Are we there yet?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 29: The Rare Book Cafe indulges our small-mindedness.




Every line of human endeavor has its in-jokes.

"When I played viola," Lindsay Thompson, Rare Book Cafe co-host, writes, "my favorite about my tribe was told by Garrison Keillor in his 'Young Lutheran’s Guide to the Orchestra'- a play on Britten’s 'Young Person’s Guide', only with 'Jesus Loves Me, This I Know' as the work that showcases the different sections of the orchestra.

“'Viola players are bitter, angry men,' Keillor explained. 'They study for years to get a seat in the orchestra, then discover no one can hear anything they play. They hang out in rail yards at night, sitting around 50-gallon drums of burning trash, and talking of running off to Mexico with a girl named Rita.'”

Among booksellers, miniature book dealers are the sort who show up just before the doors open, bearing only a couple of briefcases. They are the first to leave, as they have nothing to break down and lug out to a van.

They have excellent posture, never having to do any heavy lifting. Their houses never need the flooring and foundations shored up.

Because they do not need miles of bookshelves, their abodes tend to have large windows, and to be filled with light. They never develop dust allergies.

On the other hand, it is not a good line for the absent-minded. You can really lose stuff.


Teeny Ted from Turnip Town (2007), published by Robert Chaplin, is certified by Guinness World Records as the world's smallest reproduction of a printed book. The book was produced in the Nano Imaging Laboratory at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with the assistance of SFU scientists Li Yang and Karen Kavanagh.

The book's size is 0.07 mm x 0.10 mm. The letters are carved into 30 microtablets on a polished piece of single crystalline silicon, using a focused-gallium-ion beam with a minimum diameter of 7 nanometers (this was compared to the head of a pin at 2 mm across). The book has its own ISBN, 978-1-894897-17-4.

The story was written by Malcolm Douglas Chaplin and is "a fable about Teeny Ted’s victory in the turnip contest at the annual county fair."

The book has been published in a limited edition of 100 copies by the laboratory and requires a scanning electron microscope to read the text.

In December 2012, a Library Edition of the book was published with a full title of Teeny Ted from Turnip Town & the Tale of Scale: A Scientific Book of Word Puzzles and an ISBN number 978-1-894897-36-5. On the title page it is referred to as the "Large Print Edition of the World's Smallest Book". The book was published using funds from a successful Kickstarter campaign with contributors' names shown on the dust jacket.





Japan has created what it is claiming is the smallest ever printed book, with pages measuring 0.75 millimetres (0.03 inches) which are impossible to read with the naked eye.

The 22-page micro-book, entitled Shiki no Kusabana (flowers of seasons), contains names and monochrome illustrations of Japanese flowers such as the cherry and the plum. Toppan Printing, who have been making micro books since 1964, said letters just 0.01 mm wide were created using the same technology as money printers use to prevent forgery.

The book is on display at Toppan's Printing Museum in Tokyo, and is on sale, together with a magnifying glass and a larger copy, for 29,400 yen (£205).

Toppan said it would be applying to Guinness World Records to claim the title of world's smallest book, presently held by a 0.9 mm, 30-page Russian volume called Chameleon, created by Siberian craftsman Anatoliy Konenko in 1996.

The smallest reproduction of a printed book is Teeny Ted from Turnip Town, a Canadian book that cost £10,000. It was 0.07 mm x 0.10 mm and the letters are carved into 30 microtablets on a polished piece of crystalline silicon.

This Saturday, July 29, bring a magnifier: the Rare Book Cafe team will put in the full hour on Miniature Books!

Edie Eisenstein, the Cafe’s resident tiny bookist, will lead an in-depth visit with collector and Miniature Book Society authority Todd Sommerfeld. The international group’ conclaves are legendary; the next is August 11-14, 2017 in Oakland, CA.

The panel will talk about what makes a miniature book a miniature book; their history; resources for collectors, and getting started as one; and they’ll show lots of examples of the miniature book arts.

So plan to sit close to the screen!

Rare Book Cafe is streamed by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. It’s broadcast every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT and features interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.

The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page, and remain there after the show.

Hosted by Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, the program features a revolving set of cohosts and regular guests including Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein; ephemera expert Kara Accettola; and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.

We enjoy the support and encouragement of these booksellers: Little Sages Books in Hollywood, Florida; Liberty Books in Palm Beach Gardens; As Time Goes By, in Marion, Alabama; Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland; Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg; The Ridge Books in Calhoun, Georgia; and Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte.

Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtually live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.

Friday, July 21, 2017

This week on Rare Book Cafe: we're fretting, with Woody Allen, "What if nothing exists and we're all in somebody's dream?"

Our July 22 guest, author Steve Newton


Rare Book Cafe’s broadcast platform, BeLive.tv, is having growing pains now it’s out of beta and into pay-for mode, as viewers noticed last week. But the Cafe just goes from strength to strength, and our July 22 program is going to show that anew.


