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Article: 2023 Holiday Gift Guides: Gifts for the Book Lover

20th Century Books

2023 Holiday Gift Guides: Gifts for the Book Lover

From first edition printings to photoplay, early childhood favorites to 20th Century modern classics, we've rounded up some of our favorite gifts for the book lover in your life. Presented in their original dust jackets or beautifully bound in gilt-stamped leather or marbled boards, these books will make stunning additions to any rare book collection.

“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, First US Edition, 1938

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, First US Edition, 1938

Consider gifting J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy masterpiece, The Hobbit or There and Back Again. This first US edition was published in 1938 and is presented here beautifully rebound in full green leather and gilt boards, with new marbled endpapers, and a custom archival slipcase.  Upon its first release, the novel was met with unwavering praise. C.S. Lewis called the book a “marvellous” classic-in-the-making, and the New York Times called it “freshly original and delightfully imaginative.” Following financial and critical success of this book, Tolkein was encouraged to write a sequel, The Lord of the Rings.

Vintage Brass and Green Marble Eagle Bookends

Vintage Brass and Green Marble Eagle Bookends

The unsung hero of the bookcase, no book collection is complete without a pair or two of beautiful bookends. These appealing vintage brass and green marble bookends date to the 20th century. The eagles appear to be in mid-flight, with widely spread and open wings that arch upwards. The realistic detail of the eagle is accentuated even more when light hits the reflective brass surface. A handsome vintage set- perfect for holiday gifting!

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, First Edition, in Original DJ, 1961

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, First Edition, in Original DJ, 1961

Consider this stunning first edition printing of Joseph Heller's Catch-22, presented here in its original dust jacket and boards and with a new (and giftable) clamshell case. Catch-22 was Heller’s first novel and his most acclaimed work. Set during World War II, the novel uses a unique, non-chronological third-person narration, mainly focusing on the life of a B-25 bombardier in the U.S. Army, Captain John Yossarian, and his attempts to avoid bombing runs. It became a publishing sensation thanks to the 1962 paperback edition, which set record sales and benefited from the national debate surrounding the Vietnam War. In the decades since, it has inspired a feature film, a miniseries, a 50-character stage play, and sold more than 10 million copies.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck, First Trade Edition, in Original DJ, 1952

East of Eden by John Steinbeck, First Trade Edition, in Original DJ, 1952

East of Eden is considered one of Steinbeck's most ambitious works and a classic of modern American literature. Steinbeck claimed the novel “has everything in it I have been able to learn about my art or craft or profession in all these years. I think everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this” (Salinas Public Library, 45). For lovers of modern literature, this first trade edition is presented with its original dust jacket and a new archival cloth slipcase. A beautiful book!

Vintage Remington Rand Typewriter, 1947

Vintage Remington Rand Typewriter, 1947

Perfect for the book lover who fashions themselves as a writer as well, this vintage Remington Rand Typewriter dates to 1947.  The typewriter is the portable De Luxe Model 5, issued in a sleek carrying case. Still functional, this classic design features a black crinkle finish, and a QWERTY keyboard. Included in the set of metal rimmed black keys are fun features like a shift key, shift lock key, self-starter key, marginal release, and a back space key. 

Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley, Photoplay Grosset & Dunlap Edition, 1931

Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley, Photoplay Grosset & Dunlap Edition, 1931

Presented is a photoplay edition of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece of horror, Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus. One of the most collectible Grosset & Dunlap photoplay editions, this book was published to accompany the 1931 Universal Pictures James Whale horror film starring Boris Karlof, Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boless, and Dwight Frye. It is illustrated throughout with scenes from that production. The book has been beautifully rebound in striking ¼ red leather and black cloth boards, with raised bands and gilt stamps and tiles to the spine. Perfect for fans of the movie or the book!

“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, First Edition, in Original DJ, 1951

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, First Edition, in Original DJ, 1951

This is a very collectible first edition, first issue printing of J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye. The book was published by Little, Brown and Company in Boston, on July 16, 1951. This book is presented in its original black cloth boards and original first issue dust jacket with $3.00 price on the front flap and with the Lotte Jacobi photo credit on Salinger’s portrait on the rear panel.  An immediate success upon its publication in 1951, and popular with readers since, the book has sold over 65 million copies. 

“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, First Edition, 1943

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, First Edition, 1943

The Fountainhead is Ayn Rand's best-selling and unforgettable celebration of the individual spirit. Perfect for holiday gifting, this book is beautifully rebound in stunning red half calf leather and marbled boards, with gilt tooling and titles to the spine, and the original dust jacket bound-in. This is an eye-catching first edition with tons of shelf appeal. 

Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll, First US Edition, 1872

Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll, First US Edition, 1872

Perfect for the budding book collector or just a child at heart, this is a first US edition of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Adept at word play, logic, and fantasy, Carroll’s tales about Alice are prime examples of the literary nonsense genre. Bending logic and emphasizing the peculiar, the book was beloved by children and adults alike, with readers such as Queen Victoria and Oscar Wilde among Carroll’s fan base. "Alice is, in a word, a book of that extremely rare kind which will belong to all the generations to come until the language becomes obsolete " (Carpenter & Prichard, 102).

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