Saturday, April 03, 2004

Just back from a trip to beautiful Garden City Long Island, home of the Long Island Antiquarian Book Fair. My friend Dan Wechsler and I have made a few trips in the last year to smaller fairs such as this one, and for the most part they are an opportunity to see a few colleagues and friends, and perhaps pick up a few books for reading. This one was no exception. Considering its location near the tony North Shore of Long Island, the show included few antiquarian dealers from New York City, or even some of the dealers of more rare material from Long Island itself (although I did notice several of these dealers in attendance to buy, but not exhibit). Quality was spotty, with lots of interesting books in just ok condition, and a booth or two which really should have been taken outside and fumigated.

There were, however, still lots of good things to see and perhaps purchase. David Bergman, a bit of an eccentric, and a specialist in Natural History and Paleontology, had a big booth for his very big books. David, a very strong and athletic baseball nut, is not a man of great stature, but his books of choice are mostly large and heavy folios, predominantly in his fields of interest, but also in the decorative arts. It's a pleasure to walk into a booth filled with books of an entirely different scale. It serves to remind us that not all books are octavos. A similar experience can be had at the Boston "Garage" show, where for many years now, one dealer has exhibited only miniatures (I've always envied this dealer the ease with which he can pack and leave).

Tom Congleton was also there, with a selection of stock from Between the Covers, including some great baseball books just in time for the beginning of the season. I'll admit that baseball books have never been my thing, but they take on an added meaning in the Spring.

A dealer I have never seen before, from Waccabuc, NY, (I apologize for not getting names - there was no dealer list supplied by the fair organizers), had a number of interesting things, including some very fine condition fifites and sixties paperbacks with lurid covers (again not an area I know anything about, but they were nice to see). The condition was very crisp, which is wonderful for a category of book usually found in miserable condition. They also had a nice copy of the Oxford 3 volume edition of Euclid's Elements. This is something I'd very much like to have for my own library, but I'm holding on to my resources for the business right now.

At the end of it all, I got out of there with a dozen or so books, including several wine books, a nice copy of Cyril Connolly's Rock Pool, an inscribed copy of Lionel Trilling's Liberal Imagination, and a few volumes to add to my collection of Bollingen imprints. Not bad, and not too much money was spent overall. Dan and I grabbed some lunch in Wiliamsburg, Brooklyn on the way home, at the Williamsburg Diner, an amazing little restaurant in an old railroad-car style diner. Not the best fair I've been to, but still a very pleasant way to spend half a day.

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