Are we there yet?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

He identified with the hero in Pioneer Sodbuster

Theme of the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair this year is Children's Literature: Pages of Wonder. In this video, Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of The Studio@620, discusses his favorite childhood books, Islands of the Dolphin and Pioneer Sodbuster, and why he enjoyed them. What's your favorite childhood book? Leave your comments below.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A lifetime of reading began with books on sports

Theme of this year's Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is Children's Literature: Pages of Wonder. In this video, Steve Bolter of Sleuth Books in Palm Coast, Florida, shares his childhood books. Steve will exhibit at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in March. What's your favorite childhood book and why?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Here's how to avoid waiting at the box office

Now you can buy tickets online at Eventbrite for the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. Tickets are $10 (plus a small service fee) for the Friday Night Preview and they are good for all weekend. You also can buy individual day tickets for Saturday or Sunday. They are $6 each (plus as small service fee). It is the convenience of already having your tickets with no need to wait in line at the box office. The time you save can be devoted to looking at all the wonderful books on display. And since you’re reading this, you can save a dollar on each ticket by entering the promotional code “saveabuck” (without the quotation marks). So buy your tickets today and have no waiting in the box office line.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

SRO for author Tim O'Brien at Writers in Paradise

The audience applauds author Tim O'Brien at the end of his reading.
It was standing room only Saturday as best-selling writer Tim O’Brien read from his phenomenal short story collection The Things They Carried (1990) on the opening night of Writers in Paradise. It’s always pleasing when there’s an enthusiastic response to literary events in town, so we were particularly delighted to see Miller Auditorium full of devoted readers. 

Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried
Host Dennis Lehane had the audience in stitches with his introduction as he recalled his first encounter with O’Brien many years ago when they were both appearing at a Boston bookstore for a book signing. O’Brien was the seasoned professional. Lehane was the awestruck newbie with his first book just coming out. Lehane considered the encounter a disaster. Fortunately, he said, O’Brien didn’t remember it.

The audience seemed spellbound as O’Brien read some of his short story How to Tell a True War Story in The Things They Carried, a fictional recounting of his experiences with a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War. The New York Times listed the critically acclaimed work as one of the 22 best books of the last quarter century. It received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and the National  Book Critics Circle Award.

Later, O’Brien entertained the audience as he talked informally about his work, readers, war and peace, and other topics with Lehane.

Host Dennis Lehane, conference co-director
O’Brien also wrote If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home (1973), Where Have you Gone, Charming Billy? (1975), Going After Cacciato (1978), which won the National Book Award, The Nuclear Age (1985), In the Lake of the Woods (1994), Tomcat in Love (1998), and July, July (2002).

We don’t know for sure, but it wouldn’t be surprising to find some of O’Brien’s books at the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

Throughout the week, students enrolled in the 2014 Eckerd College Writer’s Conference will attend workshop classes, roundtables, and panel discussions in nonfiction, novel, screenwriting, short story, and young adult writing.

The free Evening Reading Series is open to the public and continues nightly (except Wednesday) through next Saturday, January 25. A wine and cheese reception begins at 7:30. Readings follow at 8 p.m.

Lehane is conference co-director with author Sterling Watson. Lehane has published 10 novels, including Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, and Shutter Island, which were adapted into award-winning films. Watson was director of creating writing at Eckerd College for 20 years and is the college's Peter Meinke Professor Emeritus of Literature and Creative Writing. He is the author of six novels, including The Calling, Sweet Dream Baby, and Weep No More My Brother. His most recent novel is Fighting in the Shade.
Audience listened intently as O'Brien talked about his work and other topics with Dennis Lehane.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The younger fans of the book fair

These fun-loving people were at the 2013 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. We came across their picture the other day and it reminded us that the book fair appeals to all ages.

Granted, their attendance probably helps skew the average age of fair-goers a bit lower but it's a welcome trend we're seeing year-after-year. And why not? Love of traditional books certainly isn't limited to the silver-haired crowd. It's a trend being noted at book fairs all across the country. Indeed, Booktryst observed a couple of years ago the large number of young people seen walking the aisles at the California International Book Fair, and even imagined them becoming passionate book collectors.

