Thursday, August 23, 2012

Seen at the August 12, 2012 Brattleboro Book Fair

The Book Trout was on the road at the as a first time exhibitor at the Brattleboro Book Fair, the summer show for the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association. I had previously had a good experience at the Spring Book Fair in Burlington, and since Brattleboro is even closer to home, it was easy to pack the old Chevy Blazer up with some folding shelves and boxes of books (this time only seven boxes, which seemed a little skimpy after setting up).

We set up on Saturday during extremely unsettled weather conditions. My hair-o-meter told me it would rain imminently and it did, very hard, on the last trip back out to the car, with all my windows and back hood up. The temperature wasn't too bad inside the venue, but you can see that all those damp booksellers and their soggy boxes raised the humidity to rain forest levels and when we came back the next day to start the show, lots of softcover and paper items were curled up or droopy, causing some rearrangement of book displays.

I brought my mom, Carol Marie Davis, a Vermont author, to help me out with my booth. She has written two books thus far, The Adventures of Moonspirit: A Girl from Florida's Past and Anna: Heart of a Peasant and is researching on a third book, tentatively to be about some handmade dolls that travel up the Underground Railroad during the Civil War era.

Mom seemed to enjoy minding our booth at the Book Fair. Unfortunately my free labor situation may be in jeopardy as I was ratted out by my colleague, Richard Mori, who informed her that I was not only supposed to pay her for helping me out, but I was to throw in a free lunch! I'll find a way to fix his wagon at the next book fair.

My tables adjoined a space with Mary Faneuil Hill of Old & New England Books, who had a lovely display of Tasha Tudor books and history volumes, spiced up with a couple of Punch and Judy puppets. Mary has a seasonal shop in Newfane (open May through October) and regaled us with stories about having Tasha Tudor come to her shop many times for signings and visits.

Mom really was excited to meet Donald H. Cresswell of The Philadelphia Print Shop, who appears often as an appraiser on the Antiques Road Show. He was very generous with his time with Mom and other fairgoers and she was thrilled to pose with him and an Audubon print of an osprey. Cresswell was one of several exhibitors who offered ten minute symposia throughout the Fair on various bookish topics such as prints, Theodore Roosevelt, and folk music. This continuing education idea is the brainchild of the gregarious Book Fair impresario Gary Austin of Austin's Antiquarian Books in Wilmington, VT.

(Intriguingly, right after the Fair I read The Island of Lost Maps, by Miles Harvey, which is all about the world of antique maps, and it turns out that Cresswell used to work for Graham Arader, who features prominently in the book. It's a fascinating read. And Mom recommended it to me, so you can see why I want to keep her on as an adjunct employee).

It was nice to see some familiar bookseller colleagues at the Fair. Donna Howard of The Eloquent Page in St. Albans, VT was there with an eye-catching booth, and I was pleased to see John and Carol Hess from Arlington, Vermont's Catamount Books. They are a delightful pair and I have to say that they won the Biblio-Synchronicity Award from my perspective with their side-by-side display of a copy of The Sucking Lice of North America next to a photo-essay entitled "Asses".

The most luscious eye-candy that I saw at the Fair was at the nearby display of Susan Krinsky, of Brandywine Antiques and Books of Amherst, New Hampshire. She had so many lovely antique children's books and other lovely titles, and I couldn't resist a few snaps.

That's Susan above proudly offering a first edition of Wanda Gag's wonderful book "Millions of Cats" and Robert Heinlein's "Red Planet".

All in all, a great day at the Brattleboro Book Fair. The venue was well-lit and there was plenty of space for the crowds and exhibitors to spread out. We sold some books (mostly Vermont history, vintage paperbacks and children's books), gawked at many others and had some illuminating conversations about authors, illustrators, book history and other bibliophilic topics, so I will be sure to be back next year.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Vermont Antiquarian Book Fair in Brattleboro this Sunday

I am a busy bookwoman squirreling away some of my lovely recent acquisitions to bring to the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Summer Book Fair this Sunday, August 12 in Brattleboro. The Fair runs from 10 am to 4 pm at the Withington Skating Rink in Brattleboro Living Memorial Park. For more information and directions to the Fair, see the VABA website.

