Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2009 Issue

An Update on Summer Possibilities

Bookfair

Book Fairs: magic



By Bruce McKinney

We now live in the internet age. This is the same age that just ten years ago was called the television age, which wrested the title from the "age of print" in the 1960s. The "age of information" of course scoffs at all these distinctions which it points out is just putting data in one pocket or another of the pants they have been wearing from the beginning of time. Where there is information there are continuing and generally always improving ways to organize it.

These "ages" though do not go easily into the night. They have their advocates and lovers who will, in the case of books, as well surrender an arm as give up their relationship to print. Print advocates do not exactly rage [to paraphrase D. H. Lawrence] but neither do they meekly accept that which comes next, Googlefication. They like the printed word in its many iterations and are prepared to seek it out at shows even if the frequency of such events decline and the distance between them increases. I'm speaking of course about book fairs, book shows, and their cousins once removed - storytelling fairs which provide the narrative without any wear and tear on the eyes.

Come summer, true believers are gassing up their Packards and Desotos and setting out - sometimes over great distances - across plains, up mountains, crossing a dozen zipcodes and more, to find groups, meetings and associations of the like-minded for whom the internet is a way to find a book fair, not a way to read a book. For these souls books and the printed word is a shared and sharing experience. For them, these fairs are the necessary proof, the needed evidence and reconfirmation that others share the same feelings, interests and needs. "I am not alone" is the unstated mantra of this receding generation that loves books but finds itself ever more distant from the new media, the new style, the new everything.

If the distances and periods between events increase so be it.

Fifty years hence those today under twenty will make similar journeys. They will bring their ancient iPhones and Blackberries, travel to mountaintops to commune with others for whom historical memory is clearer than the plan for tonight's dinner. They too will lament change and remember that things were better in the past. Their grandchildren will ask their Moms "why is Grampa so happy?" It will be hard to explain but understandable to the lucky group who feel the urge to be there, among friends, connecting with information in ways that resonate for them, they the Civil War reenactors of the 21st century information wars.

If you need to scratch a literary itch there are 23 events this summer in Japan, North America and Europe. You may buy nothing but gas and lunch but find communities of people who share your relationship to the printed word.

Here is a list of events this summer in disparate places such as Tokyo [where you can see antiquarian material of all descriptions] all the way to Vermont from where you can see Ben & Jerry’s.

Book fairs really are the magic of possibilities.

This list is in alphabetical order. For a list in date order click here.

Barnes & Noble Book Store
765 Rt. 17 South
Paramus, New Jersey
www.FlamingoEventz.com
Aug 28 and 29

Book & Paper Advertising Show
Agricultural Hall
17th & Chew Streets
Allentown, PA
Jul 31 to Aug 1st
www.bookfairs.com
Jul 18

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Edinburgh, Scotland
phone: 44 131 228 5444
email: admin@edbookfest.co.uk
www.edbookfest.co.uk
Aug 15 to 31st

Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference
Oxford, MS
phone: 601-232-5993
www.outreach.olemiss.edu/events/faulkner
Jul 19 to 23

Festival at the Edge
Shropshire, England
www.festivalattheedge.org/
July 17 to 19

Folk Humor, Storytelling and Cowboy Gathering
Mountain View, AR
phone: 870-269-3851
email: ofcmusic@mvtel.net
www.ozarkfolkcenter.com
Aug 7 and 8

Harlem Book Fair
New York, NY (W. 135th St.)
For more information http://www.qbr.com
July 18

Iowa Storytelling Festival
Clear Lake, IA
phone: 641-357-6134(Jean Casey)
email: clplib@netins.ncl
July 24 and 25

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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