Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en!

Small post today, being it's Hallowe'en...

Two soccer games this morning -- BOTH at 8:00 AM (which means we have to BE there by at least 7:30AM)



Getting people out of bed at 6:30 this morning was not easy.

BUT,  on the good side, both games were wins for our teams. YEAH!

Then it was off to San Jose to spend time with Aunt J, Ruby and Nikki.

Pictures of the fun will be posted later.  I'm tired, we have to hand out candy and yes, you guessed it,

I   now have the creepy crud that has gone through the house.

So sometime next week, I'll get to visit the doctor, making it FOUR visits in two weeks.


Unlike Aunt J, we bought the sugared stuff to hand out (and keep the rest for ourselves).  Soon, the pitter patter of little scary monsters and pretty princesses will be coming our way.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Open wide and say Ahhhhh....

No work done today due to the third doctor visit in a week (yes, let me think about that.... last Friday, this Wednesday....and today. )yup, three in one week's time.

First, son number two came down with a sinus infection. Nothing new around this house (and surprisingly, the first of this new school year -- usually he gets one the first month of school).  Then son number one caught it and added on bronchitis.  Again, nothing new -- we have allergies and asthma. We get stuff. We deal with it.

BUT ...

Wednesday was the last day of meds for son number two and he was feverish, tired, cranky and not exactly a picture of wellness.

So, after waiting a day just to be sure .... he woke up this morning with a HUGE (according to him) headache, the coughing was non-stop and he was still tired.  So, doing the good mom thing, I took him in.

This time it's a virus.

On top of the bacterial infection of last week.

Nothing we can do but let it take its course.

So instead of working (in truth, I WAS working, as I did some reading for review while plunked in the waiting room of the doctor's office... and when I got back from the rounds of driving thither and yon, I did start MAY'S  taxes... which is GOOD)  I carted son number two around to doctor, pharmacy, here, there and everywhere.

In other news, I'm trying to decide if I want to attend / exhibit at the Pasadena Book Fair.  I've done it the last three years & it's been decent -- but -- the schedule changed this year from June to December.

There's booths available.  Hotel prices are better than expected (really!)  and I have a MONTH to get my mind around the idea (and pack, etc).

Anyone have an opinion?

I'm going to decide by the end of next week if I will or not.  Right now, I'm leaning towards going.

let me know what you think.


keep your fingers crossed that I don't get the gunk running around the house.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fishing... with friendly DAWG....

Since we weren't able to make it to the Boy Scout camp out last weekend (due to illnesses which have persisted, unfortunately), son number two INSISTED on going fishing at our favorite spot.

We drive out into the foothills around Sonora (well, actually  before you get to Sonora) at a place called Knight's Ferry. The oldest covered bridge on the west coast still sits there (repaired and replaced several times after flooding,  but still old), the Stanislaus River runs under the bridge, and there are walking trails and spots to do fun things like swim and FISH!

We headed out as usual, fishing pole, tackle box, food and sundries in hand to the easy fishing spot.  We had been there about ten minutes when a lady and her dog, Zoe, wandered up. The lady was looking for a spot to do a bit of gold panning (as I saw another person carrying gold panning gear as well -- it's the lure of $1500.00 an ounce for gold right now) so we shared a quiet, warm spot.

Son number two tired of fishing early on in exchange for helping with the gold panning. (She was a very nice lady who had grand children, so knew just how to deal with a curious helper).  The best part though, was her dog. Zoe, the dog, decided that watching out for son number two was her job, which meant following son number two around, sitting on his lap (they're about the same size, really) and playing in the bushes.  As we have no dogs, it was lots of fun.

The thing is, fishing is a WET business (if you're son number two) and by the time I finished getting the fishing pole untangled for the third time, his shirt was soaked, so I gave him my extra to wear. (Yes, he does have shorts on underneath).

By the end of the day, we had learned lots about gold panning we hadn't known (and that son number two wants to get a gold pan of his own to try out -- either that or a metal detector), got to play with a cool dog, and had a great afternoon.

Remember that Find I mentioned a couple of weeks ago?

Do you?

I know, remembering things you read on blogs is probably not up at the top of your list of things to do, so I'll give you a quick reminder.

About three weeks ago, I decided to go out book hunting. I kept thinking I was going in the wrong direction and then WHAM, found a GOOD book. Remember now?

At the time, I didn't want to mention the book until I had done a bit more research.


I finally got the book listed in my database with detailed information.

