Pride Parade Reads

Come up to Hayes Valley for a breather from all the action at Civic Center. We have lot’s of great books, including these two recent lambda award winners.


And don’t forget to check out our fundraising campaign!

Meetings with Remarkable Books: The Chakras


And here we have yet another in our installment:

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In his classic 1927 monograph THE CHAKRAS, C.W. Leadbeater (long-time associate of the Theosophical Society and founding bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church) collects and updates a series of earlier articles elaborating and synthesizing various eastern doctrines associated with the nadis and chakras. The author claims that his work is among the first published in the English language on the topic. Bibliohead Bookstore is proud to offer for sale a choice first edition of this pioneering work on yoga, replete with several color plates depicting the various energy centers. Published 1927 by the Theosophical Press, Chicago, cloth. Below are two of our favorite chakras.


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The Root Chakra

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The Spleen Chakra

Meetings with Remarkable Books: A Treatise on Cosmic Fire

Up next in our metaphysical series: A TREATISE ON COSMIC FIRE

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photo 2A TREATISE ON COSMIC FIRE by Alice A. Bailey is an expansive exploration of speculative physics, psychology and cosmology in a theosophical key (no less than 13 hundred pages!). In fact, the Anglo-American author dedicated the work to her revered teacher Helena Blavatsky, who (in)famously co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875.  First published in 1925, the work purports to have been dictated to the author telepathically from the mind of an ancient master of esoteric lore referred to as “The Tibetan.” Our well preserved copy is a second edition published in 1930,  by Lucis, New York. Highly collectable for lovers of magic, esotericism and metaphysics.

Meetings with Remarkable Books: The Science of Mind

We recently acquired a fantastic load of hard-to-find metaphysical books. We will be featuring some of them over the next few weeks, or until some lucky seeker comes in and buys them up. We are calling this series, Meetings with Remarkable Books, in homage to that mustachioed mystic, G.I. Gurdjieff. First up: The Science of Mind.

Science of Mind

THE SCIENCE OF MIND was written in 1926 by American author Ernest Shurtleff Holmes, well known as founder of the Religious Science movement. The present volume, heavily influenced by the writings of Thomas Troward (whose titles may also be found at Bibliohead) is a foundational text of the movement, a didactic work of practical spiritual instruction, indicating “the technique by which the seeker after truth may obtain freedom from the oppression of a mechanistic civilization.” Seekers-after-truth, BE WARY! Ours is a beautifully maintained copy from 1928 is from the third printing by McBride, New York.

Alice Munro

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.


Some Special Collectibles

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.


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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!


Come in

Curios: The Gay-Cat


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.

“Gaycat, someday when we get tired a bein boes, we’ll go home; back to grass valley and my ma.” Reads the caption.

“Gaycat, someday when we get tired a bein boes, we’ll go home; back to grass valley and my ma.” Reads the caption.

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.


Curios: Scouts in Bondage & How to Change Your Face

I promise it isn’t what you think. But what you’re thinking is why Scouts in Bondage is the cover image and borrowed title of this particular book. The full title might help make a little more sense of things: Scouts in Bondage, and Other Violations of Literary Propriety.

This amusing little survey presents a variety of books that one English bookseller named Michael Bell collected during his years in the business.  The titles range from how-to manuals to kids’ books. All of his specimens were published before World War II, and that’s the source of much of the mirth to be found here: most of these books suffer from the drift of slang, unintended double entendres, and the more prurient eye with which we read such once-innocent titles. Witness The Captain’s Bunk: A Story for Boys written by M. B. Manwell and published by the Religious Tract Society, or The Danger of Cruising, a book of poems by Charles Sutton published in 1937.

But there are also tiles which are simply, unaccountably odd, like How to Recognise Leprosy, A Popular Guide.

How to Recognise Leprosy (from Scouts in Bondage)

Anyone in bookselling for long enough will come across such odd titles. The introduction to Bell’s selection explains that he put these titles in the window of his shop to attract amused attention, and thus, I would imagine, foot traffic. We use our windows for more thematic displays, but since Bell’s shop window isn’t too far off from our Curios selection, I thought I would make a contribution of our own.

And without further ado, this is How To Change Your Face, by Edward Laidrich. It contains “a course divided into 14 lessons for the scientific study of character and emotional habits represented by each separate facial feature.” It seems to be a guide to a sort of phrenology of the face. The back page’s quick-reference diagram of the whole face explains that the upper lip is expressive of “sexual vitality,” for instance.

How to Change Your FaceSince these are the type of books better seen than described, I’ll let you come by and explore for yourself.  Stop by and ferret out some amusing curios of your own in our antiquarian sections.

Curios is a periodic series about an interesting used book; rare or common, expensive or cheap, we hope it’s a book you didn’t know you were looking for.

Curios: What You’re Going to Do Tonight

Tomorrow morning you’re going to trip and fall into a wormhole that drops you into the evening gala for the New Orleans Opera Association at the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium. Since you’re a dot-com billionaire hipster who wears nothing but vintage tuxes all day, every day—and aren’t you glad of it now!—no one’s giving you funny looks when you, looking very, very confused, stumble out from behind a large fern beside the punch table. Lots of people look very confused at opera galas, after all.

“But wait,” you say to yourself, being the New Orleans history buff that you are, “this Auditorium’s been closed since Hurricane Katrina flooded it in 2005,” as you hear the gentle sound of Frank Sinatra singing “Moon River” drift from the radio and a couple dances by you, and you realize that a couple just danced by you to Frank Sinatra and—holy moly it’s 1964.

The 1964 Social Register of New Orleans

Luckily you spent tonight perusing the 1964 Social Register of New Orleans at Bibliohead Bookstore, all the way across the country in San Francisco, so you’re well-prepared to face this crowd on such a pleasant—uh…morning? evening?  Either way, you know where just about every single person in this room went to high shool and college and what social clubs they currently belong to. You even read the entire index of women listed by their maiden names, so you can pretend to ask how your old classmate from the University of Baltimore, Emily Feth is, and then correct yourself, “I mean Emily Hibler, of course! Silly me. I went to her wedding!” Luckily you also have a photographic memory.

Isn’t it great to be you?


Curios is a periodic series about an interesting used book; rare or common, expensive or cheap, we hope it’s a book you didn’t know you were looking for.