Remembering the Life and Works of Nadine Gordimer

August 4th, 2014

Nadine GordimerNadine Gordimer was a famous South African writer and political activist, using her talents to help shed light on moral and racial issues. She was known for her involvement in HIV/AIDS causes as well as the anti-apartheid movement. She was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991.

Nadine Gordimer was born outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1923. Her parents were both immigrants from outside of South Africa and Gordimer experienced repression from the government from an early age. At age 25, Gordimer moved to Johannesburg where she began taking classes and writing. Her first publication Face to Face was a collection of several of her early stories. Gordimer first became recognized and brought to the mainstream when her story “A Watcher of the Dead” was accepted into the New Yorker.

Nadine Gordimer, A World of Strangers, First Edition, Signed, Rare Book

Nadine Gordimer’s A World of Strangers
Signed First Edition

Gordimer became active in politics and the anti-apartheid movement in 1960. She is even known to have edited Nelson Mandela’s “I Am Prepared to Die” speech. Her work in anti-apartheid led the South African government to ban two of her books for over a decade. The Late Bourgeois World , and A World of Strangers were both banned for their political themes. We have two first editions of Gordimer’s second novel that are both signed by the author on the title page. You can view them here.

In 1974, Gordimer wrote The Conservationist, which went on to win the Booker Prize. We have an excellent first edition of this novel which is signed by the author on the title page.

In 1979, Gordiner wrote the novel Burger’s Daughter. This famous novel follows a group of white anti-apartheid activists in South Africa, seeking to overthrow the South African government. This book was also banned in South Africa for a period of time. We carry two first editions of Burger’s Daughter, both signed by the author on the title page. You can view them here.

Gordimer died peacefully at age 90 on Monday, July 14th, 2014. Her legacy, body of work, and support of causes in South Africa will never be forgotten.

We also have first editions of My Son’s Story, On The Mines, Echoes of an Autobiography. View all of Nadine Gordimer’s works that we carry here.

 

Henry Fielding and The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

July 7th, 2014
Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, rare book, First Edition, Owned by Theodore Roosevelt

Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
First Edition, Once Owned by Theodore Roosevelt, has his bookplates in each volume

Henry Fielding, born in Sharpham, England, was an English novelist that was famous for his dry humor and satirical writing style. His novel The History of Tom Jones, a Founling is his most famous work and what Fielding is truly remembered for, over 250 years after his death.

Fielding’s literary career did not start until he moved to London in 1728. He started writing plays and was quite harsh in his depiction of the government at the time, stirring up controversy in London. It is said that the Theatrical Act of 1737 was in direct response to one of his plays. After this Act was passed, there could not be any more political satire in the theatre and Fielding lost his job. He then became a lawyer to support his family.

Throughout this time, Fielding continued to publish his political writings under a pseudonym. In 1746, he anonymously published the story The Female Husband, a fictional account of a transvestite conning another woman into marriage.

Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, rare book, First Edition, First printing run

Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
First Edition, One of a first printing run of only 2,000 copies

In 1749, Henry Fielding published the novel that would make him famous, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. This novel is said to be one of the first English prose works to be named a ‘novel,’ and is a large piece of work divided into 18 smaller books.

This comedic novel follows the main character Tom Jones, an abandoned child, who is found by a wealthy member of English society. Tom falls in love with a girl from a higher class and their romance is forbidden, making for both a controversial story and a comment on social norms at the time. The book touched on matters that had rarely been written about publicly until its time, including prostitution and graphic sexual themes.

Tom Jones was made into several movies and even adapted three times into an Opera. John Allen Stevenson writes this of Tom

Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, rare book, First Edition, Owned by Theodore Roosevelt

Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
First Edition, Once Owned by Theodore Roosevelt, has his bookplates in each volu

Jones, from The Real History of Tom Jones:

“Such was the demand that all 2,500 copies in print had already been sold by the date announced for its official publication, a phenomenon that one observer believed to be ‘an unheard-of case.’ Tom Jones quickly sold 10,000 copies, making it one of the great best-sellers of its time; it has never since been out of print.”

We have a rare First Edition of Tom Jones that once belonged to Theodore Roosevelt and still has his “Qui plantavit curabit” bookplate in each of the 18 volumes. We also have a rare First Edition of Tom Jones that was one of a first printing run of only 2,000 copies with errata leaf in Volume I, the errata uncorrected, and all cancels and final blanks, K12 in Volume I and R12 in Volume IIU (Rothschild 850). This edition is finely bound in full crushed morocco by Bayntun, with red and black morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, raised bands, blind-stamped inner dentelles. A very nice set of first editions, finely bound by Bayntun.

