Books for sale

#1137 First editions of Anne of Green Gables books are rare and usually command prices of 200-400 dollars. This book is in fair condition, cosmetically although it is readable to be sure. It is the seventh book in the Anne of Green Gables series. Anne Shirley has now been married to Gilbert Blythe for 15 years, and the couple have six children: Jem, Walter, Nan, Di, Shirley, and Rilla.

#1124 First Canadian edition A Son of His Father Harold Bell Wright. Wright was a very popular writer in his time and in fact the most successful from Pilgrim times to the the first quarter of the 20th century. He was a preacher in the Mid-Western United States but left this vocation to work on his writing. By the time this book was published in 1925, Wright was living in Tucson, Arizona. A film was made of this book. Despite the fantastic commercial success, his books did not receive the praise of critics.  

In 1946, Irvin Harlow Hart wrote, “Harold Bell Wright supplied more negative data on the literary quality of the taste of the fiction reading public than any other author. No critic has ever damned Wright with even the faintest praise.” The 20th century went on to produce more pulp fiction derided by critics that sold very well to people who lapped it up. This was just the most successful person to do that at the beginning of the century.

The book does not have a dust jacket and is in good condition otherwise.

#1125 Sir Peter Alexander von Ustinov CBE FRSA was an English actor, filmmaker and writer. This book, the Loser is a wartime romance which follows a young Nazi officer who meets an Italian prostitute and discovers, for the first time, his own humanity. This is his first novel. It is the book club edition coming two years after it was first published. The book is in very good condition with dust jacket.

#1126 Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943) is considered the father of Canadian poetry. He attended UNB, was a professor at King’s College, Nova Scotia, served in WWI and was knighted in 1935. This was his first commercial adult novel (1896). First published in 1896, this novel blends daring, romance and history into a thrilling adventure that takes place in the years leading up to the 1755 expulsion of the Acadians.

Jean de Mer, an “Acadian Ranger,” is the unofficial seigneur of lands around Minas Basin. After three years’ absence he returns to find his son Marc in trouble with a French partisan leader—the Black Abbé. Taken captive, Marc is to be tried as a spy. Father and son make a quick escape, and wish to expose the priest’s treachery. When Marc is wounded, Jean sets out on a perilous canoe journey with a young English woman to rescue her child from the Black Abbé.

#1127 This old edition of Robert Service poems has many classic including the Cremation of Sam McGee. It has a dust jacket which is worn as pictured but is in generally good used condition.

#1128 Autobiography of a famous colourful character in Canadian medical history. The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen sent Grenfell to Newfoundland in 1892 to improve the plight of coastal inhabitants and fishermen. That mission began in earnest in 1892 when he recruited two nurses and two doctors for hospitals at Indian Harbour, Newfoundland and later opened cottage hospitals along the coast of Labrador. The mission expanded greatly from its initial mandate to one of developing schools, an orphanage, cooperatives, industrial work projects, and social work.

Although founded to serve the local area, the mission developed to include the aboriginal peoples and settlers along the coasts of Labrador and the eastern side of the Great Northern Peninsula of northern Newfoundland. One of the children Grenfell assisted was an Inuit girl, Kirkina, for whom he helped secure artificial limbs and later the Grenfell Mission educated her in nursing and midwifery. Grenfell’s home is a museum in St. Anthony. A Newfoundland stamp was produced in his honour. He inspired characters in a book Luke of Labrador (also available for sale here). The book is in very good condition with dust jacket.

#1130 Some marking on the back cover. this book is inspired by the Story of Sir William Grenfell (above post). A very well received book that is still in print more than 100 years later. a doctor travels to Labrador to help the impoverished get medical care but finds his mission broadens significantly.

#1129 Earle Alfred Birney OC FRSC (13 May 1904 – 3 September 1995) was a Canadian poet and novelist, who twice won the Governor General’s Award, Canada’s top literary honour, for his poetry. In 1946, Birney began teaching at the University of British Columbia, “where he founded and directed the first Canadian creative writing program.” His work led to the establishment of Canada’s first Department of Creative Writing at UBC.