The book is

Compiled by the Missionaries of the Society of Jesus Part II: English- Kalispel
Giorda, Rev. J.  (also Joseph Bandini, Gregory Mengarini, Joseph Guidi and Leopold Van Gorp)

this is what it looks like:

and here's my LONG description:

 Giorda, Rev. J.  (also Joseph Bandini, Gregory Mengarini, Joseph Guidi and Leopold Van Gorp): A DICTIONARY OF THE KALISPEL OR FLAT-HEAD INDIAN LANGUAGE : Compiled by the Missionaries of the Society of Jesus Part II: English- Kalispel. 1879 (1877-1879). St. Ignatius Print. Montana. Hardcover. 1st Edition/ Later state wrappers. VG+ / NONE. Volume II only: the Kalispel - English portion of the dictionary.  Originally published in wrappers (paper covers) this copy has been case bound by a previous owner at some later date. The case binding is a plain light brown buckram cloth binding with gilt lettering and rules to the spine of the book. The binding has some very light rubbing and edge wear. 456 numbered pages plus added endpapers, a blank sheet behind front and rear endpapers, later state plain wrappers (in this particular case, mottled grayish paper with writing to the recto (partial advertising for another book printed by this publisher in 1886) - this page has a large chip missing from the bottom edge starting at the bottom corner and working it's way inward along the bottom edge. Next is another blank, this time heavily toned, followed by a title page and a preface, a key to pronunciation and a key to both parts of the dictionary. The  original rear wrapper verso includes an advertisement for May Blossoms from the Rocky Mountains in Honor of the Blessed Mother of God by a Father of the Society of Jesus, dated 1886.  Apparently, this copy was not bound until 1886, though the contents itself is from the original printing.   From Analysis of A Dictionary of the Kalispel or Flat-head Indian Language (Giorda, S.J.: St. Ignatius Print, 1877-9) by Steven M. Egesdal, Ph.D comes this fascinating overview of the work:   "Giorda first came to the St. Ignatius mission in Montana in 1867. He was a polyglot apparently gifted with special linguistic ability. 5 The Jesuit Oregon Province Archives contains a manuscript ascribed to him dated 1871. That manuscript has two parts, one Indian-English and the other English-Indian.6 The Indian-English part is about 230 pages, written on both sides. The page size is about 7½ inches by 12 inches, with about 30 entries per page. That equals about 13,800 entries. The English-Indian part is 72 pages, with about 30 entries per page conservatively, which equals about 4,320 entries. Comparing Mengarini’s 1868 Indian-English manuscript to Giorda’s 1871 Indian-English manuscript indicates that Giorda’s manuscript (i)incorporated most if not all of the material of Mengarini’s 1868 manuscript, and (ii) reorganizedand revised the material from Mengarini’s 1868 manuscript and expanded it greatly. In terms of rough, raw numbers, the overall entries in Giorda’s 1871 manuscript more than doubled. In turn,the published Dictionary further expanded and reorganized Giorda’s 1871 manuscript significantly."   And later in the paper, regarding the printing itself: "Printing of the Dictionary required three years to complete, on a hand-operated press in “The Shops”at St. Ignatius Mission. Jesuit Father Alexander Diomedi had directed its purchase and transport from St. Louis in 1875, ordered its specialized type and trained Indian boys as his typesetters. Work on the Dictionary began immediately after the press’ first product, Narratives from the Holy Scripture, a 154-page book written in Kalispel. At least 66 imprints can be attributed to the St. Ignatius Press, of which the Dictionary is easily the most significant. Because of its cost so far from supply sources, paper was usually inferior in grade, and often scraps of all kinds were used as end sheets and covers. Over time the need for printed materials in Kalispel declined, so the press was relocated to Spokane in 1899 to serve the growing needs of Gonzaga College. It was unceremoniously replaced and scrapped in 1908."  DESCRIPTION: The spine ends and corners of the book cover have a bit of  very light bumping and rubbing.  The text pages are clean and generally bright, though some pages have light toning, especially towards the edges of the pages. The quality of the print varies (from heavier to lighter ink) depending on the page.  The bottom edge and foredges of the text block are untrimmed and the text itself is uncut (unopened) at the top edge (for the most part).  Page 53 does have two longish tears starting at the top edge of the page which have been taped with clear tape by a former owner (and another smaller tear starting at the spine joint which has NOT been taped.  Several pages at the end pf the text have wrinkles to the center of the pages which appears to have happened during production or some time soon after. Overall, a generally very nice copy of a scarce title.

Now, this isn't the LONGEST description I've written, not by a long shot, but it's more description, background info and looking up on something than I've done in a while (mostly because I don't FIND such fun things to research often -- I WISH I did).

One of the questions I had about this book when I was researching it (well, for pricing, more correctly) was because this copy has been bound (the original format was paper wrappers which are still intact in this bound copy), would that make a huge difference on the price.

My answer, after deliberation was -- not really.

First of all, there are VERY few copies of this book available, no matter what the binding.

Second, the binding (though rather plain and dull, but not ugly) is actually keeping the contents of the book in better condition than if it were NOT bound.

Third, this book is collectable and useful because of its CONTENT, not it's binding.  As the book is non-fiction and very (VERY) specific, the content is more important than the fact that it was rebound.

So, the upshot of those questions was that I didn't feel that the fact that the book had been protectively bound was a detriment to the price of the item. 

Mostly, I'm just fascinated with the background, history and all the little details that I learned about the book (and the Kalispel Indians at the same time).

This is the sort of find that makes me LOVE my job.

