Thursday, December 8, 2016


baldwin just above my head.jpg

To celebrate his 92nd birthday, Henry Bemis Books offers one of African-American author James Baldwin’s works, in an advance copy:

James Baldwin, Just Above My Head (Dial Press, 1st printing, 1979). Paperback advance reading copy of Baldwin’s novel about two Harlem brothers- one a gay gospel singer- and the woman they both love. Baldwin won a six-figure paperback deal, a Literary Guild advance selection, a $50,000 promotional campaign, and promos on “Today” and “20/20.” Includes publisher’s letter to booksellers. Good condition. HBB price: $25.

Blyth, R.H., Zen In English Literature and Oriental Classics (Tokyo: The Hokuseido Press, 1st ed., 1942). A vegetarian and World War I conscientious objector imprisoned for his beliefs, Reginald Howard Blyth (1898-1964) emigrated to Korea as a college professor of English in 1925. He studied zen, learned Chinese and Japanese, and, after divorcing his English wife and marrying a Japanese one, moved to Japan in 1936. There he taught, and wrote a series of books on zen and haiku. Though interned by the Japanese for the war, Blyth emerged as liaison between the Imperial Household and General MacArthur’s occupation staff, and became tutor to the current emperor, Akihito. Blyth had a major influence on Western thought about zen and haiku, especially among the Beat writers of the 1950s. Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics was his most popular book; in this wartime, English-language version it is quite rare, and rarer still with a very good dust jacket as HBB’s copy sports. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. 5.25” x 7.25”. HBB price: $175.



Graves, Robert, The Antigua Stamp (Seizin Press/Random House, 1st U.S. edition, 1937). Two children: the boy grows up to be a novelist; the girl, an actor-manager of a theater company. They both feud over the Antigua stamp, a rare object in their collection. A sardonic romp by the author of I, Claudius.

Octavo, 325 pp. Hardcover, good condition; wear to the dust jacket, and some small tears are taped but, happily, not yellowed or noticeable. The U.S. 1st is more scarce than the U.K. 1st. HBB price: $50 obo.


McMurtry, Larry, Horseman, Pass By (Texas A&M Press, 1st ed., 1985). ISBN 0-89096-241-3. First in the Press’s Southwest Landmarks series. 5.75” x 6.5”. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition, 179 pp. When it was published in 1961, this novel marked a sharp new direction in Western fiction, and was made into the equally memorable Paul Newman film, Hud (1963). HBB price: $35.

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