Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Bodhisattva of the Book: William Dailey

by Stephen J. Gertz

With a note of sadness, Booktryst is otherwise pleased to announce its latest publication, A Bodhisattva of the Book: William Dailey, a memorial to the Southern California bookman who tragically died in December 2017.

Featuring heartfelt contributions by John Burnham, Michael R. Thompson, Pom Harrington, Ari Grossman, Peter Háy, John Martin, Barry Humphries, Bruce Whiteman, Bettina Hubby, Peter Kraus, Johan Kugelberg, myself, and others, the book celebrates the consummate rare and antiquarian bookseller who was a mentor to many, a friend to many more, and whose book shop in Los Angeles was the hip Mecca on Melrose for bibliophiles.

A Bodhisattva of the Book: William Dailey. McMinnville: Booktryst, 2019. Octavo (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.). 69, (1) pp. Color photo-illustrated wrappers. $25.


Friday, January 25, 2019

John R. Payne Reviews Catalogue 1: Rara Eros

by John R. Payne

John Payne’s most recent book is Great Catalogues by Master Booksellers, published in 2018.  He is also the bibliographer of the English ornithologist and novelist, W. H. Hudson.  John collaborated with the book collector, Adrian Goldstone, to compile a bibliographical catalogue of his collection of works by and about John Steinbeck that was published by The Harry Ransom Center in 1974. I am honored by his kind words -SJG.

First Catalogues
 First catalogues by booksellers are always cause for celebration.

“There is never anything elusive about a dealer’s catalogue,” wrote Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern.  “If it is a good one it will be its maker’s earthly representative and hopefully remembered.  A catalogue is a dealer’s showcase.  In it he displays his wares, parades his knowledge, offers his expertise.  His first catalogue is extremely significant.  He has made his public début before a critical group of connoisseurs.  This, his first catalogue, occasionally becomes his hallmark, stamping him as a specialist in Western Americana, medieval arts and letters, or modern firsts.”

Stephen Gertz’s Catalogue One: Rara Eros 16th-20th centuries is a sensitive, thoughtful, and bibliographically carefully described selection of 16th through 20th century imprints. Each title is illustrated in color, some with multiple illustrations. Prices range from $100 to $4,500.  At the lower end is Claire Willows’ Modern Slaves: A Profound Study of the Forces of Destiny ….  With ten full page illustrations.  New York: issued Privately for Collectors by The Gargoyle Press, no date (1931).  Limited edition of 1,350 copies.  $100

Books illustrated by Mahlon Blaine are priced $400 to $3,000, the later price being for a copy of Venus Sardonica. 50 Extravaganzas …  New York: (Jacob Brussel), 1929 (1938).  Limited edition of 160 copies numbered and signed by Blaine.  This is considered by Blaine and critics to be his finest work.

The least expensive item in the catalogue is Issue No. 1 of Exotica.  New York: Selbee Associates [Leonard Burtman], n.d. (1960), Second Series in large format of Leonard Burtman’s classic fetish magazine published subsequent to Exotique.  (Catalogue item 25).  $35

Mr. Gertz gained his expertise with rare books the hard way: by working with other well-established booksellers, first from 1999 to 2007 with Bill Dailey, as head cataloguer and later as manager of his shop.  After Bill closed his shop in 2007, Stephen worked for David Brass, as head cataloguer and later as Executive Director of David Brass Rare Books.  He now describes his experience as running the gamut from incunabula through 20th century vintage paperbacks.

“My interests as a collector have always been erotica and drug literature, which I bring to bear as a seller.  But one cannot live on sex and drugs alone—too risky in real life, too narrow to depend upon as a bookseller.  So, while those are primary specialties, I will be offering, as the subscript to Booktryst states, ‘interesting and curious rare and antiquarian books, etc.’ I have an eye for the unusual, provocative, and controversial. My uncle, famed Chicago First Amendment and civil liberties attorney, Elmer Gertz, won Tropic of Cancer’s first victory in the U. S. in 1962.  I must carry on the family tradition!”

You can access Rara Eros here.

Catalogue 1: Rara Eros 16th-20th centuries

by Stephen J. Gertz

Booktryst is pleased to announce Catalogue 1: Rara Eros 16th-20th centuries.

Featuring 60 items, including books and prints, it is illustrated with over 82 images, the majority in full color. The catalogue was designed by Poltroon Press in Berkeley, CA.

Within you will see many scarce and obscure books that have not been seen in decades if not longer, artist proofs, and titlepages and illustrations published for the first time outside of the books themselves.

You may view the catalogue as a double-page spread PDF (recommended) here.

If you prefer a single-page PDF you can view it here.

It pains me that given the current cultural climate I must offer a trigger warning: sexually explicit imagery (by respected artists mostly working anonymously or under pseudonym) is present within the catalogue. So, gird your loins, take a tip from Dante and "abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

A print version is available in a strictly limited edition of 50 copies only. It is 11 x 8 1/2 in. 32 pp. on 70# matte Titan white, 82 color and black and white illustrations, permabound, full color cover on 10 pt C1S/white stock with matte layflat lamination. Because of the nature of the material, its scarcity, the rigorous descriptions, informative and engaging annotations, and exceptional design, this catalogue will become collectable.

Purchase a copy of Rara Eros in print for only $55.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Booktryst At Rare Books - LA

by Stephen J. Gertz

Booktryst makes its book fair debut at Rare Books Los Angeles, at the Pasadena Convention Center February 1-2, 2019.

With many scarcities not seen in decades if not longer, and a gathering of books and prints that will have your eyes popping out of their sockets, our Booth 704 will definitely arouse your interest and may be the most provocative of the weekend.

This is also Rare Books - LA's debut and I'm pleased to be a part of it, all the more so on my home turf and among friends in the Southern California trade and local collectors. Kudos to Brad and Jen Johnson for organizing the event

Please stop by and say hello. That is, of course, if you're not left speechless by what Booktryst has in store for you. I'll publish a partial preview tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Booktryst Returns With Booktryst Anew

by Stephen J. Gertz

Having recently emerged from a secret lair within British Columbia where I'd been hibernating with a sloth of grizzly bears that had adopted me, I bring news of Booktryst.  

Booktryst now sells books. 

Over the last 18-24 months I've been slowly transitioning Booktryst from blog to bookseller, remaining true to my tradition of doing things ass-backward. During this reorganization, I've been acquiring interesting and curious rare and antiquarian books, etc. (note  new subscript below our header), sending out miscellaneous lists  to a select few, growing sales, and carefully building the business toward a public debut.

That time is now. 

I'll be posting important news over the next few days, with a major announcement on Friday, so keep an eye out (you can put it back in afterward).

In the meantime, I'm so post-hibernation hungry I could eat a raw tarantula.

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