Monday, August 31, 2009

Countdown to the fair... and panic starts to set in.

So I knew (as in vaguely remembered and thought about it not at all) that the Labor Day weekend was coming up. I've got book fairs to worry about, we don't have plans for most weekends except soccer games (it's that season now, baseball is just winding down) and scout stuff (I got roped into doing a whole day of selling popcorn in front of a store on labor day weekend, but that's another drama that I DON'T want to think about at the moment.

I have been mentally planning exactly how much time I have to do things before I REALLY have to start the final countdown stuff (pulling the seats out of the van, starting to put the boxes of books in the van -- assuming the boxes are already filled...), getting the supplies ready, etc.

When son number one last night reminded me that he had TWO DAYS OFF coming up, I think my brain went into overload.

NO. That's not POSSIBLE.

You see, that means that FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY and MONDAY of the week I'm LEAVING for the fair (on Thursday) are nearly USELESS days for getting real work done and having the brain turned on and processing properly.

If I am counting correctly, that leaves me FIVE fairly quiet, though short, days between now and the day when I have to have everything in the van, my bag packed and every detail under the sun taken care of.

I have to make a schedule for my husband of what the boys are doing that weekend & where they need to be (of COURSE the first soccer game is Sept 12th)

I have to walk my mom through driving the boys to new schools so everything will be easy for them and her.

I have to have food bought and figured out - if not prepared ahead of time.

I have to have MY paperwork for the fair ready to go -- and you KNOW I'm going to be typing up descriptions until the last minute.

I have to have all packages / books sold ready for the post office by Wednesday night.

There's more, but this is enough to freak me out now.

Why can't Labor Day Weekend be some other time?

NO...... can you hear the wailing yet?

So today, I made the executive decision to start entering just the basic data for the piles of books around my desk and putting the books on hold. Something I was hoping I wouldn't have to do. There aren't full descriptions on them. Just author, date, price paid, condition designation, and price for the show. Hopefully, I won't end up with a batch of them next year that haven't been turned to available online like the ones I found this year.

As needs must, they say.

Wahhhhhhhh! (there's the wailing).

Friday, August 28, 2009

Some Days I Wish I Could be Paid to Read this Stuff!

What I MEAN is that this stuff, which, for the most part, I get to gloss over when I'm doing data entry -- I learn enough about the book, author, subject, etc. to write a decent description (with a few cases where I have to start googling everything about the book and learn more than I expected) but never have the chance to get to sit and read some of the ones I think are really interesting.

Take the above book. It's the translated journals (from Italian to Latin in th 1600's) of Matthew Ricci, who was the first European man to STAY in China since Marco Polo in the 1300's.

Others had tried, but failed to gain access to China at all. Matthew Ricci did gain access and ended up living there for 27 years, learning the language (written and spoken), the customs and culture and generally making himself into a near native-- while at the same time, becoming the first Missionary in China and building political, social and economic relations between the Occident and the Orient (see, I can come up with some info that SOUNDS interesting with just a bit of time to peer at a book -- imagine the verbosity I could inflict on people if I got to READ these things!)

If I had spare time, I'd love to read this book. And the nifty book about bookbinding in colonial America that also got listed today, and the Complete Journals of Townsend Harris (another early traveller who went and stayed in the Orient). All of these were books I listed on my website today (most are on hold for the book fair until after the 20th of Sept, but if you beg & plead with me before then, I might sell them) but I don't get the chance to really READ them.

Once this batch of book descriptions is done, there's always ANOTHER batch to do that has fascinating titles, intriguing books I'd love to read.

Don't get me started on my obsession with reading.

Ha -- I found out this week, after scouring through my Firsts Magazine back issues to find a particular volume, that I am now officially THREE years behind in reading all my Firsts magazines. AND my Locus Magazines get scanned then put in the same pile to read when I HAVE TIME. And then there's the reference books I want to read. And the reading for fun books...

and, and and....

If you piled up all the books, magazines, etc. that I NEED or WANT to read in one straight stack, it would probably be taller than my husband (I don't count cause according to my kids I'm dinky).

