Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Bookfair time in Maine

I'm beginning to pack for the annual Maine antiquarian bookfair, officially known as The Portland Book, Print, & Paper Show, this weekend. Usually every winter I find some wonderful rare books somewhere, either at library sales or on housecalls, and I squirrel them away for the bookfair, but this year I haven't found anything really spectacular. So I'm sorting out my storage area in the back of the shop - hunting for sleepers and anything even remotely interesting that I've forgotten about - then on Friday I will ransack the shop and pull fifteen or twenty cartons of my better antiquarian books off the shelves. I usually do very well at this show, I think this is my seventh year? Or eighth? Anyway, it's worthwhile, and it's become a tradition for us. I enjoy seeing other booksellers and customers who never make it as far north as Bangor. I used to be nervous as hell about doing a show, but I'm more relaxed about it now. Since I've found that I absolutely LOVE being in a big room with a bunch of other real booklovers. We're all there because we love, desire, covet, buy, sell, read, admire, any verb you care to name, really, BOOKS. If the fair is a good one, meaning both dealers and customers are happy because there are good books to sell and buy, there's an almost audible happy fizz in the air (admittedly, the air is also full of dust motes from all the old paper). I have booklovers in all the time at the shop, but it's different at a fair - most dealers have brought their best books, and most customers are there because they want to buy, not because they want to browse, or noodle around for an hour. The fair is on Sunday, for anyone in the area, and Ryan will be taking admission at the front door. I'm usually in the first or second booth on the far left aisle as you enter the Expo building. So depending on which aisle book-hunters start in, I'm first or last. Memorable either way!

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