Rare Book Library Stuff

As those of you who regularly follow me may notice, I have been MIA for about a month now. For most of the month, I have no excuse other than being really busy. But who isn’t? I hope to start doing better. Though last week, from July 17 – July 22, 2016, I have an excuse! I was at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar in Colorado Springs! I tend to post about books I have read, but this week I am going to change things up a bit and tell you about the rare book seminar I attended.

The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) was a lot of fun, but also intense, informative, and challenging. Sunday, I flew in to Colorado where I met the specialty dealer speaker, Don Lindgren of Rabelais Fine Books, on the shuttle from Denver to Colorado Springs. Don and his wife sell cookbooks and other culinary books in their store in Maine and online. It was neat getting to know him briefly on the ride and I really enjoyed his talk on Wednesday about his personal bookselling experiences.

Did I mention this week was intense? Monday we received an overview of the week, learned about the bookselling business as a whole, and began our sessions on books as a physical object and bibliography. I received so much information on that first day that I was grateful to have a relaxing chuck wagon dinner with my fellow classmates and the faculty. Colorado College was an ideal location for the seminar. The location is gorgeous with the mountains to the west and convenient with downtown Colorado Springs in walking distance to the south.


Chuckwagon Dinner Monday Night

Tuesday through Thursday we had intense classes, covering all areas of bookselling, collecting, and evaluating books as objects. My favorite classes were about observing the book as a physical object. Some aspects I already knew, having worked in Special Collections in some capacity since 2011, but I learned a lot too. Terry Belanger taught the basics of collation and gave a general history of the book, but my favorite class of his was about bookbinding. I loved the overview of bookbinding history and understanding why they bound or bind books the way they do. For example, I learned that in the mid-1800s, bookbinders discovered that a cardboard and cloth combination used for ladies’ hats could also be used for book covers!


Collation example of Come In and Other Poems in a Robert Frost Bibliography

On Friday, more was discussed about selling to libraries. This not only benefitted the booksellers, but also the librarians in the room. The faculty did an excellent job explaining the condition of modern American libraries, how and what they are buying, and what can be done to help support library collections. As I am not a curator, this was all good information for me to understand a bit more about the acquisition process of special collections and libraries in general. Katherine Reagan from Cornell was the librarian on the faculty. She and her fellow bookseller faculty members explained how libraries and booksellers are a part of the same team and we need to work together to help preserve our history through books, ephemera, and other items. I am blessed to work in a library and am looking forward to seeing how libraries continue to grow and evolve throughout my career!!

As a side note: on Tuesday night, my friend who lives in Colorado, visited me in Colorado Springs. We drove to Manitou Springs. That place is awesome and you should all go check out the penny arcade!


Had fun with 5 and 10 cent games!

P.S. On the plane to Colorado, I read Relish. I will be writing up a post on that graphic novel soon! I promise.


Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1

By Kelly Sue DeConnick ; Art by Emma Rios


Death. Death is something that happens to everyone in time. Some survive for years, others do not. In this story, even death has its cycle. Death (personified) can be replaced with a new Death. Through this fairytale-like story, set in the Wild West, we see the impact death has on the world and in people’s lives.

A butterfly and a skeleton rabbit (Bones Bunny) narrate Pretty Deadly. Traditionally, a butterfly symbolizes new life, and in this situation, Bones Bunny represents death. Therefore, personified symbols of new life and death narrate the story of Death replacing Death. Confusing? Yes, I was confused too. However, DeConnick uses these narrators to weave a tale together in pieces, revealing only a little of each character at a time. This method allows me to truly appreciate individual characters as they are gradually revealed and as their past is steadily uncovered.

To introduce the characters generally, Sissy and Fox put on a show for the local villagers for money. They tell the story of Mason and Beauty. Mason takes his love and locks her in a tower to keep her away from other men. She pleads with him, saying she will die if she is locked up. He does not listen. She pleads with Death to take her. Death instead falls in love with her, but eventually grants her request. However, she and Death have a child that Death names Ginny. Ginny becomes a Reaper of Vengeance, “a hunter of men who have sinned.” She is then called Deathface Ginny.

The art is as beautiful as it is gruesome. I love how Rios incorporates the symbolism of the story into her art. Butterflies burst forth from death, water engulfs the living and brings new life, and the desert reveals the lack of life in the world. Life and death go hand in hand. Even when a character dies, he or she is still alive, they are just not “among the living.” Souls seem to live on despite physical death, yet they can eventually be “set free,” as Alice desires throughout the story. Although this tale seems to overtly focus on death, to me it comments more on the beauty and frailty of life.

I checked this book out from my local library and hope to check out volume 2 that comes out in late August 2016! I first discovered DeConnick by reading Captain Marvel and fell in love with her story telling ability. I am looking forward to reading more books by her and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.