MODERN FIRST EDITIONS 1

 

 

LA BATARDE by VIOLETTE LEDUC (First American Edition)
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965. Stated first printing. With a forward by Simone de Beauvoir. Translated from the French by Derek Coltman. "The Book That Scorched France!" A revealing autobiography, notable for its early frank treatment of bisexuality. Some consider her "The Female Genet". She has also been called "France's Greatest Unknown Writer" (which I just don't get since this was a bestseller). This book is about more than her complex and agonizing love affairs, it's also about the process of finding her own voice and becoming a writer. Although insecure in many ways, Leduc managed to find a place in Paris' post-war literary scene and knew several famous French authors. She felt humiliated by the circumstances of her birth--she was born the illegitimate daughter of a servant girl, thus the title--and by her physical appearance. She overcame these obstacles and ended up an influential writer (and for some reason famous fashion designers kept giving her clothes!) An artful and fascinating confession.
CONDITION: Interior pages clean, crisp, and white, with no marks at all. Purple cloth cover in nice shape with a little shelf wear along top and bottom edges. Inside back cover has a few white spots where the purple cloth meets the black endpaper. Non-clipped dustjacket has great bright color. Just a bit of wear along the top and bottom of dj spine. One crease runs top to bottom along spine. A really nice looking book. $25

 
 

THE YEAR THE YANKEES LOST THE PENNANT by DOUGLAS WALLOP (Book Club Edition, 1954)
A beautiful copy of the book club hardcover version of THE YEAR THE YANKEES LOST THE PENNANT. This novel inspired the Broadway musical "Damn Yankees". The cover image is a knock-out: the devil holds a Yankees player up off the ground using a pitchfork. Artist is Willard Mullin. In the novel a man sells his soul to become the greatest outfielder of all time. If you are a Yankees fan, here is a way to support your favorite team through shopping. Go, Bronx Bombers!
CONDITION: Interior pages are crisp, white, and bright with tight binding. Yellow cloth cover has some bumping to top and bottom of spine edge. Dust jacket has great bright color. Bottom of spine of dj has slight damp stain. Some wear to edges, a few smudges. The back top left corner of dj has some staining and crinkling. $20

         
 

BARREL FEVER by DAVID SEDARIS (First American Edition)
Little, Brown and Company, 1994. Stated first edition. Lordy, is this guy ever funny. (And so is his sister, Amy, but I digress...) Sedaris' first book. Scarce. A collection of stories and essays by the hysterical humorist and NPR commentator. Many example of how odd people can be, even in the most typical suburban setting. Sedaris is one of America's most popular storytellers, despite the fact that he ran off to live in France. Includes "The Santaland Diaries"--which first ran in the freebie weekly The New York Press--one of his best pieces, in my opinion; I mean, what could be more amusing than a horny department store elf?
CONDITION: Great condition. Interior is like new. So is cloth cover. Non-clipped dustjacket has just the slightest bumping along the cover and spine top edge. I bought this when it came out, read it carefully, and it has been on a shelf ever since. $40

         
 

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by BETTY SMITH (Book Club Edition)
Everybody's Vacation Publishing, 1943. Distributed by The Literary Guild. Please pardon me for putting this in Modern Firsts. It is not a first edition, but an interesting wartime Book Club Edition. Back cover has a photo of Betty Smith and an appeal to buy War Bonds. Lovely cover image. The classic American novel of a young girl's coming of age in a tough, but colorful, urban environment. Francie Nolan is our youthful heroine; she dreamily looks out her window at a tree struggling to reach the sky. Throughout her life, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive as well. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Trivia: Betty Smith was born in Williamsburg. More trivia: the tree in question is generally agreed to be an ailanthus, also known as Tree-of-Heaven or Stinking Sumac. As Betty says on the back cover flap, "Brooklyn is not a city. It is a faith." It's true! Just ask Marty Markowitz!
CONDITION: Interior pages are clean with no marks. Binding is tight. Green cloth cover has wear along top and bottom of spine and some bumping to corners. Dustjacket has substantial wear and pieces missing but retains the very attractive cover painting. $10 SOLD!

         
 

A CONSIDERABLE TOWN by MFK FISHER (First Edition)
Alfred A. Knopf, 1978. Stated first edition. MFK Fisher’s celebration of the French port city of Marseilles. Full Title is "A Considerable Town: Its glory and wickedness, past and present; its life, its legend, its mystery". Fisher celebrates the diversity and glory of this fascinating port city over the centuries and describes its unique cuisine. Endpapers decorated with maps of the port of Marseille. Fisher is one of today's leading writers about food and eating customs. And I bet she makes a mean fish stew. CONDITION: Price clipped dust jacket with some edge wear and one tear on front cover (visible in photo—it should flatten out in mylar jacket which is how I will ship it). Blue cloth cover has some patchy faded spots and a strip of fade across top edge. Interior is clean and crisp, white paper with tight binding. $12

         
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