Of course, I wish I found stuff like this every day (and wish I SOLD stuff like this regularly too  :)  ) but that's not the way this job works.

Most days, I slog along listing regular books for regular folk (which isn't a put-down by any means, these are all good books in their own way) or doing my taxes, or just moving boxes around.

Today, I get to do a bit of all of the above.  And I still enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Are you an Abecedarian?

 From Word of the Day /



1.One who is learning the alphabet; hence, a beginner.

2.One engaged in teaching the alphabet.

1.Pertaining to the letters of the alphabet.

2.Arranged alphabetically.

3.Rudimentary; elementary.

By the way, if you're fascinated by words, you can get the word of the day sent to your email address -- and learn a new word each day (well, lots of them I already knew, but, it's always nice to have a refresher).

In the case of book selling, Abecedarian generally has come to mean someone who collects books about the alphabet -- especially children's picture books with alphabets in them.

I have been trying to find more alphabet books lately for a customer who collects them -- and in the process of noticing more Alphabet books, I find that I really like them.

I have a few recent additions to my stock of Alphabet books

illustrated by Alan James Robinson, this book is filled with pictures of all sorts of wonderful birds, with little quips or interesting facts about them (in alphabetical order, of course)

this one lists all sorts of gardener's stuff including greenhouse, Japanese garden, and xeriscape)

this one takes the alphabet and turns it into a word game featuring outlandish alliterations.

And this one takes some of Norman Rockwell's best loved illustrations and turns them into an ABC book -- with the help of author George Mendoza -- in honor of the Bicentennial of the United States.

I have more alphabet books in stock, but this group came in about the same time this week and I liked them enough to show them off.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall has fallen...

Look at that evil grin -- I did take another picture after this one, but this one is so darned .... cute ... and SO fits the personality of son number two.

If you haven't guessed already, it's fall around here.

Not that we really GET fall (autumn / change of seasons, whatever you want to call it), mind you. Around here we get SUMMER and then WINTER.  There's hardly any stops in between.  It's either hot, or cold.

The leaves that we had to rake up came about not because of a few nippy days while the weather gradually drops down -- Noooooo.

We went from 100 degrees to 55 overnight and then the next day had a huge rainstorm. It turns out, that our storm was more like an on-land hurricane than not  -- if you think I'm making this up, it turns out that the weather gurus have finally decided  the once a decade deluges we suffer through which have HIGH winds with them are from a phenomena (which I can't remember at this very moment) which is really an on land hurricane-like event that only happens in a couple of places around the world (California, of course, being one of them) (I'll come up with the name in a minute... it has a stream in it ... not jet stream though).  SO -- when conditions are just right, we get innundated with water and high winds (40-60 miles an hour) in a short period of time.

Oh, now I remember -- not stream after all it's called an Atmospheric River -- look it up somewhere, it's cool stuff.

The weather gurus figured that this type of hurricane-like event is what turned central California into an inland sea back in the 1860's.

Which, seemingly, is what we had last week. It brought down tons of leaves (see the picture above which was taken early on in the raking process ... mostly because son number two left half way into the raking), it tore up trees around the valley and made a generally big mess. Luckily, it was a short event so it didn't do THAT much damage.

At the very least, it provided something for us to do on a Friday afternoon.  Raking leaves is FUN!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday, Thursday (to the tune of Monday, Monday by the Momas & the Popas)

Again, I'm SUPPOSED to be doing data entry (and tax data entry) today.

See, that's how I get paid.  I put books online, have people look them over, and then these same people go - AHA!  Just the book I was looking for, then click the buy it now button (from which ever online bookselling source of choice they choose).

BUT  --

In order for that chain of events to happen,  I have to sit down at the computer and actually TYPE IN DESCRIPTIONS (with pictures) of said books.

I've GOT books.

Tons of books taking up more and more space behind my desk, overflowing down the hall and into the furnace cubby (well, I exaggerate a tad here. They ARE in the furnace cubby / room / whatever you want to call it), but they are NOT -- currently -- filling the hallway).

However, today was not a data entry day (again), it seemed.

I had a couple of errands to run first thing this morning, so I thought to myself (SELF, said I), that I'd take the run to Costco in the morning to get it over with (well, I got a decently priced order come in and the money dropped into my hands today) before Friday, as we're supposed to go with the Boy Scouts to Monterey, this weekend on a camping trip (at least some of us -- my husband is in the middle of mid-terms for his Masters and doesn't LIKE camping).

But Costco, in its wisdom, doesn't open to the regular public until 11:00am (not the 10:00am that I thought).
Which meant, since it's across town, that I had to fiddle around on that side of town until it DID turn 11:00am.

At which point, I could just chalk the day up for getting work done (since school lets out at 2:30pm and after that, I'm on mom time), so I did.

I DID get a note off to a librarian I just recently met online who might have some information regarding a particular book I have (and I hope to find out if this library might be in the mood to BUY books somewhere down the road).

I'm writing my blog entry, so that should count for something.

I will shortly be moving a few boxes around in order to keep trying to put away books from the last book fair.

