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1. Rage against the dying of the light…

Many individual people in the book trade have expressed their thoughts and anger about the deaths of people of color (and others) over the last few hours, days, nights, years. Yes, how long? Decades long. While words will almost never substitute actions (which is critical NOW), as a unit, as Lux Mentis, we are expressing [...]

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2. “Punk is Dead” at RBMS 2016

We are pleased to announce the second of two RBMS 2016 exclusive catalogs. We made an extremely small print edition to distribute at RBMS [inquire!!!] There will be a pdf. available on the Lux Mentis website, but are excited to debut it as a flip catalog [N.B. there is a FullScreen button in the navbar and a .pdf download option].


Contact us with questions or find us at RBMS at the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables. #rbms16

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3. “Sex, Death, and the Devil” at RBMS 2016

We are pleased to announce the first of two RBMS 2016 exclusive catalogs. We made an extremely small print edition to distribute at RBMS [inquire!!!] There will be a pdf. available on the Lux Mentis website, but are excited to debut it as a flip catalog [N.B. there is a FullScreen button in the navbar and a .pdf download option].

Contact us with questions or find us at RBMS at the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables. #rbms16

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4. You’ll see us…coast to coast…

Coral Gables,FL-Venetian Pool-Linen

Coral Gables,FL-Venetian Pool-Linen

About a month away before Lux Mentis ventures to Coral Gables, FL for Rare Books and Manuscripts Section/ACRL Conference 2016! Lux Mentis is sponsoring a seminar:

“Common Sense, Charm, and a Glass of Wine: Successfully Navigating Donor Relations in Special Collections”

Stay tuned for exciting catalogs furthering our manifesto of vice and debauchery and if you are lucky, a print version (while supplies last!).

Follow the marauders on Instagram: instagram.com/luxmentis/

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5. No, Dorothy, you aren’t in Kansas… W.I.T.C.H.

The Occult Activism of 1960s Group WITCH is Still Relevant

This article popped up on the feed the other day, and I was reminded about the presence of and representation of witches throughout time, in a society that has pretty much commodified witchcraft into a visual and figurative only culture, i.e. Halloween, rather than a metaphoric one. The W.I.T.C.H. group was collective performance, an agitation and ripple to the world of conventionality. They aligned their ideals through direct actions, mailings, printed matter, and spoken activism. Like many other political aggregates of the time, we are fortunate to have propaganda ephemera validating action and disruption:

W.I.T.C.H. card

W.I.T.C.H. Women’s Liberation [Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell], c. 1969, mailing list card [#9011]

“We promise to love, cherish, and groove on each other and on all living things. We promise to smash the alienated family unit. We promise not to obey. We promise this through highs and bummers, in recognition that riches and objects are totally available through socialism or theft (but also that possessing is irrelevant to love)….We pronounce ourselves Free Human Beings.

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6. Stay Private! Be sure to cross all your t’s and dot your i’s…

Living in a time of unprecedented information surveillance, also lends itself to an unbelievable amount of information privilege for much of the “democratized” world. We feign emotions with character smiley faces and iconography as our communications float rapidly over a network of intangible speeds, sometimes coated with an algorithm of encryption and sometimes, not. Identity is, at best, both catastrophic and creative. So as we celebrate and converse about National Privacy Week, it is sort of interesting to think about privacy, not only in the way we might shroud our communications, but also in terms of economics, commodity and modality.

In the early 19th century, the postal system was financially demanding for some people [not unnecessarily unlike today] *and* was the scarcity of paper. Tom Standage writes in the Victorian Internet [1998]: “In the nineteenth century, letter writing was the only way to communicate with those living at a distance. However, prior to 1840, the post was expensive. Postal charges grew high in England due to the inflationary pressure of the Napoleonic Wars. Different from the way mail operates today, the burden of payment fell to the receiver, not the sender; prepayment was a social slur on the recipient. One had to be financially solvent to receive a letter. If the recipient could not afford to pay for a letter, it was returned to sender. Any reader of Jane Austen’s Emma (1815) knows that to save costs, cross writing was common — a writer turned his or her letter horizontally and “crossed” (or wrote over) the original text at a right angle rather than use an additional sheet of paper. Folded letters with a wax seal may look quaint, but like cross writing, this was also a pre-1840s cost cutting measure since that same missive, posted in an envelope, would receive double charge.”

A cost-cutting measure indeed, however, and not insignificant it created a system of visual encryption one might employ for secrecy, but also as a device of post-modernity and compositional ingenuity. In 1819, John Keats constructed a crossed letter discussing both the merit of prescriptive living for labor workers, only to be written over at an angle by his poem, Lamia, about a man who falls in love with a snake disguised as a woman. “The non-linearity of meaning is generated as an excess against the unidirectional drive of information, like the snakes that weave around the staff of a caduceus or the turbulent wake of a forward-moving ship; meaning is the snake and the wake of information.” [1] Quite a metaphor to create, as a perception of romanticism, in era of rapid change.  Sound familiar? When in doubt, think smart, choose privacy.

