There’s a feature on J.P. Donleavy in the New York Times Style Magazine. He’s apparently still living it up in “Grey Gardens-style splendor” on an estate outside of Dublin. We are lucky enough, here at Bibliohead, to have a true first edition of his, The Ginger Man. The article touches upon the legal battles that surrounded the publication of his most well-known work, and which makes a true first somewhat rare.
We Second That Emotion! Of course books have always been cool to us…
Alice Munro retired from writing and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2013. This prolific and consistently brilliant writer couldn’t have been a better recipient of the prestigious award. Haven’t read her work? Do yourself a favor and pick up any of her many collections and introduce yourself to one of the finest writers in the English language. She is a master of the short story. We often have used copies of her work, and we are now carrying a new copy of her last work, Dear Life, but if you know you’re a fan already, we have a beautiful and very affordable first edition of her fantastic, The Progress of Love. Come in and check it out.
If you’re like me, you’ve watched The Ruling Class over and over again, in mourning of the late great Peter O’Toole. I prefer Peter O’Toole doing his best crazy English Aristocrat doing his best Jesus. A little more humor and a little less colonialism please. Well if you were interested in what the man himself thought about his life and career, we have his Loitering with Intent, signed by O’Toole himself.
Well, the holidays are over, which means it’s time to reward yourself for making it through another season; get that present for yourself. So, after taking a photo of yourself wearing that hideous sweater grandma got for you so you can prove what grateful person you are, and after returning it, take that sweater cash down to Bibliohead and check out some of our beautiful books. Despite some brisk business over the holidays we still have many great titles, collectible and plain enjoyable. Here’s a photo of some of the great collectible books we recently acquired.
Some specific posts on individual works (with better picture) are forthcoming, including those two dark, imposing tomes on the top left of the above picture. It is a collection of etchings by British landscape painter, J.M.W. Turner. Happy New Year!
Not too long ago, a beautiful book came into our possession here at Bibliohead. Before considering the estimable content, the simple beauty of the book itself deserves mention. The simplicity is, I think, perfect.
As noted critic, Cleanth Brooks writes, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying “constitutes a triumph in the management of tone.” The novel chronicles the Bundrens’ arduous journey into town to bury their mother, Addie. They are committed, against convention, nature and their own personal histories, to honor her dying wish, and maybe get some new dentures at the same time. Faulkner’s novel, narrated by 15 characters, challenges the reader to accept heroic actions alongside the comic and grotesque, for a truly rewarding experience. The book’s publication in 1930 helped further establish William Faulkner as one of the great writers, and as a master, along with James Joyce and few others, of the stream-of-consciousness style that has influenced so many later writers.
This is a true first edition, first state, with the dropped letter I on page 11. This copy does have a fair amount of wear on the exterior spine hinge and crown, but otherwise the book is in nice shape. The first state of As I Lay Dying is extremely rare. Only 750 copies were printed before the presses were stopped to make the correction to the dropped letter. This book came to us without a dust jacket, but is now nicely dressed in a custom made facsimile of the original dust jacket.
This is a very special book, but if the collectible isn’t for you, we also have a perfectly good paperback reprint along with a number of Faulkner’s other books. Read the book before before the movie and Tim Blake Nelson and James Franco invade your mind’s eye.
One of the great, forgotten American road novels, The Gay-Cat: The Story of a Road-Kid and his Dog, is a wonderful example of how a somewhat heavy handed use of vernacular can make a book seem quite different when that vernacular falls into disuse. “A Gay-cat,” according to the book, which thankfully gives a definition a few pages in, is “the scorn of hoboes. He is a fake hobo. He lacks altogether the qualities of a blown-in-the-glass stiff. He will “peach” on his mates.” It goes on in similar fashion, though “peach” could perhaps use a definition.
The book is filled with hard talking hobos, using all sorts of slang. It feels at times a little stilted but then, I am no expert on hobo slang of the early twentieth century, so who knows. I think maybe a dog that the “Road-kid” meets early on is later named Gay-cat, though that seems a little mean given the definition. Either way, the book is filled with great moments of historical interest. A previous owner has written, in pencil, on the front free end-paper a sort of reference page that gives a glimpse of both an unfortunate use of racial epithets among all the other slang, and a concern with labor issues. The first reference labor issues is on page 70 and concerns the importation of cheap labor for work as laborers on a farm, and a fairly astute criticism of the practice. Pages 192-194 concern the I.W.W., while pages 284-286 concern Japanese farm laborers in California. The road-kid is from Grass Valley, a small mining town here in California, not far from San Francisco, and the book takes place largely in California.
You can come down to the store and check out this and other wonderful titles, or you can find it online, through Abe Books, here.
We here at Bibliohead do not shy away from discussing elevated matters. Whether it be the history of Airships or this beautiful, affecting book of postcards, The Kif Smoker in Morocco, we seek to treat such matters with the utmost levity.
All punning aside, The Kif Smoker in Morocco is truly a beautiful set of photos, excerpted from The Book of Kif. It resists both an exoticizing orientalism and crass glorification of Marijuana for it’s own sake, and instead focuses on the everyday-ness of kif smoking in Morocco. Featuring reserved, loving portraits of farmers, fishermen, artisans and others.
The booklet also includes a small paragraph indicating the situation resulting in each photograph. We are given the names and brief histories of the subjects, and a narrative of how each subject came to be photographed. A wonderful reminiscence by a friend of the photographer, Peter One, can be found here.
If this topic interests you, we also have a number of books by the wonderful Mohammed Mrabet, whose simultaneously humorous and insightful tales, translated by Paul Bowles, offer a wonderful portrait of Morocco. We also have a great collection of the work of Paul Bowles.
We also have a great counter culture and drugs section if it is the Kif rather than Morocco that piques your interest. Come on down and check us out!
In addition to our previously mentioned William S. Burroughs collection, we here at Bibliohead have a unique collection of another beat writer: Harold Norse. Norse was born in New York City in 1919, hanging out W.H. Auden, getting praise from William Carlos Williams and writing a cut up novel, Beat Hotel, while living in Paris with Burroughs et al, before finally landing in San Francisco where he would spend the last 35 years of his life. Many of these are signed, but the prices range. We have tons of other great poetry as well–including in our one-of-a-kind “gumball” machine.