I will secretly wish that I was attending the book fair that will go on this weekend in San Francisco instead of camping.

Then I'll take a break and maybe paint a wall. (when it's finished, I might even post a picture of it -- however far down the road that may be!)

Maybe tomorrow will be a work day.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday... s'posed to be a work day, Lucy....



Except that I had to get the computer to AGREE that work was good. 

Updated my Booktrakker program (by the way, the program ROCKS for the most part, but there are times when I want to bang my head on the monitor.... programmers think differently than I do and some days it shows)

So updated.

Then tried something fancy.

Had to reboot

Tried it again (because, of course, the first time was just a fluke, right)

Crashed it again.

Third time, got smart & tried something else.

So, in between that, I spent email time figuring some things out, asking questions, following up on stuff.

Mostly, just waited for the computer to reboot.

Now it's time to pack books.

Soon it will be time to pick up kids and do the whole mom thing for the afternoon.

Maybe TOMORROW I'll work.


Oh, and as I don't have a book today, I'll pick one from yesterday when I DID get a bit of work done.

At the Sacto book fair, I picked this up as it was too cheap to pass up.

It's an early trade reprint edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with illustrations (in color) by Edmund Dulac.

Cool pictures.

Great introduction about Fitzgerald
a neat bit biographical bit on Omar Khayyam as well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Over and Over by Charlotte Zolotow

You know, back a few weeks ago I was lamenting the fact that the Sacramento Book Fair was rather a lackluster event and that I was quite disappointed in the sales garnered therein.


I gotta say, I was partly wrong.

First off, the book you see pictured above is one of the books I bought at the fair.  I had an inkling that it was more than it appeared (and more than the other dealer thought it was as well).  I was right.  Though there are still some research bits about this book that I'd like to find out (mostly twiddly stuff that interests me, not anything to change my mind on the edition of the book), I found the information that I needed to verify it's edition.  It is indeed a First edition (and not a later state either).

Not often seen in first edition and it's a generally very nice copy too, with a dust jacket in very good+ condition.

I'm quite happy with this book.

It's not the only book I picked up at the fair, and so far, just about everything I did buy (and honestly, I didn't buy much because I like to be able to PAY for what I buy, and since I didn't sell all that much.... well, let's just say that I am not in a position to gamble in a big way currently so cannot live by the book fair book seller's mantra: "buy your way out")

(some other time I'll take another pass at this phrase -- it seems the wildest crap shoot suggestion that I've ever come across, but I do know people who live by it.) 

And, on top of buying books that have  more to them then the other dealers thought, I have had more success than usual with selling books to customers AFTER the fair was over.  Some of them were books I had in stock but hadn't taken with me. Some were books I found for people with a firm interest. Some were shot in the dark quotes. 

For me, that's a really good thing.

I admit I'm terrible on follow-up. Terrible for a couple of reasons (foremost of which is shyness in that I don't want to BOTHER people or PUSH them.... not the best qualities to have if you are any kind of saleman, even a collectable book sales person), terrible because (and this happened to me again at this fair) I had recently seen copies of books that were requested in some of my normal book scouting spots -- but when I went back to pick up the books, they were GONE...

So, some customers were pleased or more than pleased with my service.  Others.... not so pleased (or actually, I don't really know what they think, as I haven't contacted them as I couldn't produce the books they were looking for).

The thing is, I guess I don't need to feel so down about a Book Fair that wasn't as immediately productive as I could have liked (you know, those bills, though, wait for no man, which is a real bummer) because in the end, it's been not so very bad at all.

As for this book -- I LOVE the illustrations by Garth Williams (best known for his work on Laura Ingalls Wilder's books.  the colors he used throughout this book are delicate, yet striking. The feel ... the look of the illustrations is very eye-catching and they pull you in for a longer look.  The also match the text nearly perfectly.

The girl who is the centerpiece of this book  (it's about a little girl aged approximately three years old) who doesn't really understand when and how holidays come around, but loves them anyway -- she asks lots of questions of her mom...and learns about the seasons and the different times of the year) ...

well, that girl is actually based on Charlotte Zolotow's daughter - Crescent Dragonwagon.  (who also turned to writing and illustrating when she grew up).  I don't know if the pictures of the little girl bear any resemblance to Crescent herself, but it's nice to think that they might.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday and clean-up day again.

So today was once again clean-up day (and unfortunately, I STILL have not finished sending out my thank you emails for book orders that were sent out today from this weekend).

Clean-up day involves checking through all the emails from the weekend that did not get answered  (checking, mind you, NOT necessarily answering just yet.... why? It depends entirely on the email).

Invoicing and packing books that sold.

checking all the blog sites I keep up with (which is getting to be entirely TOO LONG a process and which takes up a good portion of time that should be used to work on the dreaded TAXES!).


checking through the piles of papers on my desk that should actually be dealt with (again, just because they are checked does NOT mean that the final - dealt  with and filed - thing is actually finished.  I don't know about you, but I have paperwork that is in varying stages of done-ness.)  Today, I managed to drop all of these papers off my desk and onto the floor in a big heap which then had to be repositioned on several piles which are currently taking elbow room from any flat surface).