We have a suite of 19th century letters in our collection of cross-writing, or “cross-hatching,” check out the images:

[cross-writing] [cross-writing] [cross-writing]


[1] Livingston, Ira. Arrow of Chaos: Romanticism and Postmodernity.

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7. You shall ride eternal. Shiny, and chrome….New York Antiquarian Book Fair 2016 closing arguments


Part of the experience of a book fair, and not one overly discussed for a reason, are the partnerships and the collaborative aspects of the book trade. You don’t necessarily have to go at this alone. Your comrades have your back (or your spine, [excruciating pun intended] which plays out when scouting or acquiring other material to add to the overall inventory.  How many times have you heard, “Oh, X, would love/need this!?” If you are willing and able, then serendipity has its moments, in addition to critical partnerships.

It was excellent for me to work along side Brian Cassidy, veteran bookseller and long-time Lux Mentis booth partner; Michael Laird, newly discovered witchcraft buddy; book goddess, Kara Accettola; the adorable and sharp, Jonathan Kearns; and equally as adorable and bright, Simon Beattie. I would also like to recognize, the entire Pirages team [good lord, ya’ll need a drink], Ed Sanders and Travis Low [horns up], Fuchsia Voremberg [hugs], Tom Congalton, and Ashley Wildes. I think Ashley encompasses the entire fair sentiment in one image:

Ashley diffuses the situation with mermaid-like qualities, as Kim wishes Ian to contract mind fleas.

Ashley diffuses the situation with mermaid-like qualities, as Kim wishes Ian to contract mind fleas. [Note: drinks handled with appropriate care]

It would be remiss to not recognize some of the book artists and book binders, very important, as representing strong work is a pleasure and a privilege. Both Colin Urbina and Erin Fletcher make overwhelmingly inspiring work, glad to have them in both physical form and function appearing in New York; Michael Kuch, again mind-blowing work; Peter Bogardus; Russell Maret, exceptional new work; Nancy Loeber, representing both fairs [shadow fair]; Christina Amato; Leslie Gerry; Mindy Belloff; María Verónica San Martín; Peter Koch; newly acquired book artist Alexandra Janezic; and of course, the dynamic duo of Marshall Weber and Felice Tebbe at Booklyn. [Do I sound like a broken record or an Oscar speech? geez.]

So, what’s next? Fortunately, we were able to jump over to the “shadow” shows both uptown and across the street to visit both book artists and snap up some “brutally cool” items for down the road to make appearances in iterations of catalog lists forthcoming.  What did strike our fancy this year? A selection of things that caught our eye:

Book of Rates Vermeil, Francois Michel. Trial of an Accused Transsexual in 18th-century France, Mémoire pour Anne Grandjean.... White Stuff, Patti Smith fanzine, 1977-1978 Honey, that Ain't No Romance, Iggy Pop fanzine Edict Regulating Prices for Executions and also for Salaries of Hangmen, 1712 Plethora of dirty pulps and bondage rags Love Poems: Homage to Housman by Samuel M. Steward, queer poet and tattoo artist Photographs of Samuel M. Steward, including images of a young Steward and one photograph with Tom of Finland Kill Me, art book (zine) by Paul Robinson of the Diodes, 1978 Essay Upon Wind, one of 12 copies printed on vellum, c. 1785 Janezic, Alexandra. "Punctuated Weaving" artist book, 2015 Walter L. Main Circus promotional poster


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8. Happy 100th Birthday to Dada

The book in its wonderful camel on wheels home #dada

The book in its wonderful camel on wheels home #dada

In honor of the 100th birthday of the emergence of the Dada movement, we are sharing the unique artist book created by Rolf Lock embodying Hugo Ball’s Karawane. In full leather boards, the exquisite hand illustration and lettering was executed on sandpaper…because…it was. It is housed, as one would expect, in an olive wood camel, the book at rest forming its hump…because…it is.

The text of the Ball’s poem, written in 1916, is as follows:

jolifanto bambla o falli bambla
großiga m’pfa habla horem
egiga goramen
higo bloiko russula huju
hollaka hollala
anlogo bung
blago bung blago bung
bosso fataka
ü üü ü
schampa wulla wussa olobo
hej tatta gorem
eschige zunbada
wulubu ssubudu uluwu ssubudu
kusa gauma

Having given it a good read or two, please enjoy the following, Christian Bök wonderful reading of the poem (I believe, at Penn):



Arced spread of Karawane showing boards.

