Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book dealers go high tech to tout their passion

Modern technology is changing the landscape for many endeavors, including the antiquarian book business. Some decry the advent of iPads and iPhones and Nooks and Kindles, with gloomy predications of the demise of the traditional book. More optimistic souls note that the more books are digitized and put on electronic devices, the more valuable traditional paper books become, scarcity and demand being the operative factors.

And though some antiquarian book dealers certainly eschew anything that smacks of modernity (including email), a new breed of booksellers is wholeheartedly embracing modern technology that helps them spread the word about their passion – antiquarian books. Podcasts have been around for years, of course, but this marks the first time we know of that they've been used to talk about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

This year, before and during the book fair, dealer Steven Eisenstein of A-Book-A-Brac Shop in Miami Beach, recorded an Internet radio show. We'll have more about that soon but we also wanted to tell you about another podcast recently published.

Mike Cotter and Keith Wallace of Yeoman's in the Fork in Franklin, Tennessee, teamed up with their colleague, Greg Snider (who is responsible for the Internet presence at Yeoman's), to produce an interesting podcast of their recollections of this year's Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. We thought you'd enjoy listening to their program.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

These are a few of our favorite things

We we saw all the people at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair on Friday night lugging away boxes and package it brought to mind Oscar Hamme4rstein's lyrics from The Sound of Music: "... brown paper packages tied up with string. These are a few of my favorite things." Never mind that the book lovers we saw had boxes and plastic bags. We know that these are a few of their favorite things, too.

And why not? Book lovers know what they love and they know they'll find something to love at the book fair. Judging by the sizes of the packages many were carrying, they were finding many things to love.

The book fair continues on today and Sunday, of course, and we're certain that book lovers will ferret out the most wonderful tomes. See you at the book fair.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Book fair opens tonight at 5 p.m. See you there!

Well, the weekend we've been waiting for all year is finally here. The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair opens tonight at 5 p.m. There is always a crowd waiting to get in so if you want to be near the front of the line it's best to get there early. You can get an advance look at who will be at the book fair by downloading a program. Just click on the link. Download a program. There's so much to see at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair that it's never a bad idea to plan to come all three days. Tonight you can get a lay of the land, browse through the entire fair so you have an idea what's where. If you've been to the fair before, you know you're going to see old friend. Most of the booksellers come back year after year so you get to know them and they get to know you.

Come back on Saturday for some serious digging. Often dealers bring more great items than they have room to display. You'll only find out about them if you talk to them. That's also a good way to learn more about your particular interest. These folks are knowledgeable and they're perfectly willing to share their knowledge but they won't know what you're looking for if you don't tell them. There's so much to explore and so little time so make the best use of it by spending Saturday delving into what interests you. A word of caution, though. If you see something you've got to have, buy it right then. Don't wait. If you do, it might be gone.

On Sunday, you can relax and enjoy the day. Revisit some dealers and some items you've been mulling over. Providing they are still there, of course, you can decide to go ahead and purchase them. In any case, get around to dealers you might have missed. Make new friends. Exchange email addresses so you can stay in touch.

It's over all too quickly so savor it why you can. See you at the book fair.

Friday, March 6, 2015

What to look for at the book fair

Here's another installment in our series to give you a glimpse of some of the amazing books you'll find at the book fair.

The Snopes Trilogy -- The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion
William Faulkner
All first editions, first printings.

The series regarding the Snopes family in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Begun in 1940 and completed in 1959.

Lee Linn
The Ridge Books


The Color Purple
Alice Walker

Stated first edition with BCDE line on copyright page

The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Native Son

Richard Wright

First edition. First printing

Native Son is a novel by American author Richard Wright. The novel tells the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, a black American youth living in utter poverty in a poor area on Chicago's South Side in the 1930s.

Lee Linn
The Ridge Books


Relativity, The Special and the General Theory
Albert Einstein
Henry Holt, NY, 1920. 

First American Edition. Very Good in a Very Good dust jacket. This copy is well bound, tight and clean. It is not ex-lib.


Jim Weyant
The Scribe's Perch


Twelve Years a Slave
Solomon Northup

This is the scarce first edition , first printing of this book.