This might be a good place to remember that about two years ago I designed and then constructed (badly, very badly) a desk which had TONS of flat surface in an L shape so that I could have ROOM to get things done.  Well, the upshot of flat surface space is MORE room to PILE stuff. 


In my next life I'm going to be a major-ly organized person.  I keep thinking I'm organized... but.  :(

I thought about what needs to be done tomorrow.

I thought about what needs to be done tonight and how to get it done (tonight is scout night -- Pack meeting for son number 2, regular meeting for son number one ... and of COURSE they overlap tonight. AND son number one is getting his tenderfoot badge tonight. I'll miss it. But that's life)

I moved books up and down stairs.

I got sat on and licked by an annoying monster-fur laden cat who didn't want me to try and type over her pristine body.

I sent off letters of interesting stock for a possible sale.

Other than that, I didn't really do much today.  Again, Monday is paperwork day.

TUESDAY, on the other hand, is a regular data entry day :)

Unless I decide to drive to Stockton to scout for books.....


(and here you must REMIND ME that the now 19 boxes of books directly behind my desk are all there taking up space because they are first on the list for data entry.  I don't NEED no more stinkin' books!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Antiquarian Books: An Insider's Account by Roy Harley Lewis

I love reading books about booksellers -- when I was first a newbie book clerk (though the owners didn't call me that, I was basically a girl-of-all-work that no one else had time for or wanted to do), I got a chance to read through many of the bookseller memoirs that the owners of the store had found or bought for their own use. Even back then, when I knew NOTHING about collectable books, I found these reminiscences both intriguing, and awe-inspiring. These were men (and a few women) who were casually jotting down their encounters with the likes of Gutenberg Bibles, Caxton press books, Edgar Allan Poe first editions, rare maps, all sorts of incunabula (early printed books from approximately 1470's-1540's) manuscripts, letters written by the likes of King Henry VIII and George Washington....

When I get a chance (mostly, I have to stumble across a copy of one of the books as I generally don't go looking for them at the moment) I read more of these memoirs.  The information inside is great. I can try and remember some of the more obscure bits to help if I ever come across something unusual, or actually start to research something that catches my fancy.

Mostly I read them because these are people who do the same sort of thing I do (well......).

The latest book I found is Antiquarian Books: An Insider's Account by Roy Harley Lewis.  Lewis is an Englishman -- most famous for his guide to bookstores around England called The Book Browser's Guide (which by the way is an hilarious commentary -- he cycled around England on his bike, stopping at any used / antiquarian bookstore he could find and made notes on when it was open, the sort of stock available, etc. BUT -- his pithy, sometimes snide, sometimes hilarious asides made the book a real treasure). The book covers all of the usual subjects: Auction houses, incunabula, interesting dealers he's known, bookstores of note, etc.

One paragraph I read last night, however, really caught my eye & I thought I'd share it for it's prognostication about the future of bookselling as an endeavor:

"On the subject of investment, it may not have occurred to you but, if there were a major swing in the City or on Wall Street towards buying books as part of a commercial investment programme, unrelated to aesthetic considerations, the antiquarian-book world would in effect become a mini stock-market, as with any other commodity. With individuals and organizations buying and selling as they would stocks and shares, what would happen if someone panicked? Or, if someone spread the rumour after a reliable tip-off, that incunabula were 'out'? An apparently wild analogy, on the face of it, but to continue the hypothesis, the offloading of valuable 'property' more suddenly than the traditional book market could withstand would result in a catastrophic drop in values across the board. Admittedly, we are fifty years or so away from that sort of nightmare, but it cannot be dismissed as idle SF speculation, because the wheels have already been set in motion."  (this was published in 1978 by the way).


If you're not a book dealer currently, you might not realize just how very true those last several sentences really are.

It didn't take a stock market approach to verify that reality -- all it took was a little thing called a computer.

A computer, and the ingenuity of men and women who turned the computer into a selling machine.

What once was a stable population of knowledgeable book dealers (prior to 1995 there were approximately 10,000 book dealers of all shapes and sizes in the US -- don't ask me what the world population was, I don't have info on that)  has, because of the computerization and ease of offering the stuff  found in your garage as saleable items, turned into a population of no less than 70,000 (and that's on alone).

Add to that round the clock behind-the-scenes programs that will RE-PRICE your books for you to match the LOWEST price listed on a site (courtesy of programmers who want to HELP people sell their products more quickly), you've got the perfect storm of price wrecking.  Books that can't even be SHIPPED for the cost at which they are for sale are being offered on every venue, by people who think that selling books as widgets is not only a good thing but think (and this without actually doing any cost accounting) that they are actually making money.

Of course, after the debacle we've had with the housing bubble and the stock market going ga-ga over imaginary money, Lewis's prophecies regarding books could also be quite easily slipped into these other markets and shown to be ever so true (but as I'm lousy at investments and finance, I'll keep my nose clean by just mentioning and not going anywhere near in-depth).

