I’m busy with some summer activities with Thoughtful Husband, Tom, and Huck this week, and rather than not blog at all, I will re-post some of my earliest posts. Those who are new to the blog might be wondering who I am and how I came to be an antiquarian bookseller and why I bother to write about it. If the prospect of reading about my early enthusiasm, frequent mistakes, and small victories doesn’t amuse you, rest assured I’ll be back to all new posts next Monday. I hope you are having an enjoyable summer! We are enjoying every last minute of it before Tom and Huck return to school.
The first post I ever wrote, almost two years ago, in September, 2007:
Well, hello there. I am an antiquarian bookseller, just getting established in the business. This blog is a repository for my thoughts and observations along the way. My business, Book Hunter’s Holiday, takes its name from the title of a memoir by one of the greatest booksellers of the 20th Century — the good Doctor A.S.W. Rosenbach. He is an inspiration to me.
Here’s all you need to know about me to understand the perspective that will be offered on this blog:
After resigning from my job as an English teacher to stay home and raise my two sons, I was lonely for books. Books have been a constant in my life since I can remember, and, being a mother to two little boys under the age of two often didn’t allow time for reading anything more than the front page of the local newspaper. When my youngest son (now seven) turned two, a friend recommended I read Nicholas Basbanes’s history of book collecting, A Gentle Madness. Mesmerized by the topic, I sped through the thick tome, drowning in a downpour of words. So ended what I have come to regard as the Great Reading Drought of 1998-2002. Little did I realize then that what I read would open a floodgate of opportunity.
Although I’ve had bookish jobs since about age 15 – for a local bookstore, in a university library, for a book publisher, and, after college, as a high school English teacher — my response to Basbanes’s book was, “Why didn’t I know about this before?” Although I am ashamed to admit that I knew very little about antiquarian books or bookselling, I am certain that had I been more aware of the world of antiquarian books, I’d have started my career in that field immediately upon receiving my undergraduate degree.
I began avidly collecting books in 2002 (though I was collecting books while teaching without being aware that that was what I was doing) with an eye towards turning this hobby into a business when my youngest child entered first grade. In addition to simply collecting books, I read as much as I could on book collecting and bookselling. I attended any book fair within a 200-mile radius of my home. I was fortunate enough to find a local ABAA bookseller who was willing to take on the task of being my mentor, and I even got the great experience of working for him at the 2007 ABAA Fair in San Francisco. Only a few weeks ago, I attended the Colorado Antiquarian Book Market Seminar at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
This fall, my youngest son enters first grade. For the first time in ten years, a significant chunk of time can be freed up each day to focus on establishing my business in a professional manner. I have a business license, a resale number, and a website. I am exhibiting at my first book fair in September and expect to publish my first print catalogue in the coming months.
I am just a beginner, but I consider myself a bookseller. I have been an English teacher and a Mother, and though I would consider myself successful at both, I am a master at neither. Those titles, however, were conferred on me the day I earned my teaching credential and the day my eldest child was born, when I knew little about the level of expertise required by either job. I have (thankfully) improved from the early days of both jobs, but recognize I still need to learn a great deal more. Nevertheless, I thought of myself as a teacher and as a mother from day one, never as “trying to be a teacher” or “trying to be a mother”. Likewise, though I am just beginning, I consider myself a bookseller — a beginning bookseller who aspires to be an antiquarian bookseller.
Hope to see you in the stacks!