Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chapter 723 Scholarship Opportunity

Lots going on here at the moment. I am working hard at my new teaching job and loving every minute of it, and I also had the great opportunity to attend and sell books the California International Antiquarian Book Fair in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago — my second ABAA book fair. Of the two dozen or so fairs I have done in the past six years, this fair was the second best I have done, in terms of sales. I had such a fun week, and I long to post more about it, but time simply won’t allow it at the moment. I’m also preparing for the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair on March 23 and busy running Tom and Huck to their various sports activities — Crew (rowing) for Tom and basketball and football for Huck. I keep reminding myself that summer is coming and that, though I’m busy now, I have lots of plans for the blog come summer!

I do have some other news, however, that I thought all of you new antiquarian booksellers and aspiring antiquarian booksellers might like to know:

Northern California Chapter (NCC)

of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA)
George Robert Kane Memorial Scholarship
Application for Summer/Fall 2013

In memory of long-time member George Robert Kane (Oct. 6, 1913 – Nov. 28, 2009), the Northern California Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America announces the availability of an Educational Scholarship. In the interest of promoting professionalism and education relevant to the antiquarian book trade, persons currently working in or actively pursuing a career in the book trade are especially encouraged to apply. The Scholarship will pay tuition cost (to $1,250) for participation in a course of study offered by the following programs in the Summer/Fall of 2013:

California Rare Book School (Los Angeles)
Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (Colorado Springs)
Rare Book School (Charlottesville, Virginia)

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m., May 10, 2013. The NCC/ABAA will notify scholarship applicants of its award decision via email by May 26, 2013. Scholarship applications may be submitted via an email attachment to the Chapter Secretary, Chris Lowenstein, at chris AT bookhuntersholiday DOT com or by regular mail to Chris Lowenstein, Chapter Secretary, c/o Book Hunter’s Holiday, 3182 Campus Drive #205, San Mateo, CA 94403.

To apply for the NCC/ABAA Educational Scholarship, please provide the following:

• A completed copy of the application form.
• A personal statement or essay (no longer than two pages) in which you describe your past or current experience in the world of rare books, your goals for the future, and what you hope to gain from the studies afforded by this scholarship.
• Professional references or letters of recommendation are welcome, but not required.

Please email Chris Lowenstein (me!) at the address listed above to obtain an application form.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Collective Returns, Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs

CollectiveFinal (2) (dragged)

The Collective Returns: A Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs

Last year at this time, a group of bookselling friends who span the coasts of the country decided to jointly produce a catalogue of books for sale at the California book fairs in February. It was such a success that we decided to do it again. I am happy to present The Collective Returns: A Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs. Click on the link (not the image) to download a PDF or come visit us at the book fairs and get your very own print copy. This year I featured some original Dante art by California artist Sandow Birk. Click on the PDF link and you can see it for yourself.

Here are a few other books that I hope to have time to preview here at the blog in the week prior to San Francisco’s California International Antiquarian Book Fair (February 15-17, 2013):

* A lovely, small collection of fine press books.

* Beautiful books with hand-painted bindings or handwritten content.

* Ephemera and photography printed in San Francisco prior to the 1906 earthquake and fire.

* A few books and menus of interest to cocktail and mixology afficionados.

* A photo album with many original photos of San Francisco in the days immediately after the 1906 earthquake and fire, taken by a professional photographer.

* A set, complete in 13 volumes, of Campaigns of the Civil War (published in 1881 by Charles Scribner’s Sons and written by some of the major military, political, and historical figures who were part of the Civil War.)

* And of course, some new Dante items, new items written by or about American women, and new Western Americana.

See you at the fair!

4 Comments

Filed under Book Fairs, Catalogues, Uncategorized

Chapter 722 Don’t Call It A Comeback, Or, The Bookseller Returns

DSCN4666

Bookmark courtesy of my friends at The Book Shop in Covina, California.

