Chapter 704 Also Seen Around the Book Fair in Pasadena, Or, Legends of Southern California

I have a few more photos from the book fair to share with you, photos of various books, booksellers, and related items.  Hope you enjoy!

I just like the cover of this book, and its title fits the way I will remember this particular book fair:

IOBA (Independent Online Booksellers Association) Officers — Vice President Howard Prouty of ReadInk on the left and President Joachim Koch of Books Tell You Why on the right.

I am in love with the hand-colored frontispiece of this miniature book:

Cute series books from Tavistock Books:

I’m a sucker for Italian books with lovely bindings (yes, these shown below are mine, some of which sold during the course of the fair). If you have any like these, and are interested in selling them, please let me know.

You can’t go to southern California without thinking about the movies.  This circa 1887 Isaiah West Taber photo album of San Francisco, Yosemite, and parts of southern California is ready for its close up. Coming soon to a theater near you . . .

. . . it’s ABAA Book Fair, The Movie! No, really. Cinestories is making a short promotional piece about the book fair and filmed many of the books on display at the fair, including a couple of my own. I really hope my books don’t end up on the cutting room floor. I and many other booksellers were also interviewed for the short film they’re making.  It was exhilarating and exciting! It was also extremely awkward! I am definitely not a natural in front of a camera. I made them let me “practice” my answers once so that I could avoid saying aloud California-isms that, after living here my entire life, I cannot avoid saying, things like “like” and “um” and the worst one of all, “totally awesome!” What kind of antiquarian bookseller says “totally awesome”?  (Answer: Apparently I do when nervous or excited, but I try to keep that to my internal dialogue with myself. It’s not pretty on-screen or at a dignified antiquarian book fair.)

Nervousness aside, it was totally awesome being interviewed. 🙂

I didn’t get enough of a chance to leave my booth and walk around and take more photographs, so these next are from my own booth again. Note to self: Do not expect to have time to walk around at a fair with 200 booksellers if you expect to stay at your booth and sell books to the 2,500 people who walked through the door. Next time, enlist a friend as an assistant. Assistants are, like, totally awesome! I’m sorry. I’m in a humorous mood today, and I can’t help myself. At least I have until now avoided the other really awful California colloquialism — totally rad.  As in, my bookselling good luck charm — the Dante bookend  — is totally rad and I am so glad he came to this fair to bring me good luck.

My other bookselling good luck charms — a poker chip from a poker tournament I won and a St. John medal. St. John of God is the patron saint of booksellers. He was himself a bookseller in Spain in the 1500s.  I bring these good luck charms along because I need all the help I can get and to remind me that antiquarian bookselling is part having good books, part knowledge and skill, part gambling, and part hoping and praying that your fair is a good one.

One of the best things about a book fair is that you often dine out or have drinks with colleagues at the end of the day. Some of my colleagues are real foodies, always seeking out the best restaurant in town or the most exotic type of food. Bookselling adventures combined with culinary adventures are terrific. It’s always a pleasure to eat with my food-loving friends, because then you get desserts like this one:

Totally rad:  Ken Sanders, me, and Cynthia Gibson being regaled with antiquarian bookselling legends in the Sheraton lounge at the end of the last day of the fair.

See you in the stacks!


Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Book Fairs

11 responses to “Chapter 704 Also Seen Around the Book Fair in Pasadena, Or, Legends of Southern California

  1. Taylor Bowie

    Chris, I really enjoyed reading your account of your first ABAA fair…I recall having some of the same nervous feelings when I did my first ABAA show exactly 30 (!) years ago in LA, at the late and much lamented Ambassador Hotel. But I had a blast at that show, and at this most recent one as well…you captured the fun and good spirits of the event very well!

  2. Sounds like a marvelous time! And I’m sure you did better in that interview than you think you did. I loved seeing your photos … one of these years I should go to the fair.

  3. Good Morning Chris,
    Google Alert brought me to your blog because it referenced Saint John of God. By coincidence we are only a few days from his feast day March 8th. Born in 1495 he died on his 55th birthday March 8th. He is better known as Patron Saint of the Sick. There is a great biography “John of God:Loco in Granada” on amazon.

    • Thank you for telling me about the book, Brother Finnian, and for reading my post on the book fair. I know St. John of God is best known as Patron Saint of the Sick, but have been told by a reliable source that he is also known as the Patron Saint of booksellers. I did not know of any other saint specifically for booksellers. Do you know of any? If so, please let me know. I can use all the help I can get. Also, there are more than a few who’d say collecting and selling old books has a tinge of sickness to it, so I suppose he might be a good fit for us booksellers either way. 🙂 In any case, thanks for your comment.

      • Hi Chris; nice to meet you on the “cyber continent” Here in Dublin it’s 5.00 pm. There is another “John the Bookseller” he is Russell Hobbs at John is the “main man” for booksellers, based on his venture into that zone before his dramatic conversion experience. He is also the patron saint of firefighters for his VERY success ful response to a fire at the Royal Hospital [July 3rd 1549] where he himself had been incarcerated twelve years earlier. He needs “missionaries” like you to make him better known.

  4. Bill

    Totally rad and awesome post!

    Wish I could have been there.

  5. Bill

    Saw this quote in Michale Dirda’s book Readings and thought of your good luck charm: “I yearn for a bust of Dante to place on a bookcase.” 🙂

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