To view all of our works by Henry Fielding, click here.

Have you read Tom Jones? Please tell us your experience with this novel in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.

Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, rare book, First Edition, First printing run

Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
First Edition, One of a first printing run of only 2,000 copies

 

Author Spotlight – Cormac McCarthy

June 23rd, 2014
Cormac McCarthy's On the Road, Rare, Signed First Edition

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
Signed First Edition

Cormac McCarthy has become a household name for his various novels that have won him a Pulitzer Prize, landed on the New York Times bestseller list, and been turned into blockbuster films. The now 80-year-old writer lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and is still somewhat of an enigma in the literary world.

McCarthy was born in Rhode Island, but moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, when he was very little. He attended the University of Tennessee, although never graduated, and married a woman he met there. They had a child and divorced shortly after. He published his first novel, The Orchard Keeper, in 1965 when he was 32 years old. We have a first edition of McCarthy’s first book The Orchard Keeper that is signed by him. After traveling for an entire summer in 1965 and meeting his second wife, McCarthy returned to the United States and wrote his second novel, Outer Dark. This novel was published in 1968. We have a rare first edition of Outer Dark that is inscribed by Cormac McCarthy.

In 1969 McCarthy and his new wife moved to Tennessee where McCarthy went on to write Child of God, which was published in 1973.  We carry a first edition of Child of God that is signed by McCarthy. In 1979 his novel Suttree was published, followed by Blood Meridian in 1985. Blood Meridian is now considered to be one of the greatest novels of all time and was met with great praise. We carry a 25th Anniversary edition of the author’s fifth novel, which is signed by Cormac McCarthy.

Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, Rare, Signed First Edition

Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men
Signed First Edition

Up until this point, McCarthy’s novels had been received with positive reviews, but he had not become a household name. This changed in 1992 when All the Pretty Horses was published, which won several awards. We have a first edition of All the Pretty Horses that is inscribed by Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy’s book No Country for Old Men was then published in 2005 and adapted for film by the Coen brothers, winning four Academy Awards and dozens of other awards around the world. We have a first edition of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men that is signed by him.

McCarthy went on to publish The Road, which has been called “the most readable of [McCarthy’s] works, and consistently brilliant in its imagining of the posthumous condition of nature and civilization” (The New York Times Book Review). This book won McCarthy the Pulitzer Prize and has become one of his most famous works. Oprah Winfrey chose The Road as her April 2007 selection for her book club and conducted McCarthy’s first television interview in 2007.

McCarthy has been reported to be working on three new novels while he resides in Providence, Rhode Island. To view all of our rare books by Cormac McCarthy, click here.

Author Spotlight – Roald Dahl

June 16th, 2014

Roald DahlRoald Dahl has touched the lives of many children with his imaginative, somewhat dark and funny stories. The British novelist is a household name and a brilliant storyteller, writing some of the most famous children’s books throughout the world.

Dahl was born in 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales. He experienced great tragedy as a small child – his sister and father died within weeks of each other when Dahl was only three years old. Dahl spent most of his childhood at boarding schools in England and spent the holidays with his mother in Wales. Dahl writes about his mostly happy childhood in his memoir Boy: Tales of Childhood.

Dahl took a job with Shell Petroleum Company after his schooling and traveled the world. During World War II, Dahl served as Lieutenant in a special force for the Colonial Army. After being injured in battle, Dahl was sent home and eventually stationed at the British Embassy in Washington DC.

His first publish book was The Gremlins, which was published in 1943. This book was received with great praise and even Eleanor Roosevelt read it to her children. Dahl went on to write some of the most famous children’s books of all time, many of which became popular movies.

Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, First Edition, Inscribed, Rare Book

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
First Edition, Inscribed by Roald Dahl

We carry a first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was inscribed by Roald Dahl in the year of publication. It is in an excellent dust jacket that shows some light wear to the foot of the spine. The publication date was September 1964 and the first printing run consisted of 10,000 copies and sold out within four weeks. This copy was signed within a month of publication. It is an exceptional and rare copy of this beloved novel. Click here to learn more.

We also have a first edition of James of the Giant Peach, which was inscribed by Roald Dahl in the year of publication. It is in fine condition in the original dust jacket, only showing some wear to the foot of the spine and a few small, closed tears. It is a rare and wonderful copy to add to your collection. Click here to learn more.

