Musings on Place, Travel, Books, Literature, Poetry, Literary Criticism, Collecting, Media, Life and the Arts

Archive for September, 2011

September 30th, 2011 • Posted in Authors and Books

Oriana Fallaci on Interviewing the Powerful

Fallaci (right) with Iranian president Abulhassan Banisadr

"I do not feel myself to be, nor will I ever succeed in feeling like, a cold recorder of what I see and hear. On every professional experience I leave shreds of my heart and soul; and I participate in what I see or hear as though the matter concerned me personally and were one on which I ought to take a stand (in fact I always take one, based on a specific moral choice). So I did not go to these fourteen people with the detachment of the anatomist or the imperturbable reporter. I went with a thousand feelings of rage, a thousand questions that before assailing them were assailing me, and with the hope of understanding in what way, by being in power or opposing it, those people determine our destiny."

Oriana Fallaci in the preface to Interview with History.

September 28th, 2011 • Posted in Authors and Books

Poet Simon Armitage reads his “I am a Sperm whale”

September 27th, 2011 • Posted in On Book Collecting

Audio Interview with Stan Bevington, founder of the Coach House Press on which of his books to Collect

Stan Bevington, Founder, Coach House Press

Photo is of Stan with the first book Coach House published, Man in a Window, 1965, in front of the Press on which it was printed.

In 1965, Stan Bevington, moved to Toronto from Edmonton, rented an old coach house, installed an antique Challenge Gordon platen press and set up Coach House Press. Over the years his small publishing house introduced the world to the early works of bpNichol, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, George Bowering, Frank Davey, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Anne Michaels and many other important Canadian writers.

Known for its experimental production techniques and innovative designs, Coach House has published more than 500 titles of its own since 1965, and printed thousands more for other presses, libraries and art galleries. In addition to employing some of Canada’s greatest type and book designers, Bevington also kept Coach House at the forefront of  new printing and computer technology advancements, collaborating with artists, programmers and e–book designers.

He has lectured at York University and the Rochester Visual Studies Workshop, at the Banff Publishing workshop and Radcliffe at Harvard, and has received numerous grants, prizes, honourary degrees and life time achievement awards for his work in publishing and the Arts.

We met recently in Toronto, outside the Coach House premises, to talk about the history of the Press, and, more specifically, about those books, among the many it has published, that might be of greatest interest to the collector. Please listen here:

September 27th, 2011 • Posted in Authors and Books

Nobel Laureate’s collection highlights Princeton Library’s Annual Booksale

The Friends of the Princeton Public Library will hold their 2011 annual book sale on Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23. As we did in 2010, we will again have a tent to accommodate our extraordinary collection of high-quality donated books.  This year we are featuring a superb collection of books in the fields of Economics and Psychology donated by Nobel Laureate (Economics) Daniel Kahneman. We also have strong collections of history and politics, beautiful art and architecture books, and numerous selections in philosophy and religion. Our mystery and science fiction/fantasy collections are extensive this year, with lots of vintage and some first-edition volumes in each category.  Our selection of literary fiction and academic press books include a number of first editions and some signed volumes.  Vintage children’s books will also be highlighted for 2011.  We also have a wide variety of old and unusual volumes in fields ranging from belles lettres to quantum mechanics. Our books are organized by category, and maps will be available.

The three-day sale begins with a Preview Sale ($10 admission) on Friday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon. Numbered admission tickets will be for sale at the door starting at 9 a.m. The sale continues with free admission from noon to 5:30 on the 21st, and on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.. Free admission continues on Sunday Oct. 24 from 1 to 5:30 p.m. All books will be half-price on all day Sunday inside the Library and in the tent until 3 pm, At 3 pm, customers in the tent can fill a paper supermarket bag with  books for $5 until 5:30 p.m.

Location:  Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, NJ  08540.  609-924-9529

September 26th, 2011 • Posted in Authors and Books

Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair coming up October 16th, 2011

The Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair is recognized as one of the finest book fairs in Canada. Forty dealers from across North America will be displaying and selling over 40,000 books, dating from the 15th century to the present day. The fair will feature rare, unusual and

collectible books on the arts and architecture; early printed books; modern first editions; voyages, travel and exploration; science and medicine; illustrated children’s books; military history; historical documents and ephemera, and much more.

Participating dealers include:

Contact Editions

491 Davenport

Toronto ON M4V 1B7


Robert Campbell Bookseller

P.O. Box 616, Victoria Station



Steven Temple Books

489 Queen Street West Second Floor



Lord Durham Rare Books Inc.