Arced spread of Karawane showing boards.

Straight accordion fold shot ...

Straight accordion fold shot …

First three panels

First three panels

Middle three panels

Middle three panels

Last three panels

Last three panels [All photo credit goes to the very talented Mary Pennington]

Finally, our description, for those so inclined:

Ball, Hugo [poet]; Lock, Rolf [artist]. Karawane [The Caravan]. Wonderful unusual book object of calligraphers and graduate designer Rolf Lock. Germany: Rolf Lock, 1916 [nd, circa 1990]. Unique. Bright and unmarred. Full burgundy leather binding with leather inlays and painted elements, textblock on sandpaper, aeg; housed in burl wood camel. 9.5×9.5cm. np. Illus. (hand colored). Signed by the artist. Fine in Fine Art Object. Hardcover.

Accordion fold of sandpaper in a handmade full leather binding by Ingela Dieric (rust-red oasis goatskin leather with polychrome inlay, hand gilding and aeg. The text of Hugo Ball poem in serpentine lines of equal calligraphy the track of a caravan and ornamented with hand-painted motifs desert. Housed in a handmade wooden camel on wheels of burl wood.

“In 1916, Hugo Ball created the Dada Manifesto, making a political statement about his views on the terrible state of society and acknowledging his dislike for philosophies in the past claiming to possess the ultimate Truth. The same year as the Manifesto, in 1916, Ball wrote his poem “Karawane,” which is a poem consisting of nonsensical words. The meaning however resides in its meaninglessness, reflecting the chief principle behind Dadaism.”

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9. Survival and Spectacle: Highlights from New York Antiquarian Book Fair 2016

No. We're good. We fang it!

No. We’re good. We fang it!

Every fair set-up and break down is a challenge, an adventure, and a chore. In the art world, “installation” is where the vision becomes cemented for the curator or artist.  Without being to fussy, installation at a book fair is similar, in that, a bookseller has the option to design visual gestalt with a display, to tell a story, or even to offend, dazzle, and educate. With that, part of the concept is driving an aesthetic attachment for a potential person to immediately hone in on something they absolutely desire to acquire for personal or pragmatic reasons.

Again, the thematic diatribe of Lux Mentis to “mock conventionalism” emerges case by case with groupings of “sex, death, and devil,” artist’s books, fine press, esoterica, and other bits of seemingly harmless or seemingly objectionable material. The process can sort of look like this:

NYBFbefore NYBFduring NYBFafter

When it is all said and done, you can hear Ian blather on in a nice little package with sound and image! Useful words and phrases to add to your regularly rotated vocabulary: “brutally cool” “spectacular” “just exquisite” “interesting bits” “fabulous” “astounding”. You can also learn how to properly stroke your beard.

What is important to note is while we go gangbusters with stuff, selection is important, as well as time management, you can fiddle around with one shelf for hours, believe me.  That being said, all in all, installation was smooth and considerate, every shelf both notes and confronts a narrative.  See for yourself.

Thunderbook Front display case with miniatures, artist's books, and the illustrious "Thunderbook Fine bindings (top) and 'challenging' perspective material, artist's books, including Leslie Gerry Gisela and Dangerous Women Punk rock Miniatures Sex, gender, and sexuality Occult and Death Gallery of artist's books


Next time: Gettin’ granular, or how to give good looks and books.


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10. I’m in an Empire State of Mind*

Like my comrade, the illustrious scribe of Bibliodeviant, I will also traipse through a serial recount of *my* first New York ABAA Book Fair in a similar fashion and how the sideshow, that is Lux Mentis, embellishes the landscape of the book trade and book collecting like the carnival we seem to entertain. Inspired, though by the words of Mr. Kearns, I would like to address the idea of bookselling as identity and image briefly.

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Girl, get a grip

After working over 20 years in library land and visual arts culture, I’ve worn several hats. However, not just one will underscore my identity, which to some I apparently wear openly and ripe for criticism. We can model ourselves in such a way that the world might fantasize about librarians in that perverse and/or cryptic and ‘monkish’ kind of way, or we can shine bright like a diamond* with a freak flag of superb owning up to our singular individuality, our own individual prowess to flourish and thrive in this profession.


Basically, the same perception applies to hungry, curious, and experienced visitors at your book fair booth, in your house, your library, your bookshops. You never know what they might bring to the table. Same goes for your fellow booksellers. So, regardless if you have marked skin, blue hair, fancy tweeds, tortoise shell glasses or honest awkwardness, we corral a fierce sense of advocacy for printed and written matter that gives these manifestations of glory multi-generational lives that are passed through a series of hands, hearts, and minds. We have the opportunity to support and create libraries, research, passions, and histories for people, otherwise drowning in the mediocrity in the world. We will find success in those connections, rather than in a litany of judgment based on gender, appearance, and other personal identities.

