Friday, August 4, 2017

Saturday on Rare Book Cafe: "Sometimes the very best of all summer books is a blank notebook. Get one big enough, and you can practice sketching the lemon slice in your drink or the hot lifeguard on the beach or the vista down the hill from your cabin."

One of my earliest memories is of seeing my mother in her beach chair, reading a book under an umbrella by the water's edge while my sisters and I played beside her. Of all the life lessons she taught me, that is one of my favorites: to take time at a place I love, restore my spirit with books and the beach.

-American author Luanne Rice (1961- )

August is upon us. “The month of August had turned into a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzled,” Sue Monk Kidd wrote in The Secret Life of Bees. Rick Bragg was less sanguine in My Southern Journey: “The children start school now in August. They say it has to do with air-conditioning, but I know sadism when I see it.”

The livin’ is easy, the fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high, but soon everything will take on a tired, dusty, Main-Street-in-a-Carson-McCullers-story look about it. After the afternoon thunderstorm, it’s Mr James Agee’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915.

For school teachers, August is 31 days of Sunday nights, each at 8.34 pm.

France will simply leave town for the beach.

Rare Book Cafe is doing much the same, reconvening in the seaside coffeehouse of our imagination. Saturday the 5th, we’ll be alternating between the fly swatter and the church fans Aunt Pluma forgot and put in her purse and brought home.

While others cast their eyes across the surf for messages in bottles, we’ll be looking for literary jetsam:

Folks’ll drift in about 2.30 pm on the Rare Book Cafe’s Facebook page; Producer Allan Smith will be fiddling with the video while we have a desultory chat about famous beach books of fiction.

Guest host Kara Accettola’s gonna talk about the summer of Woodstock as a lasting literary epoch aborning. Kara was not born then but knows volumes; the rest of the usuals were around but will do our best to pretend we weren’t born yet, either.

Edie Eisenstein's got in mind talking about the rise in women book dealers and collectors, domains long-dominated by men- old and getting there fast- who, before printing, would have been the Meistersingers’ guild of Nuremberg. Husband Steve, who counts among his life experiences time as a summer resort entertainment director, will surprise all with Thoughts Stevian.

Kara says there may also be “passionate rants.” Probably those will come up as we consider what authors- of any time- we’d invite to our beach cookout after the show- and which ones we’d wish were somewhere else if they showed up, unbidden.

Your presence, however, is always welcome. Join us in the chat. Send us comments. Like and share us-last week you boosted our reach to over 1600! Have your list of most companionable authors for reciting “The Walrus and the Carpenter” and other seaside fare written up and ready to share.

Rare Book Cafe is streamed by the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair every Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30 pm EDT. We feature 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

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