Four years ago,  Sally Burdon wrote on the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) blog about seeing young collectors at the Hong Kong Antiquarian Book Fair. And last year, Chris Volk, writing in the IOBA Standard, the Journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, noted seeing "lots and lots of young adults" at places like the Los Angeles Times Book Festival and the Tucson Book Festival.

For years, the doom and gloom set have been predicting the demise of printed books, but we're not having any of that theory. From our observation and what we're seeing around the country, the young of America (at least some of them ) are discovering a passion for antiquarian books. We're thrilled.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grover Cleveland and the Mugwumps

Love that headline. (Sounds like an early '60s rock band.)

We spotted this poster at the 2013 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. It must have been delicious discovery for students of American political history. It's from the presidential campaign of 1884. Grover Cleveland and Thomas Hendricks ran against James G. Blaine and John A. Logan. Household names, all. ;-)

Okay, so Grover Cleveland may be one of the more obscure presidents in American history. Still, as any history major will tell you, there's an interesting story there, even for civilians.

Seems Cleveland won that election because of the Mugwumps. (Now there's a term you don't hear every day but you might have come across it sometime or other.) Cleveland was a Democrat; in fact, he was the first Democrat to get elected president since Reconstruction after the Civil War. Six terms the Dems were out of office, and Republicans ruled the roost.

Anyway, the reason Cleveland won: Mugwumps. They were renegade Republicans who took a dim view of their candidate's financial scandals (railroads had paid him off to dispose of mortgage bonds and land grant bonds for them). So the Mugwumps decided to buck the system and support Cleveland. They were ridiculed as fence sitters, political creatures with their mugs on one side of the fence and their "wumps"on the other.

So, the point of all this?  It's just another illustration of the amazing items you'll find at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. Okay, so maybe 130-year-old political ephemera isn't for everybody but this kind of thing will thrill some people.  We know a history prof who'd love to get his hands on something like this.

Stay tuned. In future posts, we'll have more examples of the kinds of must-have items you're likely to find at the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.




Monday, January 13, 2014

We cannot live without books, and book lovers

This gentleman attended the 2013 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. We like his way of thinking as reflected on his t-shirt. We cannot live without books, either.

Interesting thing about that Thomas Jefferson quote, though. It's incomplete and it's taken out of context. Here's what happened:

John Adams was the second president of the United States when Congress agreed to spend $5,000 to set up a library. It became the Library of Congress (of course). Jefferson, who was the third president, encouraged expanding the library. So did James Madison, who succeeded him. The Americans had quite a nice little 3,000-volume library by the time the British attacked in 1814, burned the Capitol (where the library was housed) and pillaged the collection.

Jefferson was crestfallen, and decided to do something to help. At the time, the ex-president had the largest personal library in the country. He hit upon an idea that he thought would help the country quickly regain it's national library (not to mention helping himself acquire much-needed cash. He decided sell a large portion of his personal collection to Congress. He received $23,950 for about 6,500, which works out to be about $3.69 a book.

Anyway, he wrote to Adams explaining his reasoning for the sale. "I cannot live without books," he told John Adams, "but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." Jefferson wanted to send his books to a place where they would be used. So, actually, Thomas Jefferson was talking about downsizing, not adding to his collection.

However, judging from the cottage industry that has grown up putting Jefferson's words on not just t-shirts, but also tote bags, hats, coffee mugs, posters, note pads, tea towels, and pillows, it seems clear that a significant number of people hold the sentiment suggested by the partial quote, which is just fine with us.

We know that many book lovers who agree will attend the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in March. We'll be there to enthusiastically welcome them because booksellers can't live without them.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

He read to his children 'til the book fell apart

Larry Baker is the author of The Education of Nancy Adams (2014), Love and Other Delusions (2012), A Good Man (2009), Athens, America (2005), and The Flamingo Rising (1997), which was adapted for television as a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. He teaches writing at the University of Iowa.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How many hidden words or phrases do you see?

Put your answer in the comments section below and share this puzzle with your friends.

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, March 14-16, The Coliseum, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Click on the puzzle to enlarge it enough to actually be able to read it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

It's amazing! It's unusual! It's our book fair!