I could further throw a tirade of shade*, but rather, let’s tunnel into the rabbit hole of New York. As others have mentioned, New York is on fire with grit and action, unlike any other metropolitan in the US, however like I mentioned in a previous blog, the city is a hotbed for bibliophilic intellectualism and performative ingenuity. The New York Antiquarian Book Fair is a force and now I know compared to the somewhat laissez-faire attitude of California (as least Pasadena), I understand why it operates as such. The Park Armory building is a gorgeous architectural example of late 19th century Gothic revival design suitably fitting to encase a labyrinthine maze of booksellers. I felt sort of enveloped in a skeletal shell, ironically housing the biblio-madness for the next few days.

Before set-up started on Wednesday, I can’t slide by without saluting a few notable events and people. Through a blizzard (ha!), we made our way through the quiet snow of Massachusetts to the insanely talented home of Michael Kuch, artist, to pick up the latest iteration of work debuting at the fair [images to follow]. We also lavished in the presence of Marvin Taylor and Charlotte Priddle at the Fales Library & Special Collections, NYU where I pawed around the stacks a bit, as well. Lastly, I would be lying if I wasn’t fidgeting like a 3 year old needing to pee, because I was able to see the Mystery and Benevolence exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum. Get your secret handshake on.

IMG_2511 IMG_2508 IMG_2506 IMG_2509 IMG_2514 IMG_2513 IMG_2507 AFAM

To be continued…[Next up, witness me!*]

*If any of you get my pop culture references, you are Gucci. Yes, I am a metalhead who listens to Ri-Ri.

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11. Booth Tour of the 2016 NYC ABAA Book Fair

We are pleased to offer a (reasonably) brief tour of our booth at the 2015 ABAA book fair. It was a great weekend (report and images to follow).

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12. A Tale of Two Coasts

The epic romance continues between the two American coasts, as the beginning of the year jumps in two major ABAA Book Fairs… the California Antiquarian Book Fair (February) and the equally as engaging and immense, the New York Antiquarian Book Fair [April]. Each fair having their own peculiarities, personalities and local fanfare, and honestly, not without their own biases.

West Coast

The California fair flips between their estranged cousins of North and South hosts; this year held inland Los Angeles, more specific a sparkling bright and colorful, Pasadena. Mind you, east coast or rather booksellers coming from anywhere else outside of Southern California almost know they are escaping frigid temperatures from their homes, this year was unseasonably hot with days reaching the upward 90s. Take care, so the books don’t sweat.

It is always within the scope of the best vice and virtue, so to speak, to bring out the “sexy.” Lux Mentis never shy to vice and more vice, taunts the sensibilities with color, format, and content with a moderate collection of items that fall under the “Sex, Death, and the Devil” tease. Partly to challenge the normalized sense of the book and partly to possibly offend a casual buyer who just might be tempted enough leave their morals at home.

Sex, Death, and the Devil

Sex, Death, and the Devil

This year saw the debut of two major collections of material both very California and both very seething with equal parts naughty and “nice.”

The Daved Marsh Surfing Collection, a multi-faceted collection of books, magazines, pulps, and other ephemera, is a wild trip down the last several decades of surf history, but more so to capture the sleazy and exploitative end to surf culture. Daved Marsh, a surf bibliographer, first Gen SF punk, and rare book cataloger, coined the term “surfsploitation” to describe the lascivious, tongue-in-cheek, and racy nature of surf culture as seen through both mass and underground media. A visually compelling and downright dirty collection, it was a pleasure to have a snippet of material on view, and subsequently the collection found a new placement, ironically on the East Coast!

Daved Marsh Surfing Collection [top shelf]

Daved Marsh Surfing Collection [top shelf]

Sorry, New York, but the West Coast represents a massive chunk of the punk scene beginning in the late 70s too! Also featured in California fair were bits of the SST Records Collection and the art of renowned punk artist Raymond Pettibon. SST Records, the brainchild of Black Flag guitarist, Greg Ginn, boasts not just punk ephemera, like punk show fliers, but correspondence from the administrative end of the operation, zines, and even a Henry Rollins poseable action figure! Lux Mentis displayed the highly collectible and just plain damn awesome, original Raymond Pettibon artwork, but also an original handwritten letter from Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, discussing the album and included lyrics. 40 years of punk this year, and we still can’t quit it.

