Don’t Call It A Comeback, Or, The Bookseller Returns
By Chris Lowenstein
For several months now, I’ve been trying to return to regular posting on the blog and every time I do, it seems my time for writing is thwarted by other circumstances. I’m back. Again. For now. Don’t call it a comeback, because posting may not last and it definitely won’t be daily, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
Where have I been the past few months?
Are you ready for this?
I’ve expanded my bibliophilic duties to include along with bookselling another job I used to do long ago and really enjoyed. That’s right, I’ve been working at a local high school since last April.
And I’ve been tutoring some visiting students from China in English since the fall semester began.
As of last week, I began teaching freshmen and sophomore English — five classes of about 30 students apiece.
There are various reasons, many of which are interesting only to me. One of the reasons that is worth mentioning to the book-loving readers of this blog is that if there is to be a next generation of book collectors, we who sell books must first encourage a generation of book lovers, of people who understand that reading a printed book is a different experience than reading a back-lit screen. Many antiquarian booksellers worry about whether the generation coming up - a generation raised on the digital device - will, when they come of age, bother with something as archaic as book collecting. Some even wonder if they’ll bother with something as archaic as book reading.
Being a mother of two people who are part of the digital generation, I have an especially vested interest in this concern. I want my own children and my students to know the satisfaction of reading well-chosen words. The scent of ink sunk into fibrous paper like salve into a wound. The alluring glint of gleaming gilt, beckoning a reader to the contents inside. The story of another, someone whom the poetry of Christopher Morley describes as “A voice of human laughter or distress/A word that no one needs as much as I.” The satisfying “thunk” of a well-read book slammed shut when the story is spent. The passionate discussion of what makes a book great. Books provide pleasure and insight on all levels.
But so antiquarian bookselling seemed to me when I started Book Hunter’s Holiday back in 2007, and I’m still here.
It goes without saying that Book Hunter’s Holiday will keep on bookin’. I’m not closing the business, but you’ll see less of me online than in previous years. I’ll definitely see you at the 46th International Antiquarian Book Fair in San Francisco in February. In the meantime, look for some posts to preview what I’ll be bringing to the fair.
See you in the stacks and in the classroom!
(Published by Chris Lowenstein on Book Hunter’s Holiday. Presented here by permission of the author.)
>>> 46th California International Antiquarian Book Fair from 15th to 17th February 2013