53 Mountain Street



Alexandre Antique Prints, Maps & Books

593 Mount Pleasant Road



Patty McGregor – Lock, Stock and Barrel

841 Acadian Garden

Orleans, ON K1C 2V7 <>


Charles Vyvial – The Book Hunter

970 Deguire Street

Montreal, QC H4L 1L6


Bytown Books

385 McLeod Street

Ottawa, ON K2P 1A5


William Van Nest – Trillium Books

1285 Albertus Avenue

Peterborough ON K9J 6A4


Attic Books        

240 Dundas St.

London, ON. N6A 1H3


Bill Cameron Books

9 Foster St. #2,

Ottawa, ON. K1Y 3J3

no email


Wilfrid M. de Freitas   Bookseller

P.O. Box 883,Stock Exchange Tower



David Ewens, Rare Books

P.O. Box 128

North Gower, ON   K0A 2T0


Thornley Point Books

PO Box 61

Iroquois, ON K0E 1K0


Boz and Friends

350 Seneca Hill Drive, Apt.806

Toronto ON M2J 4S7


Infinity Books, Gordon Beck

Box 223

Merrickville, ON K0G 1N0


Mark Jokinen Books

271 George Street North

Peterborough ON K9J 3G9


Kyla Ubbink, Book & Paper Conservator

6544 Bilberry Drive,

Ottawa, ON.  K1C 4N6


R.P. Goodman

Box 173, Station H

Montreal, QC H3G 2K7


Ken Saunders

108 Salem Road

Stirling, ON K0K 3E0



2 Barbican Gate

St.Catharines, ON L2T 3Z8



107 Fourth Ave. 2nd Floor

Ottawa, ON  K1S 2L1


Patrick McGahern Books, Inc.

368 Dalhousie Street

Ottawa, ON K1N 7G3


Benjamin Books

122 Osgoode Street

OTTAWA, ON     K1N 6S2


Clive Gilbert- Bookseller

2312 Samuel Street

Ottawa, ON K1G 3C5                                             


Literary Tourist

148 Briston Private

Ottawa, ON   K1G 5P7


Scene of the Crime

20 Hawthorne Ave.

St.Catherines, ON L2M 6A9


Argosy Books

209 Dalhousie Street

Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7C9


 John Lord Books

14077 10th Line (North of Bloomington)

 Stouffville, ON

Date: Sunday October 16, 2011
Location: Tudor Hall, 3750 North Bowesville Rd., Ottawa
Admission: $5.00.
Free parking
Contact: begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              613-230-2275      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or 613-230-2275
September 23rd, 2011 • Posted in On Book Collecting

Book Collecting Ideas: Collecting Canadian

The latest issue of Canadian Notes and Queries magazine recently hit the newsstands. In it Mordecai looms large.  There are Richler-related pieces by Brian Busby and Randy Boyagoda, Michael Darling on his Richler book collection, and Charlie Foran proving, again, why I think he’s one of Canada’s best writers. There’s also, among many other good articles,  a surprisingly sympathetic treatment of Andre Alexis’ Beauty & Sadness by poet Shane Neilson, some patented Giller-bashing from Darryl Whetter, an absorbing story on rare book auctions by bookseller David Mason, and my contribution, entitled Collecting Canadian, which starts like this:

"I don’t buy cheap shoes. I buy expensive shoes.

Cheap shoes aren’t good for your feet. They screw up your posture, wear out quickly, and hurt your toes.

I buy expensive shoes, not due to any kind of extravagance, but rather because, on the contrary, they’re a better deal. They last longer, look better, and feel better. And they give your feet more support.

I do however buy cheap books, because cheap  – like the dead canary in the mine shaft – can indicate something very important.

Many cheap books are of course cheap for a reason. Their covers may be torn to rat shit, or their texts smeared with florescent pink highlighter ink. They may also be outdated. Fax machine manuals, for example, or 1970s computer language textbooks won’t cost you much. Nor will they serve a practical purpose, save perhaps for stopping a door or two.

Some cheap books though are worth more than you pay for them, their very cheapness a flag for as yet unseen value; an opportunity awaiting those smart enough to conceive of new collecting ideas.

In fact, cheap is precisely what you want if you collect books: untilled ground deep with grain nobody else has thought to harvest.  Unmatched is the joy of scoping out used book store shelves and church bazaar sales in search of value that others have yet to comprehend.