If I get time this afternoon, instead of reading, I'll be covering books with protective covers -- not reading.

But I'll be wishing I could.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nitpicky kind of day...

Today I took another stack of books I've pulled off the regular shelves (NOT the separate shelves I have set up for BOOK FAIR MATERIAL -- IE: Good stuff) which I was considering possibly taking to the book fairs with me. Mostly Picture books to fill out my boxes (mostly because I haven't been processing many NEW stock of picture books lately, as I'm working through the Military History stuff).

Since I have a rep. as a children's picture book person, I NEED stock to take along to fairs. Hence the trip through the regular shelves. I only got through the O's (I have the books shelved alphabetically by author -- I KNOW dealers all have WILDLY varying ways of shelving books. It's mind-boggling actually, the number of different ways and completely individual reasons why each one is BETTER than the other). I do have to try and get back to the rest of the alphabet before the first trip.

But the thing is, I went through most of those books today and updated my descriptions, condition information, etc. All the nitpicky stuff that needs to be done. I found some weird things that I had written back a few years ago. Some of the books have been around for at least six years. So updating is a good thing.

In the process, I got side-tracked into researching about four of them. MAN that pulls time away from other things. But I learn.

I learned that the copy of Richard Scarry's Babykins and his Family is a 1st edition, not the 1st edition thus that I noted. Also, I learned that copies of the book are not around.

I learned that a Commonplace Book is basically a book of all sorts of things the publisher things are interesting shoved into a book -- in this case, to show off a bunch of different typefaces and is a cool object for typographers.

I learned that I am going to have to READ the Gormenghast series -- not just try to sell a 1st edition of it. I found an excellent overview of the books by starting with Wikipedia and following links. Cool stuff. Not sure I'll like the books, but they sound FASCINATING.

Oh, the things you learn when you're nitpicking your day away.

Of COURSE, I STILL haven't gotten any new data entry done since Monday. I'm VERY FAR behind on getting the stack of new material entered to take to the book fairs.

I might even have to LOWER myself to entering just the author / title / date / publisher info in my database and putting the books on hold until I can update them after the fairs.

Funny story about that though -- I did this exactly once so far. Last year, in desperation, I entered just the basic info in my computer and put the books for sale at the fair. Boxed them up with the express idea of going back and fixing them AS SOON AS POSSIBLE when I got home.

That was SEPTEMBER 08. Guess what I found when going through my boxes for stuff to take this year...... you guessed it. Books that STILL didn't have updated entries.

AND, to if that wasn't bad enough (well, actually, it was a good thing as I would be embarrassed to sell something with zip description on it) the books were STILL ON HOLD!



Will I do it again? I hope not. But.... there are two weeks left before the book fairs & I have STACKS of books to enter.

Back to nitpicking.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Book Fair Stuff ... and the back

I went for the X-ray of my back. Doctor got the pic's and said, other than some scoliosis (which I THOUGHT I was luckily free of since I was checked almost every year since I was little -- does it suddenly appear?) which didn't mean much, I didn't have anything showing on the X-rays that would be bothering me.

Which means it's all soft tissue problems. So physical therapy is in order.

Not a bad answer, if you ask me. I'd rather have something that's fixable with work than something that is permanently disabling.

SO, since I was feeling marginally better yesterday, decided to go ahead and DO MY EXERCISES this morning.


Remind me one of these days how DUMB that was.

Now It's going to take longer to get back to where I was because whatever I did (and by the way, the exercises this morning were mainly help for lower back problems) made me feel ever so much NOT better.

Great. Someone duct tape me to my chair so I don't do stupid things.

On other fronts -- I'm still working on getting my boxes of books ready for the two book fairs coming up.

Santa Monica is now just over two weeks away. Normally I'd have boxes already starting to form a wall in my front room (which makes the rest of the family and the cats rather growly at me as the boxes take up room to run...)

BUT - pain has slowed me down a bit.