At my booth you will find me, my mother (an author of two books!) and lots of Vermont and New England history, folklore and books by Vermont authors. I'll also be bringing some choice books from our collector's section, including a lovely copy of The Nutcracker illustrated by the late Maurice Sendak, some Victorian etiquette books, a signed Mickey Mantle memoir, and some nineteenth century children's books.

Hope to see you in Brattleboro!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bookselling at the Burlington Book Fair

Here's a helpful travel tip. When traveling in the pre-dawn hours to a destination you are unfamiliar with in a vehicle you are unsure of, it's helpful to avoid spooky mountain roads where your cellphone doesn't get reception. I foolishly set off at 4 am  from Saratoga County, New York to exhibit my wares at the Vermont Book and Ephemera Fair in Burlington, hoping to arrive early for the setup. The plan was to arrange my book booth and then stroll around leisurely with a strong cup of coffee to see what my colleagues were selling before the official opening at 10 am.

While I spent a lot of time rehashing my book fair packing list (I remembered my cash this time, unless last November's Albany Book Fair, when I had to beg for singles from another bookseller) and picking out the books I wanted to bring to Burlington, I was less diligent about researching my driving route and ended up taking Route 9N through the Adirondacks to Ticonderoga, where I collapsed into a fast food restaurant after almost two hours of hairpin turns, a couple of deer in the headlights, 20-30 mph driving through villages through rain and fog and having my check engine light come on after grinding up a particularly steep incline. The cheery counter lady assured me that Burlington was only another hour and a half away, which proved to be the case and I made it in plenty of time to be set up.

I was greeted at the door by these three lovely women, who steered me to my booth and a bountiful breakfast setup, where a restorative few cups of strong coffee and some fresh pineapple got me back in business.

That's Donna Howard on the left, of the Eloquent Page  in nearby St. Albans, who was the main Book Fair organizer and had boxes full of everything we exhibitors needed awaiting us at our booths, so I could just waltz in and get cracking. She also manned a lovely book booth herself, studded with antique children's books and interesting history and railroad titles. 

I got to chat a bit with Barbara Harding of Otter Creek Used Books in Middlebury, VT as she was setting up. She had a gorgeous selection of P.G. Wodehouse novels, artfully arranged on light blue shelves, and indulged me with little light conversation about the author's hilarious character names, like Chuffy and Stilton Cheesewright. I will definitely have to plan a Vermont bookhunting trip in the near future and visit her shop, a self-described  "community book store experience".

A couple of the antiques dealers had great displays. Carwin's Antiques of Morrisville, VT had both Dr. Seuss and a parade of glass paperweights beckoning from one booth,

while Jean Tudhope of Backdoor Antiques in East Middlebury, VT had great posters and ephemera to lure in shoppers. I most coveted her tray table, however, and will have to scout one up and bring it to my next Book Fair instead of juggling my cash box, receipts and pens in my lap when a customer checks out.

Caffeine in hand, it was time now to pop up my own book display. I had a half booth and had brought along another small table to pop up in the middle of the horseshoe area I shared with the delightful artist and bookbinder Carol Ceraldi, of  Graham Hill Bindery in Craftsbury, VT. Carol lugged in a huge book press, clamps, binding supplies, rolls of leather and book cloth, (and a cello to schlep to orchestra practice after the Fair) and had a computer slide show on hand to display examples of her interesting bindings. She was busy throughout the Fair, chatting with attendees, doing various book repairs and making beautifully folded origami boxes out of her hand decorated pastepapers. Visit her website to see examples of her work on various book restorations, bindings and book enclosures.

Here's my setup. I only brought 7 boxes of books with me, rather than the 12 or so I've brought to other book fairs, since I thought that facing out more books (and more colorful books) would bring in just as many sales.

This proved to be true, though the bestsellers were overwhelmingly books on Vermont history, folklore and books by Vermont authors. I should have brought my entire New England section and only a smattering of other subjects. (Actually, my "best seller" was the bowl of peppermint Life Savers on my front table.)

I had the good fortune to be near two other gracious and interesting booksellers, Sandy Lincoln of Sandy's Books and Bakery in Rochester, VT and John Hess of Catamount Books in Arlington, VT. I thought I had a shot of Sandy reading among her stacks of interesting books, (from R. Crumb art books to Sherlock Holmes), but none turned up later in my camera, so I will have illustrate with words how great it was to chat with Sandy and her husband about the book biz, global politics, and her unusual selection of titles. Sandy specializes in books about sustainable living, renewable energy, wilderness living, agriculture and cooking and her bookstore incorporates a garden and bakery/espresso sales. Another destination for my Vermont bookhunting tour!