We’re welcoming a guest Saturday- Steve Newton, author of the new e-book, MacArthur’s Luck: The Race to Berlin Is On!


It’s the first of a planned series of “my kingdom for a horse!" reimaginings of alternative ways World War II could have played out: not in the easy, big-picture way (e.g., the Nazis win), but in threads pulled from history’s tapestry as if the design was being finalized on the loom:


January 1945: As Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan collapse, General George Marshall dies unexpectedly days before the critical Yalta Conference. His successor as US Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur, flies halfway around the world to butt heads with Josef Stalin and change history.

When MacArthur relieves General Dwight D. Eisenhower from command in Europe, the Anglo-Allied advance devolves into a free-for-all as competing armies race for Berlin, and the changes echo across the globe:

Army Captain Jackie Robinson leads an armored task force across the Rhine. ...

Major Barry Goldwater fire-bombs Tokyo. ...

Navy Commander Robert Heinlein struggles to save his wounded ship from kamikazes off Okinawa...

Field Marshals Georgi Zhukov and Ivan Konev clash on the road to Berlin. ...

SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Karl Wolff dares everything to negotiate a separate surrender to the Americans. ...

Populated by a cast of realistic characters who will take you inside the American, German, Soviet, and Japanese military machines, and meticulously researched by a well-known military historian, MacArthur’s Luck opens The Fortunes of War series, exploring a world both tantalizingly like our own, but also dramatically different.

Half the fun is figuring out what’s real, and what’s not.


Newton baseball card.png
Real, or #AltFacts? Only our guest knows for sure!


Newton holds degrees in history from St. Andrews University in North Carolina, William & Mary, and James Madison University, and has been Professor of History and Political Science at Delaware State University since 1990. He is the author of nine “real” histories of American Civil War and World War II Russian Front encounters, as well as dozens of scholarly articles.

Newton is also a lifelong gamer and sci-fi fan whose literary forebears include W.E.B. Griffin, Nevil Shute, Larry Bond, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, A.E. Van Vogt, Larry Nivens and Harry Turtledove. His blog, Strange Worlds and Alternative Histories, indulges those facets of Newton’s interests, as does research on a forthcoming history of pre-World War II pulp fiction.


A father and grandfather, Newton also spent 21 years in the US Army and Army Reserves, retiring as a Master Sergeant overseeing field medical operations support.


Once the Cafe crew has worked their way through Newton’s alternate world, host Steve Eisenstein will give our guest The Third Degree: a short set of questions drawn from the famous Marcel Proust/Bernard Pivot lines of literary interrogation.


We’ll also be digging into a viewer question about where to find 1960s-vintage Pensacola auto racing programs and memorabilia; Edie Eisenstein will bring us miniature book news drowned out in last week’s on-air echo-fest, and Steve Eisenstein will consider how to tease the secrets of authorship out of anonymous and pseudonymous books. And we’ll be playing “Casting Call,” in which Cafe regulars recast the leads in Pride and Prejudice, whose author- Jane Austen’s bicentennial is this week!


Rare Book Cafe is streamed by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. It’s broadcast every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT and features interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.

The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page, and remain there after the show.

Hosted by Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, the program features a revolving set of cohosts and regular guests including Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein; ephemera expert Kara Accettola; and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.

We enjoy the support and encouragement of these booksellers: Little Sages Books in Hollywood, Florida; Liberty Books in Palm Beach Gardens; As Time Goes By, in Marion, Alabama; Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland; Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg; The Ridge Books in Calhoun, Georgia; and Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte.

Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtually live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It'll be a movie made in mayhem: Rare Book Cafe's latest game

It’s game time again at Rare Book Cafe!

This weekend you can stump the team by picking a favorite book- fiction or nonfiction- and half a dozen leading characters from it, for us to cast as a movie from among living actors and public figures.

Just post your nominations at the Rare Book Cafe Facebook page (while you are there, can Like & Follow the page, it will you feel so cool).

The winning book, or books, will be chosen Friday night in a completely secretive process from the rule book for Calvinball:



We’ll be on the air at 2:30 pm EDT Saturday, July 22 with our guest, Delaware State University history professor and novelist Steve Newton, who will also get The Third Degree. What could possibly go wrong?

Tune in and see! As usual, we'll be on the Cafe Facebook page, praying to the BeLive.tv gods to give us a glitch-free show.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 15 on Rare Book Cafe: Books as our families of choice


Books exert a hold on us. It ranges from mild interest to outright mania.

This week the Cafe' regulars will have stuff spread out all over the table: Steve & Edie's vacation (no slides), and Edie's preview of the next Miniature Book Society Conclave.

