Monday, April 17, 2006

mining the shelves and fileboxes

Those of you who know me, know that about half of my book selling work consists of appraisals and the inventory of literary and artistic archives in preparation for their sale or donation to an institution. Much of this work comes to me through my working relationship with another dealer of rare books, and I'm somewhat restricted in what I can discuss out of respect for the privacy of those who hire us. But something I can discuss is the wonderful opportunity afforded by these visits to the homes, offices and studios of writers, artists, editors and others. Before each session begins, I open myself up a little file on my laptop for notes, and fill it as I go with book citations, names of artists I'm coming across for the first time, specific recordings and even quotes. Here are a few from some recent visits:

Forrest Gander's broad minded collection of essays, A Faithful Existence, takes on a number of subjects somewhat unfamiliar to me, including contemporary Southern poetry, but his passion for the material pulled me through. I ended up reading this through twice in successive nights, an unusual feat for me, as I usually read multiple books simultaneously in fits in starts.

[an unfinished post - more in the morning]

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

new acquisitions

The book shopping never stops around here, even when I'm mostly busy at home. Some recent acquisitions (for personal consumption - not resale) include: a collection of essays by the historian of archaic and classical Greece, J.P. Vernant, Mortals & Immortals, Antonio Lobo Antunes' The Natural Order of Things, the Lobel and Page edition of Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, and poet Ann Carson's book length poem, The Beauty of the Husband.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

global warming

It's hard to complain about the consumption of hydrocarbons when I'm reaping the benefits here in Maine with two 70+ degree days in a row in March! I might feel differently if I were an ice fisherman or snowmobiler - two groups of people who spent their winters' extracting personal property from icy water at the bottom of lakes.

The warm weather brings with it the end of sap collecting season. The Giles Family Farm people came by the day before yesterday to remove the sap buckets from our trees and pull out the taps. Fortunately my nieces were here the day before and saw the sap collection process for themselves. Now they know the origins of at least one item on the kitchen table.

The yard work is beginning to show some progress. I've pruned the two larger apples trees to within an inch of their lives, and some raking in various flower beds has exposed all sorts of nascent early spring blooms. New categories of materials to be stored arise, so alongside several different levels of compost, I will need spaces for rocks (big, medium and small), two different types of slate and flat rock, tree branches to be chipped, and the chips I hope to make.

We've mapped out the general shape and location of the patio, and I'll need to order sand and crushed rock, along with the stone itself. My friend Mike has promised to lend me his backhoe, so I will need to learn another dangerous trade (at least for us bookish types).