John and his wife manned the Catamount Books booth, which was stuffed with gorgeous antiquarian volumes. I spied several hard-to-find Cherry Ames nursing novels for a customer of mine, and saw lots of other unusual books in great condition. Arlington is not too far over the border from Schuylerville, so as we were chatting, I offhandedly asked if he knew anyone from his hometown who had been painted by Norman Rockwell. John immediately replied that his grandfather was the model for Norman Rockwell's iconic painting, "Freedom of Speech" .Note a resemblance?

Overall, I had a great time at the Burlington Book Fair. I made back my expenses, handed out a ton of bookmarks and brochures, made some new bookseller friends, and talked to many bibliophiles about what kinds of books they read  and collected.

As a bonus, my car didn't break down on my alternate route home and I got home just before dark to a warm welcome from the family and pets, with a cold glass of Gewurztraminer to boot!  A great day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Burlington and Books

Rachel will be exhibiting some of our bookwares at the Vermont Spring Book and Ephemera Fair in beautiful Burlington, Vermont this Sunday, March 25th from 10 am to 4 pm. The Book Fair is being held at the Sheraton Hotel located at 870 Williston Road and admission is $4.

Some of the books and paper items we will be bringing including Vermont history and folklore, some new-to-us titles in art, music, how-to, country living, popular culture and an assortment of postcards and other ephemera. There are some interesting new acquisitions in poetry, Chinese antiquities and Americana that will also be on our table.

Dan and I visited the Burlington Book Fair a couple of years back and had a nice time chatting with Donna Howard of the Eloquent Page, who organizes the Fair and has an open shop in nearby St. Albans, Vermont. That's Donna, neatly turned out in her Edward Gorey T-shirt in the photo above. We bought a nice stack of books and blogged about our visit at the Book Trout at this post.

Hope to see you at the Fair. I'll be back with a report on how things go and on  interesting bookspotting and people watching.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Guerrilla Marketing for Dummy Heads

Ever the intrepid scrounger, husband Dan has come up with our most eye-catching street sign yet. We always find interesting stuff thrown out in the alley behind our shop and they often end up repurposed in our shop as shelf adornments or book ends, but I think Dan has outdone himself with his mobile street sign advertising our March-long Spring Cleaning Sale:

A rusty supermarket cart now sports a shelf of mounted beauty school mannequin heads (stamped with the names Debra, Sam (like our store cat!) and Deluxe Debra), festively adorned for St. Patrick's Day and expertly bungee-corded to the lamp post at the vacant lot at the main intersection of our fair village of Schuylerville. Dan or I take the Debras in each night for fear that they may be kidnapped by drunken patrons of the nearby sports bar and this certainly earns us some rubbernecking from passing motorists. It was a bit surreal the other day to see a passing car of nuns in full habit do some synchronized gawking at my lovely trio as I was taking them on their morning stroll.

Judging from the number of remarks we're getting in the shop, this marketing madness is working well. I have had several local first-time customers tell me that the Heads got them inside our doors despite the fact that we've been around for 15 years and have book carts, flags and stacks of books on our sidewalk whenever weather permits. 

We're now planning our Easter makeover for the Debras, and may even continue this street side show longer if it continues to draw in new customers. Certainly, a Bastille Day tableau could be interesting. And the Debras are waterproof.

In a village that sports three storefront leg lamps a la A Christmas Story, another vacant lot adorned with a selection of painted retro bicycles, and a hybrid horse/cow sculpture pastured into a landing pad of grass on the sidewalk next to our shop each spring, we think the Debras blend right in.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Visit to Atlanta Vintage Books

I was let out of our own bookstore for a short trip to Atlanta to check out Emory College. The young' un has been dreaming of an education at this fine academic institution, despite my entreaties that it is way too far away, out of our budget, too much of a change from our hobbity rural life, etc. She insists that this is her dream college, so off we went for a four-day trip to investigate.

