Sunday, November 16, 2008

View from the Floor: Boston Book Fair

Another excellent biblio-weekend in Boston. The 32d annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair attracted a very decent crowd on all three days, and there certainly seemed to be a fair bit of buying going on. I was there for most of the evening on Friday, then through the afternoon on Saturday and again for a couple hours today. The aisles seemed healthily full most of the time, and I heard less dealer-grumbling than usual about the traffic volume.

There were 139 exhibitors this time, about twenty more than usual. That allowed for a wider range of books and dealers; it was nice to see some new and different faces this year along with the old standbys. The offerings were rich and varied, and included some real gems: a Shakespeare Second Folio, some excellent natural history books, a few good maps, a gorgeous copy of John Josselyn's New-England's Rarities, and the usual amazing examples of early Americana from Bill Reese. Those who like the more modern things had lots to choose from as well, (or so I hear).

I didn't buy anything this year, although Ian has a really spectacular first edition of Bibliomania that I'm going to save up my pennies for, and I heard about a nice copy of William Henry Ireland's Confessions (not at the fair) that I have to follow up on.

It was, as always, great to see friends, teachers, and dealers who I only get to see a couple times a year at most, and to make some new connections for next year. All told, a very good weekend, even if a very tiring one.

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