During the conflict, he served as a personnel officer in the Canadian Army an experience that he used in his 1949 novel, Turvey, a saga of one hapless soldier’s struggle to get to ‘the sharp end’ of the fighting in the Netherlands and Germany during 1944–45. The character of Turvey is a fascinating melange of country boy innocent, common sense utilitarian and town fool, and seems to have been fashioned as a foil to the eccentrically pseudo-sophisticated Canadian military life as illustrated in the novel. The book has been described as “uproariously ribald”, winning the Stephen Leacock Medal for HumourTurvey was a hit in Canada, selling 30,000 copies. The book is in fair to good condition without dust jacket.

#1131 Early editions of this book are in high demand with some copies going for hundreds of dollars. This book is without dust jacket but in otherwise good condition. The Razor’s Edge is a 1944 novel by W. Somerset Maugham.

It tells the story of Larry Darrell, an American pilot traumatized by his experiences in World War I, who sets off in search of some transcendent meaning in his life. The story begins through the eyes of Larry’s friends and acquaintances as they witness his personality change after the war. His rejection of conventional life and search for meaningful experience allows him to thrive while the more materialistic characters suffer reversals of fortune. the movie has inspired a couple movies including one in 1984 with Bill Murray.

#1132 This copy of Farley Mowat’s West Viking is not only a first edition in good condition, and autographed, but it is autographed and dated with a personal message. But there’s more! It is autographed to Eleanor Strayer (Born Eleanor D. Wesley) saying Farley will fight a duel for her with Barry, his friend, in jest of course.

Barry Strayer is himself a famous person to put it mildly. He is the legal authority behind Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the 1982 Patriation of the Constitution. Barry Strayer is an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1968, the year this book was dedicated, Barry Strayer published a Judicial Review of Legislation in Canada. It is described this way:

“This book is a systematic study of constitutional legislation in Canada in relation to constitutional development. In deciding whether legislation in the Canadian courts is constitutionally valid or invalid, the author discusses the history, theory, special problems, and rules relating to the function of the courts.”

Strayer was the force behind Constitutional developments in Canada over the next couple decades. In 2008 a book by him looking back at this period and the thoughts of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on the subject of the Constitution was described as follows:

“The Hon. Barry L. Strayer was instrumental in designing Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the 1982 repatriation of the Constitution. In Canada’s Constitutional Revolution, the retired federal court judge recalls his involvement as a legal adviser during the period of constitutional reform from 1960 to ’82.”
— Quill & Quire

#1133 In his first novel to follow the publication of his enormous success, The Grapes of WrathSteinbeck’s vision comes to life in this imaginative and unsentimental chronicle of a bus traveling California’s back roads, transporting the lost and the lonely, the good and the greedy, the stupid and the scheming, the beautiful and the vicious away from their shattered dreams and, possibly, toward the promise of the future. The book has a dustjacket which is worn around the edges but is otherwise in good condition. First Edition, 1947.

#1366 A. J. Cronin, was a Scottish physician and novelist. Robert trains to be a doctor at the fictional Levenford Infirmary (Levenford is loosely based on Dumbarton), and falls in love with Jean Law, a young medical student belonging to the Plymouth Brethren who rejects him when she discovers that he has deceived her about his history and religion (he is a Roman Catholic).

He develops an interest in a disease contracted from infected cows’ milk, and devotes his spare time to researching it: it turns out to be brucellosis. Dr. Shannon contracts a nervous breakdown when he completes the project only to find that someone else has anticipated his results, and is nursed by and marries Jean. This is a first edition without dust jacket in good condition.