Dahl wrote many other famous books, including Matilda, The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Witches, and more. He passed away in 1990 at the age of 74. Since his death there have been many museums and ceremonies to honor both his books and his life.

Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, First Edition, Inscribed, Rare Book

Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach
First Edition, Inscribed by Roald Dahl

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

June 10th, 2014
The Dalai Lama of Tibet's My Land and My People, Rare Signed First Edition

The Dalai Lama of Tibet’s My Land and My People,
Rare Signed First Edition

Still deciding what to get the father in your life for Father’s Day? A rare book is a collectable he will cherish for a lifetime and remember you by every time he opens it.  We have a variety of rare, unique books that are perfect for any father.

If your father loves golf, we have a variety of rare, first editions written by famous golf legends including Jack Nicklaus, Bernard Darwin, Bobby Jones, and more. He’ll not only enjoy reading the book, but also keep it as a collectible and add it to his library. You can view all of our books about golf here.

Does your father have a favorite President or public figure? We have a great collection of biographies and autobiographies, including a signed first edition of Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father. We also have Jimmy Carter’s Keeping Faith, Calvin Coolidge’s The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, a rare, signed first edition of The Dalai Lama of Tibet’s My Land and My People, and many more. You can view all of our biographies and autobiographies here.

Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Rare First Edition in Rare Original Dust Jacket

Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises,
Rare First Edition in Rare Original Dust Jacket

If you want to add something heartfelt and unique to your father’s library, try picking out a book of poetry that means a lot to you. When he reads the poems, he’ll keep you in mind and cherish this book forever. View all of our books of poetry here.

If you know your father’s favorite author, browse our selection by author name and find rare, first editions of famous works by J.D. Salinger, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens and more. Browse all of our titles by author here.

Whether you are looking for a specific title for your father or want to find something you think he’d really enjoy because of his interests, we are sure to have the book for you. We also offer free gift wrapping and priority shipping and can get your book to you by the next morning if necessary.

Remembering Maya Angelou

May 29th, 2014

Maya AngelouWith Maya Angelou’s recent passing, we thought we would commemorate the amazing author, poet and role model by writing a bit about her life and works.

Angelou was born in 1928 in Missouri, the child of working-class parents who divorced shortly after she was born. When Angelou was eight, she was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend. She told her family what had happened and this man was murdered, sending Angelou into a state of depression and disconnect from the world around her. She credits a teacher for helping her to reconnect herself to the world. She says that the teacher introduced her to famous literature and also many female black artists, which would help to shape her life and career.

Maya Angelou, First Edition of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Signed, Rare Edition

First Edition of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Signed by Maya Angelou

As a young woman, Angelou performed in several plays and become involved with the civil rights movement. Maya Angelou’s first book, an autobiography titled I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is her most well known title and chronicles the first few years of her life. This book received critical acclaim and was on the New York Time’s Bestseller List for two years. The amazing and inspirational book has been banned from several schools due to its graphic content. We have a first edition of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that is signed by Angelou. In her life, Angelou wrote a total of seven autobiographies, making her one of the first famous African American writers to write more than two volumes.

Angelou, a greatly respected figure in society, was given several spectacular opportunities to recite her poetry at historical events. She read On the Pulse of Morning at the inauguration of Bill Clinton on January 20th, 1993. We have several first editions of On the Pulse of Morning. Angelou was also invited to read her poem A Brave and Startling Truth at the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. We have a first edition of A Brave and Startling Truth.

First Edition of Letter to My Daughter, Signed by Maya Angelou, Rare Book

First Edition of A Letter to my Daughter
Signed by Maya Angelou

An excerpt from A Brave and Startling Truth:

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet

Traveling through casual space

Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns

To a destination where all signs tell us

It is possible and imperative that we learn

A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it

To the day of peacemaking

When we release our fingers

From fists of hostility

And allow the pure air to cool our palms

First Edition of On the Pulse of Morning, signed by Maya Angelou, rare

First Edition of On the Pulse of Morning
Signed by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou published her final book, her seventh autobiography titled Mom & Me & Mom in 2013, at the age of 85. This book details her relationship with her mother. We have a first edition of Mom & Me & Mom that is signed by Maya Angelou.

Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014, at her home in Winston-Salem North Carolina. She will be missed greatly by all who were privileged enough to be touched by her works of literature and inspirational way of living life.

To view our entire selection of rare works by Maya Angelou, click here.