Raymond Pettibon, "Black Flag - My War" SST Records

Raymond Pettibon, “Black Flag – My War” SST Records

The satellite book fair, the LA Art Book Fair, was held downtown in Little Tokyo district; and without a doubt, the opening night was not a sight “untypical” of Los Angeles. The very hip and overly stylized gamut of young socialites grazed the scene. At one point, most tables saw bodies three deep. There were a couple of largely popular and personal favorites representing the fair, Printed Matter (the organizers), Division Leap, and the wildly adorable and politically poignant, Booklyn. We ended up snatching up a few dirty bits, as usual, but also chatted with our friend, Jenny Lens, prominent Los Angeles photographer and artist of the original LA punk scene.

Gay Pulp paperback collection

Gay Pulp paperback collection

Also quite digestible this year, are the fine selections of artist’s books and fine press publications that many of the Southern California academic libraries acquired for their collections. Special collections libraries at major universities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego maintain hugely representative and well-developed artist’s book collections, as always it is hugely delightful to pander to the collecting missions of these selective libraries. One of the major goals now and into the future is to support and advocate for emerging book art talent across the country. It would be my personal goal, also, to be a strong advocate for emerging book artists of color and queer and trans-identified book artists, so that their work is represented in library collections.

Various artist's books Rep-Hair-ation, Diane Jacobs Artist's books and Fine Press Letters of Dark Love, C. Trant Bartleby the Scrivener, Wolfgang Buchta Woven paper undergarments, Diane Jacobs Artist's books and Fine Press Speculative Motion, David Moyer

East Coast

In some ways, it is a nice swap to talk about the New York fair in the future tense, just so everyone can get a whiff of what’s to come. New York is an uncompromising city, no doubt. However, in its small geographic metropolis, the city demands a major chunk of bibliographic and artistic liberties. We hope to envelope ourselves in the energy and intellect of New York’s prolific institutions and sharp book collectors.

To continue the saga of our highly tragic theme, more sex will available for our daring clientele, but also a twist on the devil with some occult thrown in the mix, with a nice glaze of death, death, and more death. A personal favorite of mine, death is a transgressive topic of interest this year, as we are seeing more dialogue surrounding “end of life” transgression, as well as, the fashionable Victorian morbidity culture.

Immortelle album, early 19th century Jean Morisot, Ex Libris Jonestown Deathcult Massacre cards

It is on more than one occasion, onlookers say, “you have the best booth” and without tooting our horn *too* much, although there is something to be said for pushing the envelope by challenging the notion of “antiquarian,” “rare,” and even the book format. Collecting and developing collections is by no means regulated to just “old brown books” and certainly by example, content and context play into scarcity as much as edition and age. With that in mind, for you curious creatures, here are some selections of newly acquired material and other provocative items to taunt you with for the New York Antiquarian Fair this week (Booth B-21). [Not responsible for faint of heart, nor coddling of weak-minded morality].

Kill Me" Paul Robinson Brothel matches Nightingale and the Rose, Erin Fletcher Esoteric notebooks Esoteric notebooks Bruise Book A Fowl Alphabet, Colin Urbina W.I.T.C.H. card Thunderbook Opera Mortis, Michael Kuch Opera Mortis, Michael Kuch Full run of "Dry Magazine" and original photographs

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13. A fresh start…

Well, I had intended to get this blog active and engaging again…but the host decided to push the issue by deleting the entire existing blog (deleting a decade of posts). I had some backed up…and will be manually restoring a selection of them. I will also customize this theme again so it ‘fits’…but not until the NYC ABAA fair is over. Reasonably frustrated…but a fresh start is a fresh start. I hope you enjoy the new iteration (and welcome Kim Schwenk who will be doing some posting).

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14. This Blog has MOVED. Please follow:

Blogger has stopped supporting FTP and, as a result, I have had to move to Wordpress (for which, frankly, I am pleased). I will keep this live until I am able to move the entire archive to the new architecture. Please bookmark and begin looking for me over at the new site.

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15. The end of an era. Blogger is dead, long live Wordpress

Blogger has stopped supporting FTP and for that we must part ways. I've installed Wordpress so that I can continue hosting my blog at my own domain. The new blog can be found here. I am going to try to keep on top of the various technological glitches that will doubtless arise. Please bear with us during this transition.

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16. Hugh Hefner-Teen Cartoonist

Steven Gertz has posted a very nice article at BookPatrol on the rather amazing collection of Hefner material I spent several weeks cataloguing. Steven focuses on one elements, Hefner's brilliant cartoon. Hefner, as a young man, wanted to be a cartoonist (and did the early cartoons for Playboy).

During high school, Hugh would take notes on what his friends were wearing during the day so that he could sketch them accurately in the evening for his remarkable "School Daze" (approx. 33 volumes that are part of his private collection). Jane told me that she and her female friends would check School Daze to find out which of their boyfriends were fooling around behind their backs as Hugh would document *everything*. The cartoons in this collection are the only copies I know of that are not in Hefner's personal library.

