Tuesday, August 30, 2016

At last, poet/bookseller Ernest Hilbert is bowdlerized

Poets Ernest Hilbert and William Shakespeare
Congratulations to poet/bookseller Ernest Hilbert, who reports a significant milestone in his career as a writer – he has finally been bowdlerized. Sooner or later, all the great ones are censored, and we're proud of this popular bookseller who graces us with his presence every year at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

In 1818, Thomas Bowdler, a strait-laced English doctor, published a sanitized version of William Shakespeare's brilliant plays, one that with the boldly (and even subtly) suggestive lines removed, would be suitable for a father to read to his children in the tumultuous Georgian era.

Critics at the time and since have roundly lambasted the good doctor for tinkering with the Shakespearian masterworks, though it was actually his older sister Henrietta who was said to have cleaned up The Bard. For gender's sake, it was published under her brother's name. Henrietta also published a collection of sermons – anonymously, of course. Nevertheless, the actions of the prudish brother and sister gave rise to the verb bowdlerize, to blue-pencil the edgy stuff that might offend someone.

For his part, Ernest says he doesn't mind that a couple of words were changed when a clergyman sanitized his poem for use in a sermon.  At least the replacement words had the same number of syllables if not the same meter.  Read Ernest's blog, E-Verse Radio for a full account of the incident. 

After Thomas Bowdler died, another sterilized book appeared under his name, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbons. Don't know if Thomas and Henrietta worked on it together but based on the reputations of the ancient Romans, they had plenty of material to work with. (Caligula comes to mind but there were others, too.) Henrietta died a spinster at age 80. Published after her death, her last work was Pen Tamar, or the History of an Old Maid.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

And the week started so well

Last night, shortly after I finished my marketing plan for Rare Book Cafe, and added some material to our shiny new Facebook page launched on Tuesday producer Allan Smith called me to join him in a test of the new opening credits sequence he’d created for today’s show.

It’s a fine piece of work. You can see for yourself:

I signed into Blab.im, the nifty beta platform that gave Rare Book Cafe its unique, interactive home. And, in lieu of the home page- and Allan in the Test Zone, I got this:

Screenshot 2016-08-13 at 01.17.09.png

We'd had no notice.

After a brief, but wrenching, existential wail translating as “WTF!?!”, I told Allan, “We’re toast.”

Clicking “The full story,” see, leads to an article on the Medium where the Head Blabber explains they got bored with their toy and threw it out. At 9:00 p.m., they turned the switch off and went out to drown their sorrows in artisanal beer and the promise of a new round of funding. They’re going off to make a new, even cooler product, they say,  and somewhere, someday, they will tell us all what it is.

So we’re off the air as of today. On hiatus. It’s a midseason break like the ones Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder get away with in November, only in summer.

Rare Book Cafe is an opening in search of a show: “Mimes on Radio”. We’re here: you just can’t see or hear us.

Or as the customer said of the Norwegian blue parrot, “It's not pining, it's passed on. This program is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late podcast. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies. It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-internet show.”

Nuts to that, we say.

We’ve already put in several hours looking for workarounds via existing video chat platforms. I suspect that’s how the rest of this night will pass, and the rest of the weekend.

Rest assured: we will be back on the air as soon as we get a new format up and running. We welcome your suggestions, tips, and leads. Are you reading of any new startups in the videoconferencing space? Let us know.

Meantime, we’ll still be developing Rare Book Cafe on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger. Only our video presence will be iced down in a cryogenic chamber down the hall from Walt Disney and Ted Williams, and only until new technologies can bring the show back to life. And yes, we know that for Uncle Walt, it’s been fifty years now.

We’ll be back, after a few messages. Really. Scout's Honor.

-Lindsay Thompson, co-host (and Eagle Scout, 1970)
For the Rare Books Cafe team

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The bad news? You missed Libby Ware's visit to Rare Book Cafe. The good news? We saved it for you.

We had another fine talk today on Rare Book Cafe! Thorne Donnelley is back from the Universty of Virginia Rare Book School, looking swotted out from days of hard yakka in bibliographic citation boot camp.

Libby Ware, of Toadlily Books in Atlanta, told us about the September Georgia Rare Books and Paper Fair in Decatur, and her new novel, Lum. It's stacking rave reviews like cordwood.

Host Steven Eisenstein was going to give us another RBC first: running the show from a moving car somewhere on the Florida panhandle, but his wife/miniature bookist/Formula One driver Edie Eisenstein was going too fast for Steven to catch and hold a wireless signal. So we'll see him next week, stationary in his studio chair.

Here's a link to the August 6 program. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

This Saturday's Rare Book Cafe: We get out the good coffee mugs for a visit from bookseller and author Libby Ware


A familiar exhibitor at the Florida Book Fair, Atlanta author and book dealer Libby Ware is Rare Book Cafe’s August 6 guest.

toadlily books.jpgThere’ll be plenty to talk about: besides writing novels and running a bookstore, Libby Ware is also president of the Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association, whose annual Georgia Book and Paper Fair is slated for September 3-4, 2016 in Decatur. 

Toadlily Books is Ware’s business base in Atlanta. She focuses on antiquarian books across the fields of African-American literature; art and photography; books about books; LGBT works; natural history; Southern writing; and travel books.

The store is located at 782 Marion Avenue East, Atlanta GA 30312, tel (678) 592-7031; email toadlilybooks@yahoo.com. You can also follow Toadlily Books on Facebook.

Ware’s first novel, Lum, was published by She Writes Press in October 2015. It debuted to strong reviews, and has already gathered in an American Library Association Stonewall Book Award, the gold medal of the Independent Book Publishers Association, and a 2016 Lambda Literary Awards finalist’s slot.

Rare Books Cafe is a weekly Internet production sponsored by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. It's live at blab.im every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT/6.30 to 7.30 GMT.
The 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!

Regular co-hosts include Thorne Donnelley, owner of Liberty Book Store in West Palm Beach; Steven Eisenstein, longtime Miami-area dealer and appraiser and host of the weekly radio program Buck$ on the Bookshelf at wdbfradio.com; and Lindsay Thompson, owner of Henry Bemis Books in Charlotte, North Carolina.
T. Allan Smith, cyber consultant for the Florida book fair, is creator and executive producer of Rare Book Cafe.

(To access the show, look up blab.im on your browser. Sign in using your Twitter or Facebook account, and type "Rare Book Cafe" in the search box. You can also subscribe to the show using this link)

Past episodes of the Rare Book Cafe are archived at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair website, and on the Rare Book Cafe Channel at YouTube.