William Shakespeare: The Second Folio

May 28th, 2014
Rare Second Shakespeare Folio, Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot And Are To Be Sold At His Shop, in 1632.

Rare Second Shakespeare Folio, also known as Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot And Are To Be Sold At His Shop, in 1632.

We carry a rare Second Shakespeare Folio, also known as Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Besides being extremely excited about having this unique book and piece of history, we wanted to share exactly what the Second Folio is and why it is so important.

The Second Shakespeare Folio is essentially the second edition of the First Folio, published nine years after the first in 1632. Besides being the second edition, there are several other distinct differences between the First and Second Folios. People closely connected to those who published the First Folio published the Second Folio. The First Folio had the same title page for all copies of its edition. The Second Folio has each member’s name on a separate title page with information on the purchasers and location of each shop it was sold in.  Our version states, “London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot And Are To Be Sold At His Shop, in 1632.” It is one of an estimated 200 copies still in existence today.

The Second Folio was also the first place an English Poem of John Milton’s appeared in print, An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramaticke, which was written in 1630. It is thought that the publisher, Thomas Cotes, added this poem to the backside of the title page because John Milton was the son of a successful clerk whose shop was very close to Cotes’ printing shop.

Scholars have noted that the Second Folio contains many new typographical errors from the First Folio, but also corrects many errors that can be found in the first edition. It is important to note that both King Charles I and II owned a copy of the Second Folio. King Charles I edition is now a part of the library at Windsor Castle and King Charles II edition is in the British Museum.

To learn more about our copy of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, also known as the Second Shakespeare Folio, click here. To view all of our works by Shakespeare, including Midsummer-Night’s Dream and the first quarto edition of Shakespeare’s works, click here.

Midsummer-Night's Dream, William Shakespeare, Rare, Signed by Arthur Rackham

William Shakespeare’s Midsummer-Night’s Dream One of 1,000 copies; Signed by Arthur Rackham.

 

 

All About Golf

May 13th, 2014
Jack Nicklaus, 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score, Rare, First Edition

Jack Nicklaus’ 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score 
Signed first edition.

With the spring weather greening up the grass and Father’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d highlight several of our favorite rare, first edition books all about golf.

The name Jack Nicklaus is synonymous with golf and it’s no surprise that he has written a variety of books about the game. My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score is an instructional book that teaches readers the basics of improving their golf game, from tips on improving their swings to critical tips on playing the course. We have several signed, first edition copies of this classic book. In Take a Tip from Me, Nicklaus gives clear advice on various golf swings and explains his technique and philosophy of that swing. We also have a signed, first edition of Nicklaus’ Play Better Golf: An Illustrated Guide to Lower Scores. If you’re looking for books memorializing Nicklaus’ playing, try My Most Memorable Shots in the Majors or On & Off the Fairway: A Pictorial Autobiography. To view all of our rare, first edition books by Jack Nicklaus, click here.

A History of Golf in Britain, Rare, First Edition, Signed

A History of Golf in Britain
Rare, signed first edition.

A History of Golf in Britain is a collection of essays from several English writers who were trying to create a definitive history of the game of golf in Great Britain. Bernard Darwin, a famous English Writer and grandson of Charles Darwin, was the general editor of the project and also contributed several essays to the book. One of the most popular books for the golf enthusiast, we have a rare, first edition that is signed by Bernard Darwin on the front free endpaper.

Bernard Darwin, Playing the Like, Rare, First Edition, Signed

Bernard Darwin’s Playing the Like
Rare, signed first edition.

Bernard Darwin, one of the contributers to A History of Golf in Britain, was one of the best English golf writers and published several other books about the sport. Playing the Like is a book of stories, reflections and anecdotes on golf. A must-have for any golf lover, we have a first edition that is signed by the author on the front free endpaper. Our copy of Playing the Like is in excellent condition.

We have several other books about golf that are worthy to note. Golf Is My Game, a book by record-breaking golf player Bobby Jones, is a favorite. We have a first edition copy of this book that is inscribed the author.
Winning Golf by Byron Nelson is an insight into the legendary player’s career and talents in the game of golf. We have a first edition that is inscribed by Byron Nelson on the front endpage.

Whether you are a golf enthusiast or have a loved one who enjoys playing the game, a first edition of any of these historic books is sure to be treasured and kept forever. To view all of our books about golf, click here.

Bobby Jones, Golf is my Game, Rare, Signed, First Edition

Bobby Jones’ Golf Is My Game Rare, signed first edition.

