Not sure how much it counts as a confession when everyone I’ve ever met has known it since the beginning, but…
I’m a borderline bookaholic.
No, I’m not a collector exactly; collectors worry about editions and conditions and provenance and all that stuff, which is all well and good, but I don’t do any of that. I just love to read the things. Paperbacks cost less and take less space on the shelf, which means more books in less space. This is a Good Thing.
So Saturday was … Book Day.
Started out hitting a couple of yard/garage sales (sometimes you find people getting rid of the most amazing stuff….) where I scored a more-or-less new copy of Muhammad Yunus’s socio-economic treatise on eliminating poverty by way of business. (Yunus founded the Grameen Bank; he knoweth whereof he speaketh.)
And then came the fun part… Book Fairs! Part 1: The Julia Ideson Library for the Houston History Book Fair. Get that? A gorgeous room full of books full of history. Yeah. I could lay out a whole LOT of money there, but work’s been thin lately… so I glanced through a couple of dozen books I need (Not counting the thousands I just WANT) and said hello to several friends – authors, booksellers, historians, collectors… before letting myself slink out with only one volume, the third of Elton Miles’s Tales from the Big Bend series. I don’t get to spend as much time out in Big Bend (or anywhere else) as I’d like, but I do have friends out that way and the tales are always worth the time….
And I was too busy checking books and greeting friends to shoot much (books and I go back WAY further than cameras and I, believe it or not)
Story Sloane, of Sloane Gallery fame, a friend and travelling companion of 20 years’ standing now (wait, wait, how did that happen? We ain’t that old, knees notwithstanding.) trading stories with Ann Becker, half of Becker’s Books, (from whom I scored the Miles, and made note she’s got a good stock in J. Frank Dobie, also high up on the stories to get list….) (Free promo notice … Sloane Gallery helped sponsor the event, and I’m sure Ann got her licks in there too, because she’s Just That Way.)
Besides there’s such a thing as being TOO invisible when shooting, as when columnist/historian/blogger J R Gonzales runs you over…
Said hi to Mike McCorkle, who’s put together (on a shoestring and a LOT of hard work….) a history of the City of Bellaire that’s now in its fourth edition (!), Capt. Paul Matthews of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, plus some good folks from the 1940 Air Terminal Museum down at Hobby Airport (what these guys don’t know about the history of commercial and private aviation in Texas probably isn’t worth knowing – but they want to learn about it anyway), Bright Sky Press (I’m not sure how long they’ve been around, but WOW do they have some nice work), Houston History Magazine, and, of course, HAM (plus several other local historians and authors whose cards fell out of my vest somewhere during the later part of the day, dammit!)….
If I’d hung out as long as I wanted I’d have spent way too much money and my truck would have been towed a dozen times…. plus there was the other book fair.
The Other Book Fair was at the Museum of Printing History which is another of Houston’s Lesser-Known Treasures. This fair seems to be far more about book as object than book as information, which means books way out of my price range (I stayed away from the white glove gallery room…) but I did find some neat people from the Book Arts Guild to steal ideas from. Further back I ran into Dan Becker, the other half of Becker’s Books, and John Dillman, part of Kaboom! books, Houston’s Least Eponymous Book Store, (a new favorite since the Chron sent me up there), the Friends of the Houston Public Library, from which I scored a copy of Laura Gilpin’s 1949 biography of the Rio Grande (complete with an interesting inscription), and half a dozen dealers in unique, rare, and antique things I can’t possibly afford….
And, around another corner, of course, was the Artist In Residence, Printmaker Charles Criner, and a couple of assistants, working on handprinted tshirts.
And it was at that point time to escape while I had an open route to the door and there were still books that hadn’t noticed me yet.
Spent the afternoon reading. Of course.