 It has the following points: 1. No list by thousands (Fifth Thousand, Tenth Thousand, etc. at top of title page 2. earliest catalog in front immediately after pastedown, 3. 1853  stated on both title and copyright pages 4. no mention of a "London" edition on the title and copyright pages as in later printings. This true account of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery became a bestseller in the 1850s, sellling over 30,000 copies. Probably the most influential book, after Uncle Tom's Cabin, for the anti-slavery movement. The 2013 movie based on this book won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Mark Broomberg
Boomerang Books


Concert Poster for Muddy Waters Show
Jimmy's Club, New Orleans, Louisiana.

This framed Concert Flyer came from the collection of Walter Glenn, Atlanta businessman (Geode at Lenox Square) and music collector. Glenn had each item in his collection custom-framed for display. Muddy Waters (1913-1983) is considered the "Father of modern Chicago Blues." This flyer was produced for a show in New Orleans at Jimmy’s Club, probably late 1970s.

Mark Broomberg
Boomerang Books


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tampa Bay Times article features SunLit Festival

There's an article coming out in the Tampa Bay Times entertainment section this week about the new SunLit Festival, the celebration of literature, reading, and writing that begins on Saturday. It's already online here. 

The article by Times Book Editor Colette Bancroft tells a little bit about the origins of the SunLit Festival and features a photograph of two of the actors who are participating in the SunLit Crawl, a pub crawl with literature, on Wednesday, March 11. We're pleased, of course, because we're sponsoring the SunLit Crawl and we think it's going to be great fun for everyone involved.

The two actors, Nyela Hope (Zora Neale Hurston) and Deanna Scott (Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings), are part of the Famous Dead Authors troupe from Venue Theater and Actors Studio, which has been so helpful in putting together the SunLit Crawl. Other members of the cast are Robert Gilligan (Jack Kerouac) and John M. Lowe (Ernest Hemingway). They are ably directed by Corinne Broskette, who heads Venue.

The other group figuring significantly in producing SunLit Crawl is Keep St. Pete Lit, whose president, poet Maureen McDole, believes in the power of literature to change the world. Keep St. Pete Lit works hard to promote and celebrate greater St. Petersburg's literary community. Maureen will serve as host for our first-ever Book Fair Live video program during the book fair. More on that later.

SunLit Crawl will be presented, as we've said, on the Wednesday before the book fair opens in some great downtown venues, some of our favorites, actually. The festivities begin with the Foreword Before Party at Wine Madonna at 6 p.m. Wine Madonna, 111 Second Avenue NE,  is operated by bestselling author Kristine Radish, who received the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance Muse Literary Award this year. Kris promises some literary-themed wines and other surprises.

The party then moves on to the Chapters venues. Genaro Coffee Company, 1047 Central Avenue;  Bodega on Central, 1120 Central Avenue; and Green Bench Brewery, 1133 Baum Avenue N, all in the Edge District. That's where you'll find the actors and readers in their element. Genaro owners Patricia Francati and Preston Johnson offer a marvelous coffee shop setting for jazz concerts and poetry readings. Debbie and George Sayegh, owners of Bodega on Central, wholeheartedly support community activities and are graciously setting aside their covered outdoor patio space for this event. St. Petersburg natives Steven Duffy and Nathan Stonecipher are making the garden area of their popular Green Bench Brewery available for SunLit Crawl. The event is free but we hope everyone attending will purchase food and libations from these great local businesses.

The story isn't over until the Epilogue, and the party isn't over until the Epilogue After Party. That gets underway at Mitch and Crystal Faber's Old Key West Bar & Grill (formerly Butler's Old Key West), 2451 Central Avenue, at 9 p.m. or as soon as you get there after the readings.

That's where well-known folk impresario Pete Gallagher has put together an impressive program to wind up the SunLit Crawl festivities, including The Florida Boys, the Kelly Green Jazz Band, and the Fabulous St. Petersburg Sea Shanties. Says Peter: "A little known fact is that Kerouac loved sea shanties and referred to them in several books. He always heard sea shanties in the air when he was walking in San Francisco."

Pete Gallagher continues: "Kelly has a song called 'Book of Dreams,' inspired by Kerouac's book of the same title. She and several jazz players will improvise behind the Brad Morewood St. Pete Beat Poets, who will be reading both Kerouac and original works."

It all promises to be a night to remember, and we're happy to be a part of it. We hope to see you there and at the opening night of the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair on Friday.

St. Petersburg. What a great place to be if you're a book lover.