Bookseller Vivian Moore of Alpharetta, Georgia, will return to the book fair in March.
We were pondering the other day all the amazing things you see at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair each year. This year the theme is children’s books, and we know that our dealers will have plenty of unusual children’s books to see. But, as always, the book fair is much more than any one theme.

When you think about it, it’s really hard to take it all in. Veterans of the book fair say it’s a good idea to plan to come all three days because you couldn’t possibly take it all in on just one day. You really need time to leisurely browse all the booths then home in on the items that really interest you.

Actually, the name book fair is so inadequate because it is so much more. Don’t worry, we’re not changing our name to the Florida Antiquarian Books, Regular Cool Books, Children’s-Books-You-Remember-From-When-You-Were-A-Kid, Signed-First-Edition-Books, Antique Maps, Illuminated Manuscripts, Vintage Photographs, Antique Autographs, Cool-Printed-Pieces-From-The-Civil-War, Awesome-Sauce-Extremely-Rare-Published-In-The-16th-Century-Books, And-Other-Stuff-We-Haven’t-Even-Mentioned Fair.

Book Fair will have to do.

Besides, you already know that “Book Fair” really means much more. It’s sort of a code phrase, isn’t it? Sort of like a speakeasy in the Roaring Twenties – knock on the door, say the secret password and they let you in. Those who know the code know the joys of the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. Of course, there's no password at the book fair but you get the idea.

This post started out to be about the picture you see at the top but obviously we got a little sidetracked. That’s our friend Vivian Moore, who will be exhibiting at the book fair in March. Vivian lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, now but she used to live in Tampa, and she was part of the very first Florida Antiquarian Book Fair 33 years ago.

We don’t know exactly what Vivian will be bringing to the book fair this year, but we do know that what she brings is always fascinating. In this picture, she’s holding a very cool photo post card of downtown Tampa in the 1920s produced by the Florida News Company.

See, now that’s what we’re talking about. How very amazing! How very unusual!  It is discoveries like these that keep people coming back year after year. There’s only one Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and it only happens once a year. That’s why people mark it on their calendar and make sure they are here.

“Yeah, it’s a Book Fair.” (Delivered with an arched eyebrow and a knowing smile.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Books brought a lifelong love of discovery

The library in my small hometown was my favorite place in the whole world. I was safe, warm, protected, and could be alone in my own little world. It was wonderful.

One of my favorite books from the library was The Secret Garden. I loved the story. It inspired and nurtured in me a great gift – the gift of compassion, of transference of feeling from one human being to another. It opened my heart and soul to another’s pain, another’s joy, another’s tribulations. I was probably 10 years old when I read the book. I felt so much

When I was 14, I began reading my mother’s magazines. They were magazines like True Romance, Real Romance and True Story. She would drop my dad off to work at 5 a.m. and then go back to bed. My sister and I would crawl into bed with her and read the magazines with her. Those stories, too, taught me about kindness, love, misery, heartbreak, perseverance, patience and all those many attributes a person needs to get through life, to get through each day’s challenges.

Those stories took me out of myself, transported me to other worlds, introduced me to so many different, interesting personalities. They helped me to realize that life could be full of joy and sorrow at the same time, that life was a mixture of good and bad, and that we have choices. They taught me that we are our best friend and worst enemy, and that, no matter what, we can prevail.

My education happened at the Winona Public Library. It was my supplemental grade school, my supplemental high school, and my entire college. Through books, I learned how to start and run a successful business. I learned how to be a kind, caring, compassionate person.

That is what The Secret Garden introduced me to – the love of reading, which has led to a lifelong love of discovery, of adventure, of learning – all through the marvelous, amazing world of books.

Sherry Pringle, Spare Room Mini Storage

SHARE YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK: We'd love to hear about the book (or books) that made a difference to you as a child. It can be a video or an essay. Here's a link that gives you the guidelines.

Monday, January 6, 2014

We're counting down to the big day!

Well, it won't be long now. More time has passed since the last Florida Antiquarian Book Fair than still remains until the next one. In just a few weeks, antiquarian booksellers from across the country will gather at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg for the 33rd annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

We're particularly excited, of course, because it's the time we live for all year long. We realize that not everyone is quite as obsessive about the arrival of the book fair, though we have empirical evidence that we're not alone.