For several months now, I’ve been trying to return to regular posting on the blog and every time I do, it seems my time for writing is thwarted by other circumstances. I’m back. Again. For now. Don’t call it a comeback, because posting may not last and it definitely won’t be daily, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Where have I been the past few months?

Are you ready for this?

I’ve expanded my bibliophilic duties to include along with bookselling another job I used to do long ago and really enjoyed. That’s right, I’ve been working at a local high school since last April.

And I’ve been tutoring some visiting students from China in English since the fall semester began.

As of last week, I began teaching freshmen and sophomore English — five classes of about 30 students apiece.

Why?

There are various reasons, many of which are interesting only to me.  One of the reasons that is worth mentioning to the book-loving readers of this blog is that if there is to be a next generation of book collectors, we who sell books must first encourage a generation of book lovers, of people who understand that reading a printed book is a different experience than reading a back-lit screen.  Many antiquarian booksellers worry about whether the generation coming up — a generation raised on the digital device — will, when they come of age, bother with something as archaic as book collecting.  Some even wonder if they’ll bother with something as archaic as book reading. 🙂

Being a mother of two people who are part of the digital generation, I have an especially vested interest in this concern.  I want my own children and my students to know the satisfaction of reading well-chosen words. The scent of ink sunk into fibrous paper like salve into a wound. The alluring glint of gleaming gilt, beckoning a reader to the contents inside. The story of another, someone whom the poetry of Christopher Morley describes as “A voice of human laughter or distress/A word that no one needs as much as I.” The satisfying “thunk” of a well-read book slammed shut when the story is spent. The passionate discussion of what makes a book great. Books provide pleasure and insight on all levels.

Idealistic?

Naive?

Crazy?

Perhaps.

But so antiquarian bookselling seemed to me when I started Book Hunter’s Holiday back in 2007, and I’m still here.

It goes without saying that Book Hunter’s Holiday will keep on bookin’. I’m not closing the business, but you’ll see less of me online than in previous years. I’ll definitely see you at the 46th International Antiquarian Book Fair in San Francisco in February. In the meantime, look for some posts to preview what I’ll be bringing to the fair.

See you in the stacks and in the classroom!

4 Comments

Filed under A Family Business, Getting Started, Uncategorized

Chapter 719 Women, Books, and Art

I found this frontispiece page of a book recently.  I like how the woman portrayed in the picture is so engrossed in her book that she appears not to notice nor to care about the person who is watching her — the artist who drew and then engraved this picture. That artist paid close enough attention to his subject to capture the sheen of her hair, the shadow on her neck, the filigree of her fine lace collar and cuffs.   The attention to detail, while typical of engraved frontispiece portraits, makes me think that the artist is capturing an important interaction — that between a reader and her book. While I’m not an art collector, this frontispiece inspired me to look around for art that featured women reading books.  These days, with more women than men reading electronic books rather than the printed kind, this sort of bookish art may become a thing of the past.  Here are a few more:

See you in the stacks!

2 Comments

Filed under Book Finds, Literary Influences, Uncategorized

Chapter 718 Best Loved Descriptions of Autumn, 2012 Edition

Long-time readers of this blog  may recall that just about every year I post my favorite literary descriptions of my favorite season — autumn — many of them from one of my favorite authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder. You can see previous choices here, here, and here.

One of the reasons I do this is so that I can remind myself that the seasons are changing and that autumn is indeed a beautiful season, even if you have to look for it to find it here in California, where the year-round weather can best be described as warm-but-not-hot and cool-but-not-cold.  The mild climate makes for comfortable living, but sometimes the seasons have a rather uninteresting sameness to them.

Despite the fact that the calendar says autumn has arrived, the temperatures in the Bay Area this week are supposed to be in the 80s, which seems hot enough for summer to me.  Even though Autumn officially began on September 22, my hibiscus plant, a sign of high summer in other parts of the country, did not get the memo:

And the Japanese Maple tree in the backyard has only just been notified that autumn may indeed be around the corner. A very few leaves are turning colors, but not enough to convince me it’s autumn:

No matter. Undaunted, I decorate my home with various things to bring the feel of autumn into the house, since it can not easily be found outdoors.