#1238 This is a rare book by the author of Winnie the Pooh. Milne was a veteran of the First World War and become a pacifist. This book challenges people to look at war as the horrible thing that it is. You can feel his anger and read his biting sarcasm. The book is as pictured – with a dust jacket that has seen better days but otherwise good. There is some foxing and tanning on the front and back boards as many copies of this book have for some reason. The book includes a preface to the first American edition and is published before the Second World War.

#1237 The classic novel by Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Great inside and some damage to the spine as pictured.

#1236 Fiction writer, Huxley in a series of essays ponders variety of questions like the future, technology, the confusion between knowledge and understanding, the difficult art of being charitable, music and popular taste.

#1235 Strickland is a well-off, middle-class stockbroker in London, sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century. Early in the novel, he leaves his wife and children and goes to Paris. He lives a destitute but defiantly content life there as a painter, lodging in run-down hotels and falling prey to both illness and hunger. He is helped and supported by a commercially successful but hackneyed Dutch painter, Dirk Stroeve, coincidentally, also an old friend of the narrator, who recognizes Strickland’s genius as a painter. This book is missing its dust jacket but is a well-known first edition from over 100 years ago.

#1234 This book sold 2.5 million copies in the first 18 months from the first edition. This printing is in the first 6% of that. The book tells the story of Paul Bäumer, who belongs to a group of German soldiers on the Western Front during World War I. The patriotic speeches of his teacher Kantorek had led the whole class to volunteer for military service shortly after the start of World War I. He didn’t have any experience when going into the war but he still went in with an open mind and a kind heart. The book details the life of a soldier and for many people told the stories the soldiers often did not want to tell themselves.

#1233 This is Wouk’s novel that really brought him recognition. In this book he delivers a real critique of the radio advertising world. while it is published in 1947, its themes remain fresh. Enjoy this first edition with dust jacket. The jacket is worn and torn in places but the book is in good condition for its age.

#1232 “Written in response to the positive public reaction to his previous novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the book explores the unglamorous nature of espionage and the danger of nostalgia. The book tells the story of an incompetent British intelligence agency known as The Department and its multiple botched attempts to verify a Communist defector’s story of a Soviet missile buildup in East Germany.” This quote comes from a good summary from Wicki. This first edition is in very good condition with dust jacket.

#1361 This angry book published in German prior to Hitler taking over called for war and the use of bacteriological weapons to expand German territories. It advocated German aggression. Banse’s book was published in 1934 in English (this edition) as a warning. The British publisher urged the British government to pay attention to the dangerous rhetoric coming out of Germany. They did not do so until 1940.

You can read this as a historical warning that was not heeded. There are warnings today that need to be heeded this time…. You may also note that Banse used his geography degree to make many arguments outside his expertise. We are in a time when people are using their degrees in one subject to claim authority in another. Warning from the past… Note: I will not sell this to anyone I identify as a Fascist or white supremacist. If you are concerned about my efforts to determine who you are then please pass on this book. Thank you.

#1362 “We” is an autobiography of Charles Lindbergh related to the events leading up to his solo transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis. It was published in 1927. This is the first edition. After Lindbergh returned from being the first to make the solo flight, a ghost written book was quickly prepared. He rejected it and produced this. The aviator did that in just three weeks of isolation. This is part of history. A great gift for anyone who loves history or flying.

#1365 Journalist and author, John Gunther wrote about 35 books. This one is of his personal experience as a war correspondent on D-Day. In this book he brings detail about the flights and planes, people. It was written for the people of the time but it is a wonderful historical account for any who are interested in WW2 history.

#1364 This is a memoir written by a war correspondent of the grueling battle in the pacific. It became a famous movie in the 1960s. This is the First Edition.

Books coming soon

I have many books including signed Canadian first edition books up to modern colourful coffee table books. Please check back soon as I will be posting some of these shortly. Coming soon are signed early Canadian books among others. I will also post some reference or coffee table books that are newer in lots.

Additional resources about older books can be found here at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the American Library Association. You will see an interesting discussion about what makes a book rare, what makes it valuable and how to consider condition. There is also a good discussion about storage.