Identifying what you deem important and making the case for its importance, this is how great collectors cement their reputations.

With enough money, anyone can buy a great Hemingway collection, but what an utterly uninspired and unoriginal pursuit.  Yes, perhaps when he was in his twenties, and few had recognized his talent, then maybe collecting him would have been daring; but certainly not now.

Incunabula for example, or Modern First Editions – these were once cheap; once, nobody paid them mind. It took Edward Gordon Duff and Thomas J. Wise respectively to see, expound upon and convince others of the merits of these items; to elucidate their value. In just such a way much of the history of book collecting consists of smart collectors bringing attention to books previously overlooked.


Canadian books are cheap; in some cases dirt cheap.

This is probably due…

Read the rest at CNQ here.


September 18th, 2011 • Posted in Authors and Books

Audio Interview: George Walker on his Presses and creating and collecting Wood Engravings

George Walker is a wood engraver, book artist, author, illustrator and educator who has taught courses at the Ontario College of Art & Design since 1985. For over twenty years he has exhibited his wood engravings and limited edition books internationally. Among many book projects, George has illustrated two hand-printed editions written by Neil Gaiman. He is the author of The Inverted Line (2000 Porcupine’s Quill), ImagesFrom the Neocerebellum (Porcupine’s Quill 2007), The Woodcut Artist’s Handbook (Firefly Books 2005), and Graphic Witness (Firefly Books 2007). Elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 2002, Walker belongs to The Loving Society of Letterpress Printers, The Binders of Infinite Love and the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG).

I met recently with George and his partner/wife Michelle Hogan-Walker in Ottawa over breakfast. We talked about the various presses that the two of them have owned and operated, about his oeuvre, and his book collecting habit. Finally, we discuss Frans Masereel,  Lynd Ward , and Laurence Hyde, and the thread that traces Walker’s work back to the early part of the last century. Please listen here:

September 18th, 2011 • Posted in Authors and Books

The Corner Store by Gary Bunt

The Corner Store by Gary Bunt.

Arthur stopped off at the Corner shop
For a paper and ten Players Weights
He said to Tom
I best be off, otherwise I’ll be late

September 18th, 2011 • Posted in Literary Destinations

Literary Destination: Middlebury, Vermont

This from Joe Trenn:

Nigel Beale's Bookstore Photos

This from Joe Trenn:

Barbara Harding has moved her store from the small, cramped, downstairs location on Middlebury’s Main St where you can never find a parking spot to a new, large, spacious, light-filled shop in the middle of the Marble Works with plenty of free parking…Anyone ready for a full book day in the Middlebury area? Spend the morning at Otter Creek, followed by lunch at American Flat Bread or one of the other restaurants in the Marble Works. Walk up the alley or over the footbridge to Main Street’s Vermont Book Shop. Then on to Monroe Street Books on Route 7 north. Route 30 going south will bring you to Bulwagga Books in Whiting, Hermit Hill, Poultney or with a jog to the west The Book Shed in Benson.

September 17th, 2011 • Posted in Uncategorized

One of ECW Publisher Jack David’s Favourite Bookstores

Toronto Savvy

"One of my favourite bookstores was Village Books on Gerrard Street, just east of Yonge Street. The genial Marty Avhenus ran the shop, and just outside the front door was a wooden bin with odds and sods. It was there (around 1970) I first found some of bpNichol’s ephemera, and a copy of Alden Nowlan’s The Rose and the Puritan. I also bought a used copy of the Columbia Encyclopedia, my first purchase of a big, hardcover reference work. Many other future bookstore denizens worked there at various times, including (I think) Nelson Ball and (for sure) Ann Ireland (the author). And a gangly guy who opened up his own store later on; can’t remember his name, but I do recall Marty yelling his name (it just came to me: Arthur).

After I published the first issue of Essays on Canadian Writing, I figured I’d better sell some. By this time (1974) the reconstruction of the Gerrard Street village was taking place, and Marty had moved his store to Queen Street West, about a block west of University Avenue, on the south side. I took in my copies of the magazine, priced at $1.50 each, and he took three. No. He BOUGHT three, paying me $4.50. Cash. The only other success I had had was with Beth and Susan at Longhouse, the Canadian-only bookstore on Yonge near Wellesley.

We always remember early favours, and try to repay them at a later point."

Jack David is Publisher, Owner, Founder of ECW Press, based in Toronto, Canada.