An old red serving tray I inherited from my grandmother, spruced up with some small pumpkins and an acorn garland.

(Do not pay attention to the tacky silk flowers. I am too busy to water real ones on a regular basis.)

A centerpiece filled with a scented candle (cinnamon), and, um, I guess I’ll just admit it, faux fruit.

(Plastic faux fruit is also tacky, but it does bring nice autumnal hues to my living room.  Don’t judge. I’m a bookseller not an interior decorator.)

A welcoming fall wreath on our front door. This one’s made of real oak leaves.

And now we can get to the matter at hand — 2012’s Best-Loved Description of Autumn! This year’s selection is an excerpt from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Town on the Prairie, the chapter entitled, “Snug for Winter”.  If you’re looking for autumnal evocation, for something to make you feel warm and cozy, you can’t go wrong with a title like that.

In this chapter and in this particular book, the Ingalls family is preparing to move from their homestead on the prairie into the little town of DeSmet, South Dakota for the winter. After the previous, extremely harsh winter caught the family unprepared and almost caused them to starve to death, the family has decided this year to winter in town and to move there before winter actually arrives. (See the book The Long Winter for that harrowing tale of . . . well, of a really long, very cold winter on the frontier.) The houses in town are of sturdier (read: warmer) construction, and supplies for the winter can be more easily replenished than out on the cold, desolate prairie. School, another harbinger of autumn, has just started for Laura and her sister Carrie:

All through the pleasant fall weather Laura and Carrie were busy girls. In the mornings they helped do the chores and get breakfast. Then they filled their dinner pail, dressed for school and hurried away on the mile walk to town. After school they hurried home, for there was work to do until darkness came. Saturday was a whole day of busy working, in a hurry to be ready to move to town. Laura and Carrie picked up potatoes while Pa dug them. They cut the tops from turnips and helped Pa pile them in the wagon. They pulled and topped the carrots, too, and the beets and onions. They gathered the tomatoes and the ground-cherries.

All day long while the girls were in school, Ma made preserves of the red tomatoes, of the purple husk-tomatoes, and of the golden ground-cherries. She made pickles of the green tomatoes that would not have time to ripen before it froze. The house was full of the syrupy scent of preserves and the spicy odor of pickles.”We will take our provisions with us when we move to town this time,” said Pa with satisfaction. “And we must go soon. I don’t want another October blizzard to catch us in this thin-walled little house.”

“This winter isn’t going to be as hard as last winter,” Laura said. “The weather doesn’t feel the same.”

“No,” Pa agreed. “It isn’t likely this winter will be as hard, nor come as soon, but this time I intend to be ready for it when it does come.”  He hauled the oat straw and the corn fodder and stacked them near his haystacks in town. He hauled the potatoes and turnips, beets and carrots, and stored them in the cellar of his store building. Then busily all one Monday evening and far into the night, Laura and Carrie helped Ma pack clothes and dishes and books.

Whatever temperatures autumn brings to your part of the world, I hope you’ll join me in marking the change of season.  What’s your favorite description of autumn?

See you in the stacks!

4 Comments

Filed under Laura Ingalls Wilder, Uncategorized

Chapter 716 Back to Work, Back to School, Back to Books

If you’re still checking on this blog after the past several months, I am amazed. And if you’re still there, yes, I am still here. The blog and I have been silent for months for a variety of reasons, most of which are not compelling to anyone but me. To all who have emailed or called or asked in person, thank you. I very much appreciate all who noticed my absence and took the time to check in with me. And even if you didn’t notice my “radio silence” until you read this very post, thanks for reading right now. I am happy to report that I am fine, that my family is fine, and that Book Hunter’s Holiday is still here. There are a few new things to report about Book Hunter’s Holiday, and I’ll elaborate on that next time I post, which will likely be after this coming weekend’s Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair.