After a three-flight extravaganza that began at 3 am, followed by a white-knuckle rental car drive up I-85 during rush hour, in which I was consistently in the wrong lane, we flopped at our hotel for a quick break. The plan was to freshen up, drive over to Emory to scope out how to get to our scheduled tour the next morning, shop quickly at a used bookstore and then seek out some delicious Southern barbeque.

I had thought that Emory was located in a northern suburb of Atlanta, but it's really part of the urban area, replete with lots of traffic congestion, so our introduction to Emory was not as auspicious as it could have been. We sat in a big traffic jam past the Center for Disease Control and Emory Hospital and saw people walk, push strollers, and limp past with three-pronged canes overtaking us in our rental car. We finally inched past our intended target, the Admissions Building, and then headed out of the gridlock up Clairmont Avenue to catch the last half-hour at Atlanta Vintage Books.

What a treat!  We pulled up to the curb and saw a young man feeding and petting a covey of long-haired cats on the sidewalk. He welcomed us and when I told him we were looking forward to meeting one of our bookstore colleagues, whisked us into the shop and introduced us to more cats and Bob Roarty and Jan Bolgla, the husband and wife owners.

Jan was busy on the phone with customers during our visit, but Bob was so kind and generous with his time, leading us both through the labyrinth of wonderful book rooms, each more interesting than the next. I love that different subjects get their own rooms and we had a grand time talking shop, examining some of the gems in his rare books section (a signed Finnegan's Wake! a signed Gone with the Wind! Tasha Tudors in jackets!). Every once in a while, his delightfully exuberant employee Mallory would whoop or snort from her corner cubby to punctuate our discussion, and that made me laugh every time.

I wish I had more time to browse, but with hungry teen in tow and mindful of the 7 pm closing time (which we exceeded by far) my perusal was limited to the American history section. I am always looking to replenish our colonial history and Revolutionary War shelves, as well as our upstate New York history selections, so I did leave with an armload of books that filled up my airline suitcase to its 50 lb. limit.

Bob probably would have kept the lights on all night for us, so generous was he with his time and kindness, but after providing us with a short linguistics lesson to help us in our travels ("all y'all" is the plural of "y'all", "the great Unpleasantness" refers the Civil War) and some detailed instructions to get us to Fat Matt's Rib Shack for dinner, we reluctantly left. Bob also practically adopted my daughter into the family should she end up at Emory, so I am very grateful to everyone at Atlanta Vintage Books. Talk about the fabled Southern hospitality!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our February 2012 Bookshop Hours

We are taking our annual break during the month of February at Old Saratoga Books and will be open for reduced hours: Fridays and Saturdays from 12 noon to 5 pm. Our shop will be back to the normal schedule above on Thursday, March 1st, 2012. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Arrivals in the Bookshop

Despite my entreaties over the phone and cyberspace to the many who contact us each day about wanting to donate or sell us books, ("We're REALLY quite full right now, so we're not buying all that much" is my usual refrain), there are boxes of books that arrive daily at Old Saratoga Books and Dan and I find that we can't resist a fresh batch of interesting books.

Sometimes it's a pile of orphaned books left on our doorstep when we open up and often it's a mound of garage sale leftovers, festooned with colorful price stickers. Most of these volumes end up in our to-be-donated-to-whatever-library-is-next-in-line-for-a-fundraiser-book-sale. Then there are those folks who show up with really lovely, unusual books that we've never seen before, and though the shelves are groaning from all the New Year declutterers that have brought us books, we simply pull out the check book and sigh.

In recent weeks we've bought many, many baking cookbooks from a former culinary student, boatloads of fishing and gardening books, a spate of books about film history and biographies about Hollywood's Golden Age, interesting pop-ups and books about paper art and origami, some antiquarian art and history titles, scads of classic science fiction paperbacks, and quite a nice pile of literary biographies. I've only put a handful of these titles online, so if you are interested in any of these areas, feel free to inquire about what's on the shelves.

Here's a little sampling of what these new collections contain:

 Ritz, Charles; Piper, John A Fly Fisher's Life NY Crown Publishers 1973. Reprint Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket.Foreword by Ernest Hemingway, introduction by Arnold Gingrich. Large octavo. Green cloth binding. Many photos and illustrations. Jacket lightly tattered. In jacket protector. ; Large 8vo 9" - 10" tall; 285 pages.

