Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2008 Issue

Fifteenth Annual Central Valley Antiquarian Book Fair

Jayne Avila Books.


We did okay on sales, though gas is, of course, for those of us who have to come from out of town, the big bugaboo. Most of the dealers present were from California, but Utah dealer Ken Sanders, a couple of Washington State dealers, and at least one from Oregon, were there. We will probably come back next year just because it's so much fun. I probably won't do the winter fair as we have to depend on the weather being good coming from the Reno area over Donner Summit. It's a given that if we decide to go, we'll have six feet of snow in our driveway the night before and the pass will be closed down.

Saturday all the dealers arrived early so they could shop all the other dealers' booths. My husband always laughs and says that's why we have book fairs; we are all book junkies and we love the social part of it all. I had to chuckle because about three-quarters of the booksellers had on Hawaiian shirts (I don't think they planned it) but somehow you can spot a book dealer walking by whether they have on a Hawaiian shirt or a seller's badge. At one point, at the booth across from me, there were six dealers and one public buyer. The general public seemed to be older than last year's attendees. I think there were more thirty to forty-something buyers last year. This year the majority of the buyers seemed to be forty-to-sixty something (that included us and most of the other booksellers, too.) Maybe the thirty-somethings got caught in the mortgage crunch.

I rounded out the day by visiting with a number of sellers, all of whom said that they did okay. I found one book that I just loved. It was The Raven by Poe, but it was the large pictorial folio with the gilt cover. It was a mere $2000, so it did not come home with me.

I know one of my stories wouldn't be complete without discussing food. We have found that Sacramento has a lot of good restaurants. Our favorite, bar none, is Tower Café on Broadway and 15th. You can sit inside or outside, though at dinner it is dark outside for lack of enough lighting. We myopics need enough light to read the menu! They have good wines, an international menu, and a wonderful international décor to go with it. Their desserts are all made there and decadent to the point of euphoria in every bite. I love the place because you could just about eat there every night and never repeat a dish or have a bad meal. Also, we have a little history with Tower in that Russ Solomon, who was the founder of Tower Records, was a friend of ours way back when he first started and his first store was located there.

Rare Book Monthly

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