Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2005 Issue

Publishing Promotions From Alexander Rare Books

R0612

String shows this catalogue was sewn by hand.


Item 50 is a 1975 special presentation issue of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime, "to the friends of the author and publisher." This issue is far scarcer than the first edition, which ran to 60,000 copies. This book would go on to reward its publisher's enthusiasm with enormous popularity. $65.

Item 20 is a 20 x 30 poster for the book I. Me. Mine. A poster was fitting for this author, since his image was seen on many posters in the days before he wrote this biography. The writer was George Harrison, known more for his musical than literary compositions. This poster with a large photograph of the former Beatle is item 13. $25.

Item 1 is an advance excerpt from the 1989 novel The Last Whales. This work by Canadian Lloyd Abbey is a love story about two whales after a nuclear winter. Alexander cautions, "Head and tail of spine bumped." We aren't sure whether this refers to the book or the whales. $12.

Item 95 is a limited edition of the 1952 Archibald MacLeish play, The Trojan Horse. The play was originally produced for the BBC, rather than for sale. This was a political play during an unpleasant episode in American history. The preface states, "Americans as well as Trojans can make a monster for a god." While unstated, that monster was Senator Joseph McCarthy, who smeared MacLeish and many others before being discredited a few years later. $35.

For fans of "In the Heat of the Night," here is an uncommon item: The Upright Corpse. A Virgil Tibbs Story. This 29-page short story features the northern Black detective who had to overcome prejudice in the South, a role reprised by Sidney Poitier in the movie version of "In the Heat of the Night" and two follow-ups, and by Howard Rollins in a television series of the same name. This shorter Tibbs adventure was published for the Occidental Life Insurance Company in 1979, and it is the only printing of this John Ball story. Item 6. $40.

Item 131 is an advance copy of The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie. It comes in a two-piece promotional paper box, and is signed and numbered. This copy is number 199 of 1,000. Rushdie is the author who also became a major political symbol when some fanatics in Iran put a price on his head for an earlier work. "Moor's" was published in 1995. $85.

For John Updike collectors, here is a most unusual item, and it can travel faster than a speeding Rabbit. It is a package of three golf balls, imprinted with the title, Golf Dreams: Writings On Golf. This was a 1996 collection of Updike's essays on a topic about which he is fanatic. What makes this piece of ephemera especially desirable is that if it never achieves the collecting status of a first edition Rabbit Run, it still has a secondary use to which it can be put. Fore! Item 144. $35,

You may reach Alexander Rare Books by email at alexanderbooks@charter.net or by phone at 802-476-0838.

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