I knew very little about Hefner before cataloguing this collection. 60 years of personal correspondence later, I have to admit that I am amazed by the man.

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17. Mark Dimunation to speak at the Baxter Society in March.

The Baxter Society is very pleased to announce that Mark Dimunation will be speaking at our March 10th meeting. Mark is Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. His talk is titled: Good, Bad, and Indifferent, Old, New, and Worthless: Thomas Jefferson and the Mind of the Eighteenth Century Collector.

The Baxter Society is Maine's only bibliophilic group, open to all those with an interest, passion, and/or love of books.

On a personal note (and as Program Chair for The Baxter), I can not tell you how excited I am that Mark agreed to come speak. I want to thank the many restaurants in town for their efforts in drawing Mark to town (and the NYC Times, too). With luck, we'll do some damage at eateries about town.

While I'm blathering about such things, I should also mention that in April, Bill and Vicky Stewart of Vamp & Tramp will be speaking and in May, Tom Horrocks of Harvard's Houghton Library will wrap out the year.

Finally, a teaser for next fall: while at the LA ABAA book fair, Michael Suarez, the newly appointed Director of Rare Book School, agreed to speak at a fall date to be determined.

I am, needless to say, going to retire from the Program Committee...I am not certain I can really improve on my recent run...

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18. A Belfast Poem - Things Granddaddy left me...

I found this today as we continued to sift through my grandparents papers. Granddaddy was born on Orby Drive in Belfast, Ireland. Though he came to this country at 21, a bit of his heart was forever in Belfast. I found the following on a typed sheet...and older and better iteration that I've found elsewhere. I remember Granddaddy reciting this (more than once)...and feel sorry that you'll never hear it in his voice...
A Belfast Poem
I'll speak to you, dear stranger, if you really want to know,
So listen , and I'll tell you why I love this city so.

Belfast is an Ulsterman with features dour and grim,
It's a pint of creamy porter and a Sunday morning hymn;
It's a grimy little cafe where they serve you dainty teas.
It's fish and chips in paper, or vinegar with peas.
It's a banner on July the twelfth, a sticky toffee apple,
A righteous little Gospel hall, a Roman Catholic Chapel;
It's a Telly boy with dirty face, a piece of apple tart ,
A fry upon a Saturday, or a coal breek on a cart.

It's a Corporation gas man, complete with bowler hat,
It's wee shop at the corner, a friendly bit of chat;
It's an oul lad in a duncher, a woman in a shawl,
A pinch of snuff, a tatie farl, a Loyal Orange Hall;
A tobacco smell in York Street, a beg of yella man,
It's an easter egg that's dyed with whin, a slice of Ormo pan,
A youngster with some sprickly backs inside an oul glass jar,
It's a meeting at the Customs House, or an old Victorian bar.

It's mudbanks on the Lagan when the tide is running low,
It's a man collecting refuse, bonfires in Sandy Row;
It's a bag of salty dullis, a bowl of Irish stew,
A goldfish bought in Gresham Street, a preacher at the queue,
It's a portrait of King Billy upon a gable wall,
A flower-seller on a stool, outside the City Hall;
A half moon round the door step, a pollis man on guard,
A man whose crying "Delf for Regs", a little whitewashed yard.

It's the market on a Friday, the ships lined at the docks,
It's a shiny polished fender, a bunch of green shamrocks;
It's herrings fried in oaten meal, with a drink of buttermilk;
It's a snowy linen handkerchief as soft as finest silk;
It's a bap with country butter, a dander round the zoo,
A climb up tough Ben Madigan to get a splendid view;
It's a bunch of savoury scallions, a plate of buttery champ,
The hopscotch on the footpath, a swing around a lamp.

It's delf dogs on the mantel piece, the wee man from the Pru,
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19. Irene Marie Sommer Gamble (1915-2010)

My grandmother passed away this morning. We had a great time visiting Friday and Saturday, telling her all about our trip CA (us), school (Eli), and FL (mom & dad). She was among the last of a dying breed...the product of finishing school and Columbia...she was simply elegant. I recall her using a swear once in my life, and that to scold a table full of men (dad, Dr. Weaver, Granddaddy and Uncle Milton) who were discussing *very* disgusting things (she said, as I recall, "Damn it, I will not have this language at the dinner table").