Dick Francis: The Thrill of Horse Racing

May 1st, 2014

Dick FrancisWith the Kentucky Derby just days away, we are getting in the horse racing mood and being rare book enthusiasts, can’t help but think of Dick Francis and his body of work.

Francis, who grew up in Berkshire, England, was a professional jockey and won over 350 races in his accomplished career. He was first jockey to several powerful figures in the English horseracing society. While racing Queen Elizabeth’s horse “Devon Loch” in the 1656 Grand National Race, Francis lost due to the horse falling unexpectedly at the end of the race.

Dick Francis, Complete Set of Novels, First Edition, Signed by the Author

Dick Francis, Complete Set of Novels, First Edition, Signed by the Author

After sustaining an abundance of hard falls and injuries as a jockey, Francis retired and started to write about the pastime that had become his life – horse racing. His first book, The Sport of Queens, was an autobiography and met with much success. After The Sport of Queens came out, Francis became the racing correspondent for a large London newspaper.

Several years after his autobiography was published, Francis published his first fiction novel, Dead Cert. This thriller followed the story of a jockey that should have won a race, but instead was murdered by another jockey. Dead Cert was turned into a film in 1974, starring Scott Antony and Judi Dench.

After the hit of Dead Cert, Dick Francis was hooked on writing thriller novels based around horse racing. He often collaborated with his wife, Margaret Brenchley, crediting her with doing much of the research for his novels. In his long writing career, Francis wrote more than 40 international best-selling novels, all based around horse racing and the characters within that society. Several of his books were made into movies and his character Sid Halley, from five of Francis’ novels, was featured in TV movies.

Francis’ novels were not only best sellers and popular with readers in both England and the United States, but also the recipients of several prestigious awards. In 1999, Dick Francis was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

We have a rare and unique complete set of first edition Dick Francis’ novels, each one signed by the author. This complete set is in fine condition and in fine dust jackets. Whether you’re a horse racing enthusiast or just simply enjoy watching the Kentucky Derby every year, Dick Francis’ thrilling novels are sure to be a great read.

Dick Francis, Complete Set of Novels, First Edition, Signed by the Author

Dick Francis, Complete Set of Novels, First Edition, Signed by the Author

Rare Books, Wine, and Food: The Perfect Pairing

April 28th, 2014
Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking, First Edition, Signed First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking Signed by the Author

At Raptis Rare Books, we love to throw parties. This week we had a lovely blind wine tasting, along with a wine and book exchange. Like an aged Cabernet and high quality steak, books about wine and food go together seamlessly and are some of the most popular books to give as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or other special events. We have several rare books featuring delicious recipes and delightful wines.

Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking has become the most authoritative cookbook in America, a book that has been passed from generation to generation since its first publication in 1931. We have a first edition from 1931 as well as a first edition from the 1943 edition of the cookbook, which has been signed by Rombauer. Do you know someone graduating from culinary school or want to get your daughter a special gift she will carry with her forever? The Joy of Cooking is the perfect choice and remains a staple in home cooking even in the 21st century.

Another classic and authoritative name in home cooking is Julia Child. Her books The French Chef Cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and The Way to Cook have become household names and permanent fixtures on bookshelves throughout the United States.  We have Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2, which are inscribed by Julia Child and Simone Beck. Both copies are in excellent condition, in dust jackets that show only light wear. This an extremely rare find and the perfect addition to any chef’s collection. Our first edition of The French Chef Cookbook is also signed and inscribed by Julia Child and is in great condition. Our copy of The Way to Cook, which was Child’s second large compilation of recipes after Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is in great condition.

Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, First Edition, Signed First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 & 2, signed by Child and Beck.

Our collection of  rare cookbooks also includes a first edition of The New England Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook, which is signed by the illustrator and inscribed by the author. We also have a first edition of The Classic Italian Cookbook: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating that is signed by the author on the title page. Also from Marzella Hazan a first edition of More Classic Italian Cooking.

Pair any of these fine, unique cookbooks with our first edition of Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961 for a thoughtful gift for the food and wine enthusiast. Looking for a French-themed pair? Collect Mastering the Art of French Cooking with our first edition of The Noble Grapes and the Great Wines of France.

Whether you are a wine or food enthusiast, collecting rare and unique copies of classic cookbooks is a great way to commemorate your interest and also pass your love on to those around you.

Robert Parker, Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961, First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Robert Parker’s Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961

Food and books