As for books --  who knows where this free-fall of book values (and here we're really talking about anything that is not truly RARE, as the really rare books have gone up in price.) will end.  Right now, we're in the middle of the roller coaster ride that is book values.  Add in e-books and on-line options and all the other electronic options that will be coming our way in the next 10-25 years and all bets are off.

Who knows what will happen down the road -- not me, that's certain.

Getting back to Roy Harley Lewis....

When I picked up the book, I was expecting a good read with lots of juicy details about great and rare books, strange and wonderful book dealers, and a bit about his own life and adventures in the book trade. I didn't think I'd get food for thought about the current state of book selling, but I did.

If you ever get a chance to pick up this book, do so.  Some of the information is a tad dated (any of these memoirs is bound to have old info, especially on prices), but the stories are great, the juicy bits are still juicy, the rare stuff makes me hunger for the rarified air of the million dollar businesses, and I got to think about what it's like to sell books in my own time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

F. Earl Christy... Illustrator

F. Earl Christy (who's no relation to Howard Chandler Christy) was an illustrator who produced art work in a variety of mediums. After finishing art school at the Pennsylvania Acadamy of the Fine Arts, he went into commercial illustrations, especially post cards (c 1905-1906)  (he was born in 1883, and died in 1961). During that time he gravitated to illustrations of women -- most particularly illustrations of college women and women in active sports. There is a series of postcards illustrated by Christy featuring women of the Big Four colleges (Yale, Harvard, etc.) which is now quite collectable.  He went on to produce magazine covers of all sorts, including illustrations of well known actresses of the day in particularly flattering poses, book cover art / dust jacket art such as the one shown above which modernized Sir Walter Scott's fair maiden in a completely unbelievable way (Ivanhoe is set in the time of Old England -- Robin Hoodish time) so the wonderful picture hat, the white elbow gloves,  the fur edged wrap, the posy of flowers (well, that could be timely) and the overall attire from the teen years of the 1900's really doesn't apply to the story.

The point of the dust jacket at the time of the book's production, however, wasn't to be historically accurate, but to appeal to the ladies who might spend their pin money on a classic for leisurely reading.  Putting a beautifully executed, modern piece of art illustration on the dust jacket was pure marketing. 

Most likely it worked well too.

Not only could the ladies carry this book around, safe in the knowledge that they were reading  an enlightening work that would in no way lead them astray from their moral upbringing, but it would also be an example to show to the milliner,  the glove maker, the furrier and to the dressmaker for the upcoming season's latest fashion (or, if you weren't as well off, a picture which you could use to make your own pattern for a fancy dress).

Today, the book itself carries very little value (it is, after all, just another reprint copy of a book that was produced in LARGE numbers since it's publication in 1819), but the dust jacket art surrounding the book does have collectable value. So today, just as in the time (somewhere between 1917 and 1923) the dust jacket art is the marketable feature.

And it's still a draw.

It's a picture that could be stared at for quite some time, all the while, finding new subtleties, new bits to look at.
 If you get a chance, click on the picture and take a closer look.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another day, another stack of books

Modays are always my clean-up day. I try not to do "Book" stuff on the weekends so I can spend time with my family (and most weekends are packed anyway, so I hardly even get a chance to sit down at the computer.  This weekend was no different.

Saturday was Soccer stuff (two games and pictures taken).

Sunday was scout service project stuff and then a birthday party.

Somewhere in all that I tried to paint one wall of my bathroom (said bathroom is the one that took a month just to remove the old peeling wallpaper -- in the process I removed all the fixtures except the toilet paper holder: the mirror, the medicine chest, the towel hangers). Most of the items ended up in the bathtub for lack of a better place to put them.  It's really rather awkward to have to leave hand towels out on the vanity counter and not hang them up, but I THOUGHT that it would be very temporary.  Yeah, right.

So now it's about two and a half months later.  (PS: I had no weekends in September available due to book fairs, etc, so I didn't even bother to try anything then). I finally settled on a color of paint. I've put the primer down as a first coat.  This weekend I decided to paint one wall (see, the old saw is, if you paint from corner to corner, doing a wall at a time it shouldn't show strangely so I figure I can DO a wall at a time in the time I have available).

I do like the color.  However, it looks as if I'm going to need at LEAST two coats per wall. Possibly three.

This bathroom isn't going to get finished anytime soon at this rate.

I am, however, at least farther along than I was last month.


But back to Mondays.  Today I was going to process all the orders that came in this weekend (I actually GOT orders, and a couple of nice ones too), ship them off to the post office and then start to plow through some of the other stuff that was laying around for WAY TOO LONG.

Did you know the post office is closed on Columbus Day?

Yeah.  I didn't either.

So I can't actually get the pile of books out of my office. I did get the postage on most of them (except for one package to Australia that my postage program doesn't seem to like).

Then I took pictures of a box of books from the last book fair so I could make sure the pictures and descriptions were together (I only have about 20 more boxes to go in this process).

