Friday, March 16, 2007


A busy few days

I took the day off yesterday and got out of town - I had lunch out with friends, one of whom is a gallery owner. I brought a batch of paintings to show her, and she chose six of them for a group show this July. Details to follow. After spending time with a dear friend after lunch, I started for home, but first (of course) stopped in at one of my favorite little new-book shops, Blue Hill Books, and bought two books and several cards of Tom Curry's work - he's a local artist whose work I think is really terrific. But back to lunch - we went to a newish restaurant in Blue Hill village called The People's Soup, and we all had Pho - huge bowls of miso broth, noodles, tofu, broccoli, zucchini, etc., with fresh basil shredded on top, and fresh bean sprouts with peanut sauce. With tea, seven bucks each, and I couldn't even finish mine, there was so much. It was sooo gooood, especially on a rainy March afternoon. Need I say it - the place was packed.

Today, back to the books - here's another small item from home, The Club of Odd Volumes Year Book for 1958, published by the Club (Boston, but printed by Anthoensen Press, Portland, Maine). Measures four by six and a half inches. Dark orange cloth spine and marbled boards, gilt lettering on the spine:

Many pages are uncut and are likely to remain so (by-laws, ho-hum), though I have carefully cut the pages in the section about the history of the Club, and in the list of its publications and occasional papers. I have several of the Club's yearbooks, and they are always beautifully printed and bound. The Club was founded during the winter of 1886-1887 by a small group Boston gentlemen-bibliophiles. The history tells us that for many years it was merely a supper-club, but evolved into a supportive group for collectors. The Club eventully presented bookish lectures before supper, regular publications that promoted fine literature and book-collecting, interest in the printing arts, exhibits, a reference library, and a (then) permanent clubhouse at 77 Mount Vernon Street on Beacon Hill. I don't know what's there now - when we travel south to Boston next month for the marathon, while Ryan runs I'll walk over and take a look. The Club's members were limited in number, and scanning the membership list, need I say that I see no women on it? (Well, obviously, I just did.) Perhaps all the wives were getting together down the street at the Athenaeum.

Unrelated, but still about reading - not Kate, but my other sister (I have two) is a champion magazine-article clipper, and she just sent me a packet of reading material that she'd been saving aside all winter. It was so great - articles about books, reading, book dealers, chain stores vs. independents, painters and painting, Maine artists, art retreats, and a bunch of miscellaneous funny stuff, often just single pictures or a few sentences. I spent a few hours the other night reading it all through, and it was such a treat - someone who loves me had assembled a little anthology just exactly tailored to my reading style. She knows me very well, it was so great. One of the best reading evenings I've had in a long time. Though I did read another hundred pages of the Odyssey last week, and that was also very fine, in its way. But The Anthology of Me, that was really something. I've got to figure out a good way to reciprocate - not in kind, because I'm not a clipper, but perhaps with a little stack of books...?

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