When I was very young, she tried to get me to call her "Grandma Reenie". I promptly shorted it to Greenie and that is what she was for the rest of our lives. She, and my grandfather, lived a quite remarkable life. I offer one quick story, as I think it sums things up nicely. They went to Mobile, AL 1938-1943...this young Irish immigrant and his new bride from NYC...to be the principal (Granddaddy) and a teacher (Greenie) at Lincoln School. Granddaddy was the last white principle of this famous black school that produced a remarkable number of leaders. Coretta Scott King would write Greenie, many years later, that her later college work "never taught me anything you didn't teach me at Lincoln School" (Greenie taught public speaking/drama classes). [The photo, to the left, shows the 25th reunion of the class of 1943, Granddaddy is at the left, standing directly behind Coretta and Greenie at the far right with the purse.)

Greenie called me Go Bragh...as in Ian Go Bragh (nee Erin Go Bragh). I'll miss a lot of things about my grandmother. I'll especially miss Go Bragh.

My mother crafted a lovely obit. I offer it here for friends and family:
Irene Marie Sommer Gamble

Tenants Harbor – Irene Marie Sommer Gamble, 94, widow of Wilfred Gamble, died at Quarry Hill after a long illness.

Born on May 20, 1915, she was the daughter of John Sommer and Marie Haantz Sommer of North Bergen, New Jersey. She was educated at Hoboken Academy, Centenary College for Women in Hackettstown NJ, and New College at Columbia University in New York, where she received a Masters Degree in education, speech and dramatics.

She met her husband, Wilfred Gamble, at Columbia when he tried out for a play she was casting. After their marriage in 1939, she joined him as a teacher at the school where he was principal, the Lincoln School in Marion, Alabama. This was a private school for black children, with a biracial faculty, run by the Congregational Board of Home Missions. She maintained close contact with both staff members and students throughout her life.

Upon Wilfred’s discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1945, the Gambles moved to Southbury, Connecticut, where they were involved in town, church, and school activities for over thirty-five years. Irene taught fifth grade for many years in nearby Woodbury. Towards the end of her career she became speech therapist for the Woodbury school system.

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20. I've no more grandparents, but I've some extremely dirty limericks....

My grandmother passed away today (more on this in another post), 12 years and one day following my grandfather. We have spent the day going through her photos, letters and the bits of ephemera that swirl around you after 94 years. It has been, pleasingly, great fun...reveling in her life (and that of my grandfather's) rather than mourning. Best of all, we found some things that she more or less hid to protect us.

For example, my grandfather was born and raised in Belfast, Ireland and had a quick and rollicking wit (among his many talents). Certain people, however, brought out his wicked streak and he their one. One such lifelong miscreant was Tommy Panzera. The two of them fed of each other's antic personalities and the results are the stuff of family myth and legend. We found a letter that Tommy wrote the Granddaddy in 1938. Greenie had hidden it in a dark, back corner as it is full of wildly dirty limericks. Quoting in part [N.B. seriously dirty words, etc. following...you are warned]:
Whereupon I explained that my best pal is a goddam Irishman and therefore there is no foolin' around. He retaliated or reiterated (I forget which) and gave me the following:
There was a young Chinese named Rhoda
Who kept an immoral Pagoda;
Festooned on the walls
Of the halls were the balls
And the tools of the fools who bestrode her.

Meantime his pal was thinking hard and having thunk sprang this one upon us (the dirty slob):
There was a young man of Bombay
Who modeled a cunt out of clay;
But the heat of his prick
Turned the clay into brick
And wore all his foreskin away.

Followed almost immediately by the young man from Thermopylae,
Who found he couldn't pee properly
He said, "Pax vobiscum
Why the hell won't my piss come?
My semen must have a Monopoly."
In my life, I heard my grandmother swear *once* that I can remember (she said, "Damn it" when scolding "the men" at a dinner). She and Granddaddy were so wonderful together. It has been great fun to laugh as much as we have today...

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21. Of books, dirty pictures, great titles, and a great event...

Just a quick, richly illustrated post today (I'm exhausted). It was a
great day. Lots of people, what seemed to be people buying. A few nice
sales. Great fun.

Pictures from the day:

1: Wonderfully bizarre dirty picture-it seems highly difficult to

2: Great title - like we haven't all had *this* conversation before.

3: LA from a balcony at The Getty.

4: Best dress I've seen in ages. Made by a friend. Just wonderful.

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22. Set-Up & Day One at the LA ABAA book fair

This was a long, long day. We started at Clementine for breakfast.
Suzanne had "the best apricot ginger scone of [my] life". I had a
Citrus Puff Pastry with Almond Frangpane (pictured). Amazing. And good

Registration started at 9am (though we all registered and at our booth
by 8:30, thankfully). Our cases were waiting (pictured) and other than
a bad light in a trophy case (rapidly replaced), everything started

Approximately 7 hours later, the booth was done and looking pretty
good (pictured). We are sharing a 15 foot booth with our friends Josh
& Sunday of B&B Books fame. They arrived much later and were finished
much earlier. They are evil. We have a great location, easy to find
and surrounded by great friends/dealers (J. Windle on one side, B.
Shapero on the other and B. Quaritch across the aisle).