And then I was going to do TAXES!!!

but I found that I have some how screwed up my database this year.  I don't know if this means I'll have to start over (lucky I'm only on March, right?) or  find a fix for it.

Either way, NONE of that stuff got done.

Now it's off to scouts at 5:00pm and after that, it's the other scout meeting at 6:30.

One of these days, I'll have a day where I actually get WORK done!

Maybe in my dreams.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Harlin Quist books... learn something new every day

For years I've seen books with the publishing imprint of Harlin Quist -- all the books by this publisher have been (with a few exceptions) Children's picture books and I thought (mostly,  I didn't think but didn't bother to do any research) that it was a play on words of some sort.  You know - Harlequin Romances, Harlequins, etc.

Well, today, just for the heck of it (and because I was listing a small batch of new titles I just bought by that publisher) I thought I would do a quick check on the imprint.

Lo and behold, Harlin Quist is (now was- he died in 2000) the name of a man -- the publisher himself.

Harlin Quist started as a theatre producer, but switched to the publishing business in the 1960's.  Quist's publishing operation began in 1966 and regularly produced high quality (though sometimes rather odd and unusual titles) through 1984.  In the later years, the books lost some of their luster and were published only in paperback editions. He did publish a small collection of adult fiction during a one year period - even garnering awards for them, but it was more of an experiment than a real thought to change the focus of the company.

Quist then took a break from publishing for nearly a decade starting in  1984  for another stint in theatrics. But his passion was books and through the 1990's more titles were published, though he switched his base from the United States to France where he was very well received.

Some of the authors published via Harlin Quist books include Robert Graves, Eugene Ionesco, Shirley Jackson and reprints with new illustrations of books by classic authors such as Oscar Wilde, Eugene Field and Edward Lear.  One book includes illustrations by Edward Gorey (He was There from the Day We Moved In by Rhoda Levine).

Harlin Quist died May 13, 2000

He left behind a legacy of a quirky, intriguing books for children and their adults.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Moving Boxes -- Again!

This morning I woke up to an order for an ephemeral item (ephemera is a word for stuff that was made that was not meant to last -- mostly paper things, fliers, programs, receipts, tickets, stuff like that).  I don't have lots of ephemeral material (though I keep hearing that that's the way to go if I want to make money .... but that's another story). I do have some National Geographic articles though, which I keep tucked safely away in a drawer by my desk.

The thing is, there are BOXES in front of that drawer.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

To get to the item I needed so I could ship it out, I had to MOVE BOXES.


It was quick though, as I wasn't LOOKING through the boxes, just moving them.

But, knowing me, I can't just move the boxes, find the item then move them back -- at least I can't without peeking into at least three of the boxes.  You know, pop the lid off, see what's on the top of the pile, wonder if I shouldn't pull it out RIGHT NOW to process... before putting the lid back on and moving another box.

By the time the item is found and the boxes are back in place (taking up space behind me and making my workroom an eyesore) I have mentally decided that 1.)  I should not buy ANOTHER BOOK AGAIN -- at least until the boxes are gone from behind my chair. 2.) WORK FASTER. 3.) Work 24 hours a day just at data entry. OR 4.) Just give up entirely and get a real job (you know one that can be left at work and not thought about until you get back to it the next day.

I officially announce that I have TOO MANY books.

There I said it.

Maybe I should rather say -- I'm a Bookaholic and I want to reform (or whatever words Alcoholics Anonymous uses).

But then, even though I KNOW I don't need any more books, what did I do this afternoon?

I went book hunting.

Luckily (for me, my house,my family and the world) I didn't find anything I really needed. So tomorrow I vow to tackle the contents of the boxes and make some progress on getting things in the database and out of boxes.

Oh, and I got another order for an ephemeral item so I'll have to move those same boxes all over again.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Monday, October 5, 2009

No Slogging today -- in fact, no books processed today at all

Well, technically, that's not true. I got two books listed from my pile, but that's it. Today was clean up after the weekend day, finish the book and review that I had due (and that ALWAYS takes time) and then get ready for the scout meeting tonight. 

I'm overdoing it with the scouts again, but this year, I feel a bit less stressed about the meetings. I have a schedule worked out (which has changed ALREADY -- that's why I put it in pencil) and I have not only lots of activities and paper work for them to do (being Webelos, the boys have more actual "work" as compared to the mostly fun of the earlier scouts.

I have remembered to include my packet of M&M's for bribery purposes.

I will keep calm.

I hope to gross them out with info about poisonous snakes in California -- send them home with a tiny bit of information and somethink yucky to tell their parents. That way they'll remember what we talked about.

If all else fails, I'll make them do calisthenics.

Tomorrow I should get back to regular data entry


I have to really buckle down and work on the tax stuff. It's on my pile -- on the TOP of my pile (if you want proof, I'll take some pictures for you, but it's really there, believe me!)

This weekend was FULL

mostly doing kid stuff (two soccer games, soccer pictures and selling popcorn for the Boy Scouts) but also a day's worth of  CLEANING (which I haven't been able to do since before September) and pulling down the pool.

