of spine have open tears (see photos). Some foxing to jacket and a crayon mark on the back of DJ. It's a great copy for the reader or collector and would make a phenomenal gift.

More photos on Flickr

The Summer is Magic, by Joan Howard
First Edition
New York: Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard, 1952.

$185.99, domestic shipping included

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Books 2/28-3/06

New listings this week include two copies of the first edition of my favorite book, a facsimile of the first edition of a close second favorite, several spiritually-themed books signed by the author, and a significant work in the post-Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos canon.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. First edition

On the Way to Immortality and Eternal Life, by J. Reuben Clark
Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1949. First edition, signed by the author

Clock of Dreams, by Brian Lumley
Buffalo, NY: W. Paul Ganley, 1994. First hardcover edition

Deep River: The Complete Poems of Archibald Rutledge

Columbia, SC: R.L. Bryan, 1960. First Edition, twice signed by the author

For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

Shelton, Connecticut: First Edition Library, 1987. Replica of the first edition

The Treasury of David, by C. H. Spurgeon (ed.)
Lynchburg, VA: The Old Time Gospel Hour, 1984. 2 vols. Signed by Jerry Falwell

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Featured Book: A Half-Century of Type Design and Typography, 1895-1945, by Frederic W. Goudy

Two volumes, in slipcaseAs one might expect, some of the most artful books are those produced by professional bookmakers and designers working in the field; oftentimes these books have very limited print runs and are intended primarily for friends and associates.

Frederic Goudy, a luminary of twentieth-century graphic design and typography, had a number of such books made during his lifetime. Perhaps the most desirable is his two-volume set A Half-Century of Type Design and Typography, 1895-1945, featured here, published by the prestigious Typophile Chap Book Series (volumes one and two comprising issues XIII and XIV in the series). As stated in the colophon, only 825 copies were printed: 100 were for contributors and 300 were for subscribers to the series, leaving only 425 for sale.

The books are gorgeously made, with obvious care taken in everything from the texture of the paper to the quality of ink. The bulk of both volumes is given over to examples of various type designs along with the story of their genesis and noteworthy applications. A useful index at the beginning of volume 1 lists the types designed by Goudy and their respective page numbers; his body of work includes such well-known names as Goudy Old Style, Venezia Italic, and Deepdene.

Author inscription on front free endpaperMost copies of the history were inscribed; our copy was given to Veronica, a "friend of the author," and is dated Christmas 1946, the year of publication (and a year before his death). Goudy was kind enough to note that the gift was presented at Deepdene, Goudy's estate in Marlboro-on-Hudson, NY, named after the street in Queens from which he ran Village Press for many years.

The books themselves are nearly pristine, with sharp corners, bright text, supple pages, and completely intact gilt titles. The front free endpapers of both volumes are signed by the previous owner (see photo), a prominent Baltimore doctor, who also made notes on the rear free endpaper of volume one, regarding highlights of the text. The slipcase shows wear and is splitting at the joints in several places, but it it still holding square. The original wrap, a delicate paper, is no longer present. Overall it's a beautiful set, suitable for the collector or practicing designer/typographer. If you purchase through PayPal below, you can have this rare piece of history for just $175.99, with shipping included.

Both volumes have covers embossed with the Typophiles logo

A Half-Century of Type Design and Typography, by Frederic W. Goudy
First Edition (limited to 825 copies)
New York: Typophiles Chap Books. 2 vols.

$175, shipping included