The Underground Books Holiday Gift Guide

If you’re having trouble finding the perfect gifts this holiday season, Underground Books is here to help! We hope you enjoy these selections from UndergroundBooks.Net, and if you’re local, remember we carry litographs, Out of Print t-shirts, Frostbeard Studio candles, and our own vintage book journals in the shop.

For The Christmas Caroler

What do you get the Elf-watching, hall-decking, mistletoe hanging Christmas fanatic in your life? A few suggestions: a first printing of beloved children’s classic and Christmas staple The Polar Express would be perfect, a first printing of W. Somerset Maugham’s political, prostitute-starring novel Christmas Holiday would certainly be an interesting choice, or maybe Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales, nostalgic, magical, and illustrated in woodcuts by Ellen Raskin.

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For The Daydreamer

For the one whose head is past the clouds and into other worlds, perhaps a handsome leather bound edition or a lovely vintage copy of a children’s, fantasy, or science fiction classic would delight.

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For The Adventurer

For the globetrotting, spelunking, geocaching explorer who’s charmed by a little wear and tear, why not a 1912 romp through China or a wild journey with the infamous Bampfylde-Moore Carew, rogue, vagabond, impostor, and self-proclaimed King of the Beggars? Maybe a “topsy-turvy” exploration of Himalyan Tibet, a “tramps opera” by the original supertramp himself, a voyage with Captain James Cook, a trip through the West with Thomas Wolfe, or a tour of travels, myths, and legends in the New World?

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For The Raconteur

For the yarn-spinner, we have a dragon’s hoard of fairy tales, folktales, songs, myths, and legends from Bengal, medieval England, pre-Columbian America, ancient Scotland, Kashmir, Russia, and more.

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For The Stargazer

Whether their pursuit is that of the stars, the solar system, or extraterrestrial life, we’ve got you covered with a 1944 illustrated primer with a fold-out diagram, a 1973 NASA publication on Project Cyclops, and this stunningly bound 1934 exploration of the “cosmic cycle.”

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For The English Major

If you want to please a lover of literature, you can’t go wrong with the classics, whether illustrated, scholarly, or beautifully bound. No matter which you choose, the leather bound copy of Fahrenheit 451, the Arthur Rackham illustrated edition of Tales from Shakespeare, the first book club edition of The Catcher in the Rye in custom clamshell box, these limited editions of Candide and Moby Dick, these annotated editions of Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens, these first editions of The Jungle and Native Son, or this 1931 edition of The Red Badge of Courage from the Grabhorn Press, you’re sure to get an A+ in gift-giving and an eloquent thank you letter in your mailbox.

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For The Cowboy

For the John Wayne in your life with the shelf of worn and creased Zane Grey paperbacks, we have a first edition Ernest Haycox, a handsome leatherbound account of British sportsmen in the West, an extensive survey of percussion Colt firearms, and a signed, first edition Glenn Shirley, because “there are some things a man just can’t run away from,” and one of those is a good gift.

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For The Connoisseur

Fine bindings, with their rich leather, elaborate gilt tooling, and stunning marbled paper, are indubitably on the list of the finer things in life. Whichever catches your eye, Mrs. Andrew Lang’s The Strange Story Book, the Tamerlane Edition of The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, Disraeli’s Venetia, the first edition of Anecdotes, Observations, and Characters, of Books and Men in full polished calf, the Edition de Luxe set of The New Century Shakespeare, or the Rubaiyat illustrated in color by Edmund Dulac, each of these beautiful bindings is veritable shelf candy and certain to please even the most discerning aesthete.

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For The Film Buff

The film was excellent (but we all know the book was better). We’re pleased to present… this first edition of The Brick Foxhole, basis for the 1947 noir film Crossfire starring Robert Mitchum, Strangers May Kiss, inspiration for the pre-code dramatic film starring Norma Shearer, this signed, first edition of Bright Leaf, basis for the 1950 film starring Gary Cooper and Lauren Bacall, this first American edition of Seven Years in Tibet, and this first edition of Grand Hotel, the source of the 1932 film starring Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, and Joan Crawford.

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For The Psychedelic

For some far-out reads for far-out minds, we suggest this memoir by folk singer Richard Farina introduced by Joan Baez, this special edition of Pentagram containing Israel Regardie’s “Roll Away the Stone: An Introduction of Aleister Crowley’s Essays on the Psychology of Hashish,” and this signed copy of Alex Grey’s The Mission of Art.

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For The Chef

Your cook deserves more than a kiss, so here are a few books sure to spice things up: a 1917 collection of recipes enlivened by the narrative of newlyweds Bettina and Bob, Family Favorites from the Kitchen of Castle Dreadful, and a guide to making some well-deserved honey wine.

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For The Special Someone

Whether they go by sweetheart, lover, beloved, beau, or bae, we’ve got you covered. For the romantic, consider this sumptuously bound collection of wild ancient Greek romances, complete with imperiled lovers, pirates, nymphs, raiders, bandits, and the great god Pan. For the wild one, you can’t go wrong with a private reading of Leonore Kandel’s infamous little pamphlet of erotic poems responsible for, at its time, the longest running obscenity trial in San Francisco. For the ruler of your heart, this 1929 copy of The Private Life of Louis XIV is sure to charm. And, if those don’t do it, there’s always Strange de Jim’s Metasexual Exercises. 

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