It's time.  It looks as if summer has gone away in a rush -- today woke up to 48 degree weather (at 5:45am) with a possible high of 72 degrees.

Right now it's 70 degrees.

Last week it was 98 degrees.

Next week, who knows, but there is a definite snap in the air and I had to pull out my extra blankets, the heating pad for keeping my hands going while I type and start on the extra cups of hot tea today.

Friday, October 2, 2009

More Christmas stuff - and slogging through the boxes from the book fairs

Some of the holiday books I pulled out of boxes are just too .... cute ...
for words.

The Santa book above is for tiny kids new to the season -- it's a touchy-feely book (with an added scratch-n-sniff patch too!) that a little kid sitting in the back of the car can play with to his (or her) heart's content.  I had to spend a bit of time playing with it myself to make sure everything was A-ok (yup it is - AND the scratch-n-sniff works wonderfully too)

This book is filled with stickers that can be torn out and added to the story (also a great back seat of the car activity book for somewhat older children who are on their way to a relative's house for Thanksgiving).  This is the sort of book that would have amused me for about five minutes when I was little, but these days, I find them quite endearing and wish that I HAD had them for myself when I was young.

Other than that, I actually slogged through two boxes of books which returned with me from the book fairs -- I checked to see which were listed with FULL details and which had pictures... then which were listed online or not (all one slick process for the most part). I have one medium sized pile of books that need pictures, but the descriptions should all be there and then they go back on the shelves for another year.

This is REAL progress!

Hopefully it will continue.

Now if I could just get enough time to do the tax stuff too....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sometimes, you find gold among the dross

This week I've been BAD -- I've gone out book hunting every day when I SHOULD have been doing data entry (well, I do a bit of data entry every day, but instead of doing LOTS of data entry, I packed up early and went hunting).

Most days, I find SOMETHING.

Some days I find nothing worth much, but still enjoy the time spent.

And then there's the days you go out KNOWING that there's something out there for you that's gold -- not fool's gold, but REAL GOLD.

On Tuesday (yeah.... let me think - today's Thursday, right?  Yeah, Tuesday.)  I went hunting and I KNEW there was something out there. But I kept thinking I was going in the wrong direction. That I needed to go to another of my haunts and; not the place towards which the car kept driving (good sentence structure is sometimes SO AWKWARD).

I was thinking I had made a mistake and gone to the wrong place after all, since I had only found a handful of good, but not great books.  Then, on the last row I checked (I was watching my time carefully as I had to pick up kids from school and needed time to get across town) I glanced down at a PLAIN, DRAB book with gilt lettering on the title that could hardly be read as it was on the lowest shelf of the bookcase.

Even so I picked it up.  When I SAW the title,  I nearly dropped the book.

No, not going to tell you what it is yet -- I have a BUNCH of research to do to list this puppy properly -- but I'll get a blog entry on it at some point. Hopefully soon.

It's completely out of my normal area of interest, but it's definitely gold.

So the moral is -- if your gut and your car keep dragging you in a particular direction, it BEHOOVES you to go there with an open mind and to LOOK CAREFULLY.  Because sometimes you DO find gold among the dross.

Christmas stuff - and data entry

Last week - I don't know if I mentioned it or not - but I spent TWO DAYS going through boxes of books that haven't made it to the database yet. I was looking for a couple of books that I thought I had so I could quote them to customers (turned out I didn't), however, in the process, I found a small bunch of Christmas books.

Every year I mean to put all seasonal books in separate boxes and enter them into the database BEFORE the season is over -- you know, to SELL the darned things -- so I pulled these out and put them in the TO DO NOW pile.  Which means clean, get pictures taken, then enter the darned things.

This isn't ALL the Christmas books I found, but a few of the cute ones that I've entered into the database so far. I do have more (and keep finding more when I go out hunting! BAD ME!)

So I thought I'd put up a few pictures for you.  ALL OF THESE ARE AVAILABLE (as of this writing).

This particular book -- The Christmas Spider is a book that's been hanging around our house for a number of years -- it's got some wonderful craft designs, etc. from Poland. My mother got this to check out the paper cutting artwork and how to do it.  We tried it a couple of times -- I might still have a box with some decorations on it, but I am truly one of the NON- Arts & Crafts creative types. My designs are sad and copyish....and... did I say sad already?

I like many of the Christmas books for children that are available. I know it's a subject that  gets DONE TO DEATH, but sometimes, good authors and illustrators can add special meaning to the Christmas experience.  Russell Hoban seems to have that knack.

Other than answer a stupid, LONG customer phone survey this morning, these books were where I spent my time today.  After this, I need to work on the DREADED TAXES (dreaded taxes, dreaded taxes...echoes off in my head) and then it's work on unpacking more boxes from September's book fairs, clean, fix dinner and do soccer practice.

I know it's a bit early for the Christmas spirit overload, but if I don't get these books listed NOW, it ain't gonna happen!