One reason we're so excited is that we'll be seeing a lot of old friends. Many of the dealers who exhibit at the book fair have been coming to the fair for decades. It's part of their life. And they are part of ours.

Another reason we're excited, though, is that there will be new dealers here, too. New friends. It's always great to make new friends.

No matter whether they're regulars or brand new to the book fair, our dealers always bring the most fascinating books, ephemera, prints, maps, and a whole host of other related items. If you like this stuff (and you wouldn't be reading this far into this post if you didn't), this is the place for you.

There's an atmosphere at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair that is quite special, and we'll talk more about that in a later post. In the meantime, you're welcome to share this countdown post with anyone you think might want a reminder about the book fair. It only happens once a year. It's only for three days, and you don't want to miss it.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tap into your inner child at the book fair


Our theme for the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book fair is all about the children—and the inner child in you!

Children's Literature: Pages of Wonder calls to mind those youthful days of all book enthusiasts when everything was new. It was a time of discovery, a time of awesome
spectacle, and yes, a time of wonder.


Now, does that mean that children's books are the only things to be found at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair? Of course not. Don't worry! We'll have the full complement of books, maps, prints, ephemera, autographs, incunabula, and more at this year's book fair.

But it does mean that you're likely to discover that long lost treasure of your childhood. That one book that turned you on to a lifetime of loving books for the worlds they opened up to you.

What's more, the book fair is likely to reveal to you some amazing tome you're going to be eager to share with the young people in your life because it meant so much to you when you were a child.

HOW TO SHARE YOUR BOOK: We're asking people to share some of their memories about special books that meant so much to them as youngsters, and you're welcome to participate. There are two ways to share.

At the top of this article, you'll find a video from writer Jon Wilson, who shared his memory. If you'd like to do the same, it's easy. You can record your memory on your cell phone if you'd like. (We'd ask that you try to get it in focus and turn your phone to the horizontal position. It makes a better picture that way.) Keep it short. Less than a minute is best. If you need a little more time, go ahead but make it interesting.

Send your video to us by email to floridabookfair@gmail.com. If the file is too big, send us an email to let us know and we'll set up a Dropbox you can put it in.

The other way is easier if you don't want to deal with video. Write your memory in 100 words or less. Snap a selfie, attached it to an email and send it to us at floridabookfair@gmail.com. Leave enough room above your head for an excerpt from your 100 words, and some room on the side for a logo. There's an example below.

Don't worry about formatting. We'll take care of converting your photo or video to black & white and making it look like the others. Be sure to include your name and your claim to fame.We hope to end up with a wall full of these memories. It'll be fun!

 MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK: "When I was young I remember going to our local Carnegie library maybe once a week or so – and there was a whole floor of children's books there. I read a good part of them but there was one in particular that really captured my imagination – Otto of the Silver Hand. Immediately upon reading that I was fascinated by all sorts of knights, and read Ivanhoe and looked forward to the Sunday papers with Prince Valiant. I spent the rest of my childhood reading about knights of one kind or another, and all because of Otto of the Silver Hand."
– Michael Slicker, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

FLORIDA ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR, March 14-16, 2014, The Coliseum, St. Petersburg

Saturday, January 4, 2014

If you blog about books, etcetera, let us know!

Here's the deal. If you're blogging regularly about the things we're about, we want it make it as easy as we can for you to blog about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

So, this year for the first time, we're making available social media credentials for serious bloggers and social media folks who are talking to their followers about books or book collecting or ephemera collecting, or the lost art of letterpress printing, or a host of other things that are related. If  this describes you, then send us an email requesting to register for social media credentials for the 2014 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. This is the first time we've done this, so you're getting in on the ground floor, so to speak.

Send us an email at floridabookfair@gmail.com. Tell us who you are, what you blog about and how often, and send us a link to your blog. If you're selected, we'll need a photo of you.

If you pass muster, we'll keep you clued in about possible story ideas and interviews you might do before the book fair to tell your readers about all the exciting things that will be happening. We'll send you advance news releases and contact information so you can do your own articles. We'll also have a social media pass available at Will Call for easy access to the book fair all weekend.

Here's a link for more details. We're looking forward to hearing from you.