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 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’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

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."


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.