(Poster above is a 1940 Works Progress Administration poster. I saw it recently on a bookish website, but I am sorry to say I can’t recall which one. In any case, thanks to the person who first posted it.)

See you in the stacks!

8 Comments

Filed under A Family Business, Book Fairs, Organization, Uncategorized

Chapter 713 Spring 2012 Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair Report

I should not write things like, “You can expect a full report on the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair upon my return,” because that inevitably doesn’t happen.  This time, I’m happy to report that my delay in writing a post for the blog is caused by a happy event — Phase One of our huge home repair project. After the roof sprung a massive leak right into the living room the week before the San Francisco Antiquarian Book Fair in February, we had to think long and hard about replacing the roof and seriously fixing some other long-deferred home repairs. Phase One (new roof) began today.

An insulation company is removing the old insulation from the attic/crawl space as I write. Once that’s done and we get some sunny weather, the roofer will remove the old roof, new insulation will be put up in the attic to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and then the new roof will go on. Blogging may be infrequent while we try to make the jobs of the insulator and roofer as easy as possible. We’re hoping the job is completed before rain enters the forecast again on Saturday.

(Note: I started writing this post four days ago. It’s now Saturday and the roof is covered in boards and paper (i.e. water tight). The shingles will go on next week. It’s pouring rain today with huge gusts of wind. So far. So good. I’m holding my breath until the shingles are on next week.)

Fortunately, those who have been eager to hear about the fair can read the report of S. Howlett-West Books, here.

As to my fair, it went pretty well this time. I went to Sacramento a day early and had a chance to spend a couple of hours shopping in the beautiful shop (in a cute bungalow-style home) of Barry Cassidy Rare Books.   Barry recently bought a large collection of 60,000 books, which he is moving into his shop in increments.  If you’re in the Sacramento area, I highly recommend book hunting here. You won’t be disappointed.

Barry Cassidy Rare Books in Sacramento:

After shopping at Barry’s, it was off to set up for the fair. My good friends from Carpe Diem Fine Books couldn’t join us this time, so Mr. Z. and I split a large booth space.  While there were lots of familiar faces, there were also a few booksellers trying their hand at this fair for the first time:  John Howell for Books, Michael Clausen, Asian Steppes Antiquarian Books, Shakespeare & Co. of Berkeley, Vela-Libra Booksellers, and Discoveries West Gallery and Archive.  (Note: not all of these sellers have websites, but they all have books for sale. You should plan to come to a future book fair to see their inventory for yourself.)

Here are a few photos from around the fair:

The shared booth of Book Hunter’s Holiday and Tavistock Books. (That’s Mr. Z in the orange San Francisco Giants cap. He is a die-hard Giants fan.)

The booth of Stephanie Howlett-West of S. Howlett-West Books:

John Howell of John Howell for Books keeping busy:

A few close ups of my books:

From the small collection of books (some signed) I purchased just before the fair:

Pretty books whose covers I like:

Mostly Western Americana:

A few close ups of the items in my glass counter case:

I bought some books during set-up, even purchasing a really unusual item in partnership with Mr. Z. (More on that at a later time.) I’d like to show you photos of what I purchased, but given the work that’s going on in my house at the moment, the books are all boxed up so that they don’t get dusty and I don’t have them readily accessible.  I sold books at a steady pace during this fair, a great improvement over my performance at the last March Sacramento fair.

My favorite thing about this regional fair is that it’s small size is an advantage:  one can scout the entire room in a day, the booksellers you know are nearby and it’s easy to get across the room to meet the booksellers you don’t know. Jim Kay, the promoter of the fair, does a fantastic job getting a good turnout for the fair. The aisles are crowded with people, some browsing and some buying, all bibliophiles.  This fair also has a nice mix of dealers with books at all price ranges. Good buys and good fun can be had here. The next Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair will be held on September 15, 2012. I suggest putting it on your calendar if you’re in California around that time.

See you in the stacks!

2 Comments

Filed under Book Fairs, Uncategorized