 Lewis, C. S.; Como, James T. C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences
NY Macmillan Company 1979. First Printing Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket. n jacket protector. Index, alphabetical index to the writings of C. S. Lewis, bibliography. A compilation of memories about C. S. Lewis from 22 of his friends. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 299 pages.

Reichert, Mickey Zucker; Nye, Jody Lynn Nye; Ranieri, Roman A. Anne Mccaffrey's the Unicorn Girl: The Illustrated Adventures. NY HarperPrism 1997. First Printing Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket.  collection of short stories based on McCaffrey's character by Jody Nye, Mickey Zucker Reichert and Roman A. Ranieri and illustrated by various artists. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 136 pages.

 Mesnier, Roland; Malard, Christian All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House. Paris Flammarion 2004.First English Language Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket. irst printing of first English Language edition. Several pages of photographs. "This extraordinary success story-told by the hero himself-of a young French pastry chef who climbed his way to the top, embodies the great American dream. After working at the Savoy in London, the George V in Paris, the Princess in Bermuda, and the Homestead in Virginia, Roland Mesnier took on the job of a lifetime as pastry chef to the White House. He provides behind-the-scenes insight into the characters, tastes, and obsessions of the five presidents and first ladies he served during his 25 years in Washington. Seventeen easy-to-follow recipes include the favorite desserts of all five presidents and their families. " (rear cover blurb) ; 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall; 344 pages

 Haddon, Kathleen Cat's Cradles from Many Lands Longmans, Green and Company 1911 First Edition Hardcover Very green cloth binding with cat's cradle figure and lettering stamped in white on front boards. Index, bibliography, many illustrations. Gift inscription penciled on front free endpaper, boards lightly rubbed. Many examples of string figures, or cat's cradles from cultures around the world, including Alaskan Inuit, the Torres Straits, Andaman Islands, Yoruba tribes, Navaho Indian tribes and others. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 95 pages.

Palestrant, S. Practical Papercraft: Over 400 Useful and Decorative Projects for Fun and Profit
NY Homecrafts 1950 Hardcover Good in Good dust jacket. any photos and illustrations. Jacket flaps glued to endpapers and endpapers darkened from the adhesive, usual library stamps and markings. Learn how to make toys, costumes, flowers, lampshades, masks, boxes, stage scenery, puppets and party decorations out of paper. ; Ex-Library; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 119 pages.

Kendall, Elizabeth The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1930s
NY Knopf 1990. First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Good dust jacket
Jacket price-clipped and curled at edges, foxing to page tops and bottoms. Index, bibliography, notes, photos. A look at the changing role of women, romantic love and how films mirrored these changes. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 285 pages.

Gorling, A. ; Meyer, Bl; Woltmann, A. Art Treasures of Germany: A Collection of the Most Important Pictures of the Galleries of Dresden, Cassel, Brunswick, Berlin, Munich and Vienna. with Portraits of the Most Celebrated Masters and Explanatory and Biographical Notices
Boston Samuel Walker and Company 1873 Hardcover Good. Half-bound in morocco with title and owner name stamped in gilt on spine. Contains 120 engravings after paintings by various European masters, including Velasquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, Titian, Murillo, Holbein, Caravaggio and many, many lesser known Dutch and German artists.

 Stevens, C. F. ; Ryskind, Morrie; Englander, James The Home Movie Scenario Book
NY Richard Manson 1927 First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Fair dust jacket
Gray boards with black cloth backstrip. Pages toned, jacket soiled and tattered. In jacket protector. Several pages of advertisements for camera stores and movie theatres. A collection of twenty plots for home movies in a silent film format, as well as chapters on how to produce, direct, act in, provide makeup, sets, lighting, and editing these home productions. Ryskind was wrote and helped produce Broadway musicals (he got a Pulitzer for "Of Thee I Sing", written in collaboration with George Gershwin) , an award-winning Hollywood screenplay author and "friendly witness" for the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947.; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 169 pages.

 Thomas, Graham Stuart The Graham Stuart Thomas Rose Book:
Sagaponack, NY Sagapress 2004 0711223971 / 9780711223974 Revised Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dust jacket.  revised, one volume edition of Thomas' trilogy of rose reference books: The Old Shrub Roses, Shrub Roses of Today and Climbing Roses Old and New. 158 color plates. Index, bibliography, line illustrations. ; 4to 11" - 13" tall; 359 pages.