AND I finally got my rear in gear and ordered dust jacket covers which didn't arrive until yesterday. So, knowing that they were coming, I PUT OFF boxing up books so I could cover them first.

Now I have to put in overtime getting the covers on and figuring out exactly which books might be of interest. AND which books to leave out for Sacramento (three weeks away) and not take to Santa Monica.

And remember I'm not supposed to be lifting boxes of books or even big stacks of them.

Right now, the pain is worst when I try to bend over and stay bent over to do something - like pick up books off the floor (where they NEVER are -- yeah right) or pet the cat, or pick up kid stuff...

And of course, baseball season hasn't exactly finished yet, but soccer season HAS started. Our weekly schedule now has something in the evening every day except Friday (and maybe will have something there too), with weekends being REALLY busy.

Plenty of time to get books covered and boxed up.


As long as I don't really start to think about what's going on, I'm FINE.



Monday, August 24, 2009

Great ... now what do I do?

Well, I finally dragged myself off to the doctor to see what was wrong -- I've had some pain in my lower back on the right side which started traveling down parts of my right leg then, starting last week, it meandered over to my lower abdomen.

I thought I might have appendicitis. Great.

The pain was really starting to be a problem.

As in, I found myself sitting (actually, more a sort of odd reclining pose that reminded me of some of the romantic / pre- Raphaelite painters know -- that famous print of the Lady of Shalott by Waterhouse) on the sofa watching kids TV programs I'd seen tons of time before -- and not caring because at least if I was still, it didn't ache quite so much.

The doctor ruled out Appendicitis which is very good.

But I do have to go get an X-ray to see what the problem might be.

OF COURSE this happens just before a book fair. Book fairs mean boxing up lots of books and CARRYING said boxes from place to place.

Carrying boxes hurts.

Doctor says not to carry much of anything right now.

Yeah, this works.

So I'll get the X-ray the doctor wants (again taking time away from data entry that is lagging FAR behind what should be done) and see what the problem is. In the mean time, I get to take some anti-inflamatory stuff that seems to make me a bit slow (not helpful) and hope that what I type into the database actually makes sense later.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Santa Monica Book Fair... here's the link

It appears that tthe link is working again today. The show arrangers must have been working on it yesterday as it never seemed to do anything but spin and time out.

here's the link:

Santa Monica Book Fair

the lone link I could find for the Sacramento show is lame and mostly for dealers, so I'm not including that -- however, I will tell the organizer when I see him that he needs to add a webpage for the show. Gotta have one nowadays!

I've been entering data for the fair this week. In fact, the last couple of days made me feel like I might actually have some interesting stuff to take...

Can't tell you about it now, as I need to take it to the fair, but it's starting to feel good.

Last week I spent the week moaning to myself that I had NOTHING worth looking at.


(this by the way, is every bookseller's lament when faced with a book fair looming. All of us seem to be easily cowed by the stock of others ... well, maybe not ALL, but many dealers). What can I say, unless you're constantly working with the public in an open shop (which many are NOT now), you end up by yourself facing a computer all day and don't feel like you do much but sit on your rear end. And some of us are less than hugely confident -- speaking of myself here.

I haven't gotten to the packing part yet -- that should be coming up this next week. And if it's not, I'm LATE!!!

Hopefully I'll be able to find something else to write about for the next week or so, but if not, bear with me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Fair Schedule...

I finally got my rear in gear and decided (well, the economy helped too) to go ahead and exibit at two book fairs in September.

The first is the Santa Monica Book Fair (the link seems to be in the middle of an update today, so I'll get it for you when I can) on Sept. 12-13 in Santa Monica, CA (obviously...) It's a two day fair and is well attended by both dealers of all types and browsers / buyers (hopefully!)

The second is The Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair on Sept 19th at the Scottish Rite Temple in ... Sacramento, CA.

I'm hoping that both fairs will be AWESOME and that (crassly) people will be willing to buy things from me.

If you'd like a free pass to either, please email me and I'll send out something of have a pass waiting for you at the door.