The show opened at 4pm with a pretty good surge of people and it
stayed steadily busy all evening (pictured). I sold a few things to
the trade and a few things to real humans. The best and most fun sale
(in some time) was a rather nice book to an utterly charming 14 year
old young lady (with her dad's assistance). Dad asked if she really
liked it, she did an amazingly longing upward eyesweep while saying,
'oh, yes'. Utterly brilliant. You have to love a passionate young

The show closed at 9pm. We kibitzed for a bit and Suz posted some
images for a client. We finally staggered out around ten, intent on
calzones from Johnnie's. We arrived to find them closed. After a bit
of pleading sign langague (I am never above begging for a good
calzone), they *actually unlocked the door* and let us in. The
calzones were excellant (pictured).

Show opens to dealers at 9 and to the public at 11. We have been told
Cementine does Eggs Benedict on Saturday. Tomorrow is looking good.

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23. Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog (...& we're in LA)

We made it to LA, returned the car and are all settled in. Tomorrow
should be ugly: registration/setup starts at 9am-the show opens at
4pm. This is barely enough time for me to set up a booth...let's hope
all goes smoothly.

On the plus side, here is the coolest blog I've seen in a long time:

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24. Driving down from Monterey to Shell Beach (cameo by Henry Miller

Too exhausted to do a proper post, so I offer some sights along Big
Sur. The sea, cliffs, a humming bird, Henry Miller Library (follow-up
shortly), elephant seals, and sunset at Shell Beach. See you tomorrow.

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25. SF to Monterey-Great Food, Friends and a few books...

We checked out of the Carriage Inn (think typewriter carriage, not horse and...). It was as it has been previously, nice, clean, quite inexpensive and very well located for the shows at the Concourse. We look forward to returning in 2011.

Our luck on this trip continued (twice) today. When I went to pick up our rental car (in theory, a "mid-sized") for the one-way trip to LA, I was asked "if I minded" driving a larger/nicer car down. I said, "No...I really wanted the small POS car I had requested". The clerk, however, was charming and persuasive, so I finally relented and accepted the Ford Flex (it is the bastard child of a Ford Bronco and station wagon...largish and squarish). Interestingly, as soon as I plugged the my iPhone and iPod, the car synced my playlists to the car's system (not expecting this, surprised when the car spoke to me that it had synced ). It also effortlessly paired the car system to my phone. Very slick in a rental...

Thus we were off to Woodside, CA to visit old, dear friends and have an outrageously good lunch. We pulled into Whit and Mary's around 1 and immediately headed off to lunch (though, sadly, Mary could not join us as one of their wonderful Tibetan Mastiffs was just back from the doctor and she needed to baby her).

We returned to the scene of last year's gastronomic excess, The Village Pub...this time for lunch. The volume might be different for lunch, but the style, substance and flair is every bit as wonderful. We each ordered...with the agreement that we would all share...I love foodies. For lunch we had:

Delicata Squash Soup / Brown Butter (this was a gift of the house)

Rabbit Boudin Blanc / Braised Cabbage and Pancetta / Sautéed Pink Lady Apples (Ian)
Wild Nettle and Goat Cheese Agnolotti / Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce (Suzanne)
Slow Grilled Leg of Lamb / Mint Pistou / Chickpea Fries and Sauteed Rapini (Whit)

Pear and Frangipane Tart / Vanilla Ice Cream (Ian)
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta / Huckleberry Compote / Sour Lemon Meringue (Suzanne)
Trio of Gelatos (Whit)
Bottle of 2005 Mas Doix "Salanques" Priorat (mostly Suz and Whit...Ian driving)
Tanzanian Peaberry coffee (French press) (Ian)
I am not going to go into further detail. Suffice it to say, The Village Pub is one of my favorite places to eat and I am very grateful (both re girth and wallet) that I am only in the area once a year or so. Do not miss an opportunity to eat there.

We had a nice visit, as always, with Whit talking about tech, crypto, food, wine, books, dogs, other bits of this and that (being nearer to Whit and Mary would be one of the few compelling reasons to move to the west coast). We made plans to meet in the east when Whit is over to speak (Bonus: Short TechReview Interview re Security & Cloud Computing). We also met the newest (and shyest) of the dogs. Though we missed Mary, we had a wonderful time.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
We then headed down to the B&B recommended by our friends Dan and Susan, The Jabberwock Inn in Monterey. Here our luck (on several fronts) continued. Having booked their smallest room (and been pleased to be extended a winte

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