Thorne will talk about how, with some books, "they are my children": books we buy for ourselves; books we want to sell but can't let go of; and books that make up that most mythic state of existence, the Bookseller's Retirement Fund.

The team will take a look at an 18th-century Irish songbook to see what it can tell its new owner, too.

And, of course, books are part of the heady brew of youth and rebellion- Guest Host Kara Accettola will show some of her ephemera that made up "the seeds of Woodstock" 48 years ago this summer.

Sometimes, like the other sort of kids, books will cause you no end of headaches. Carrie Carnes, co-owner of Old Tampa Bay Books, will take a break from a truly frazzled time to tell us what it's like to lose the lease on a storage space with 60,000 books in it that have to go somewhere else- fast.

Join us for the fun and insight: this Saturday at 2:30 pm EDT on the Rare Book Cafe Facebook page, live!


Rare Book Cafe is streamed by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. It’s broadcast every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT and features interviews, panel discussion and stuff you can learn about book collecting whether you are a regular at Sotheby’s or just someone who likes books.

The program airs live on Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page, and remain there after the show.

Hosted by Miami book dealer, appraiser and WDBFRadio.com’s Bucks on the Bookshelf radio show creator Steven Eisenstein, the program features a revolving set of cohosts and regular guests including Thorne Donnelley of Liberty Book Store in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Lindsay Thompson of Charlotte’s Henry Bemis Books; miniature books expert Edie Eisenstein; ephemera expert Kara Accettola; and program creator/producer T. Allan Smith.

We enjoy the support and encouragement of these booksellers: Little Sages Books in Hollywood, Florida; Liberty Books in Palm Beach Gardens; As Time Goes By, in Marion, Alabama; Quill & Brush in Dickerson, Maryland; Lighthouse Books in St. Petersburg; The Ridge Books in Calhoun, Georgia; and Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte.
Rare Book Cafe program encourages viewer participation via its interactive features and video: if you've got an interesting book, join the panel and show it to us! If you’d like to ask the team a question or join us in the virtually live studio audience for the program, write us at rarebookcafe@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Bowties mandatory, of course.






















From David Brass Rare Books, the backstory:


Anatomy of an Antiquarian Bookseller, The

Cracked Joints, Unhinged, Broken Spine -
And You Should See The Books!

SEARLE, Ronald. The Anatomy of an Antiquarian Bookseller. [Edinburgh: John Grant, 1974]. 

One of a total run of fifty unnumbered lithographs signed by Ronald Searle (1920-2011). 27 x 19 1/4 inches (69 x 49 cm) on heavy stock without matte, nor framed. A very fine print.

In 1974, the firm of John Grant, Edinburgh's leading rare and antiquarian bookseller, commissioned artist Ronald Searle, an avid book collector, client and friend who retained Grant's as Scotland agency for his artwork, to create a color illustration to adorn its centenary catalogue. What Searle created was "almost an engineering drawing," according to the Book Collector, based upon the instructions of Ian Grant, the firm's contemporary Director, to immortalize rare booksellers' terminology, a rather arcane jargon meaningless to the uninitiated.

With a list of words and phrases provided by Grant, Searle's drawing became an instant classic, a riotous comedy of anthropomorphic art, the terminology applied as a condition report on an antiquarian bookseller who has obviously seen better days.

Grant had fifty copies printed in Edinburgh as lithographs. He took them to Haute Provence in the south of France, where Ronald Searle lived, and had the artist sign them. Searle, who had not been in Edinburgh to personally supervise their printing, felt that he could not number each one. Many if not most of the fifty were bought by members of Great Britain's Antiquarian Booksellers Association and other book dealers.

Fifteen years later, in 1989, Searle returned to this subject near and dear to him and published Slightly Foxed - But Still Desirable, his satire of rare book catalogue language (commissioned by E. Joseph, the London firm owned at the time by E. Joseph descendant, David Brass, now president of David Brass Rare Books) featuring sixty-one color drawings that apply it to an amusing cross-section of book lovers.

"I have only seen one copy for sale since The Anatomy of an Antiquarian Bookseller was originally issued in 1974, this one, which I sold in 2003 and recently re-acquired" (David Brass). 




Saturday, July 8, 2017

#24: "You have way too many fictional husbands."

funny-kid-reading-books-clipart

Are YOU a book nerd?

Rare Book Cafe is a haven, a support group- live video therapy.

Today, the team considers the Barnes & Noble Book Nerd Quiz and its implications.

Then will come the big reveal: who among them is the Biggest Book Nerd?

Confessions out of the way, we'll also be looking at rare book journals; ephemeral stories; and why, if you've only read Jules Verne in English, you've never read Jules Verne at all.

Join us at 2:30 pm EDT on Rare Book Cafe's Facebook page! Better yet, send us your predictions for who's the primus inter nerdus.