I'm hoping that I can cram as much data entry into the next several weeks as I can -- if not, I'll even try to be less A/R then usual and actually take some stuff that isn't completely detailed in my computer before I go (GASP!)

If there's anything in particular you'd like to see there, let me know.

Oh, and there might be another book fair coming up in October for me. I'll let you know as I learn more.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Garden Behind the Moon

Howard Pyle is rightly known for his wonderfully lush color illustrations of books by other authors, and for books which he either wrote or contributed to -- Especially well known are couple of books in particular: a series of four volumes of the collected stories of King Arthur, and the Tales of Robin Hood (which he altered to fit his needs rather willy-nilly). The vivid use of color and action in his art was, in its own way, pioneering. Later in his life, he founded a school of his own to help teach others -- interestingly (at least to me) 40 of his students were women. The school was later recognized as the Brandywine school -- to represent the illustrators, and especially the Wyeth family of artists and their particular view and artistic outlook.

The illustrations in this particular book are all black and white line drawings, but still the artistry and the movement Pyle was able to convey in duotone is quite exceptional.

Very detailed work here.

Even though the illustration is a bit farther away visually than I'd like for this (remember my camera skills), you can still see the emotion on the faces of the people in this plate.

(PS: I'm going to have to try to get a scholarship to the Rare Book School in Virginia for next summer -- several people I know have gone and had a wonderful time -- learned lots too -- so now I'm jealous and need to go too! Also, I could use some study in types of prints & how they were / are made).

This particular book is from 1895 and is one of the last books he wrote and illustrated.

Pyle died in 1911 in Florence Italy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tale of a One-Way Street

Ths wonderful book is part of a series of works of short stories that Joan Aiken started in the late 1960's. All of the books in the series were illustrated by a fairly new illustrator named Jan Pienkowski. Of course, later on, Jan Pienkowski became quite famous for the weird and wonderful pop-up books he created (and still creates today). In this book, there are no pop-ups, but the way the black and white illustrations are backed by vivid colors, making the images pop out at you -- almost as if they WERE true pop-ups.

The stories in this particular book are mostly fantasy /adventure stories -- "what if" themes:

"What splendid things you can remember, even if they didn't happen (like the zebra you got for your birthday or all the doughnuts in the world which you ate without being sick), if you hold the leaf of a memory tree in the palm of your hand..."

I haven't come across this combination of Jan Pienkowski and Joan Aiken before -- I wonder why. Now that I have, I'll be on the look out for more.

And, for those of you thinking about commenting --- yeah, I need to get a better picture of this up. I'll try. And maybe even some of the illustrations too.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New School - New Day

Son number two started school today -- at a new school -- and on a new schedule. The schedule is what in California (or at least our school district) is called a "Modified A Track" schedule. Which is a change from what had gone on in the years prior (before $ cuts from the state.... let's not even get into THAT fiasco).

Previously, the elementary school near us had three "tracks" which meant that they could shove more kids into each school per year since our district was bloated with kids and rather lean on extra classrooms and teachers ($$ looms again) plus there was a bonus for the schools that had a limit of 20 students per class for grades K - 3(?). At any rate, now that the budgets have all been cut students are shoved in any which way to fit the building (36 students per class is now not unusual -- at least that's what I've heard from some of the teachers in the area ), so the schedule didn't have to go all wonky -- BUT -- it wasn't going to go back to a "Traditional" school year.... why, I don't know.

Son number two is used to a traditional schedule -- and for that matter, he's been going to a private school since Kindergarten. This year (4th grade) the economic situation meant that a school change was necessary.

So far, things seem ok. He did say that the stuff he's starting with is stuff he learned way back at the beginning of 3rd grade, but that might be just review. We'll see where things fall as the months go on.

For me, it means one less family member home during business hours -- which is change from summer vacation. The rest will be going about their business / school by the end of August & I'll be back to WORK with out too many interruptions! (what an awful Mom I am.... :) )

And if that wasn't good enough, this afternoon, in a fit of efficiency, I'm actually starting to tackle March's monthly totals / taxes.