Sunday, April 01, 2007

Report from Boston MARIAB Fair

I spent most of Saturday out at the Bayside Expo Center enjoying the MARIAB book fair. A good selection of New England book dealers, with a few outliers thrown in for good measure (there were a couple booths from Canada, New York, and the Griffons brought some of their illuminated manuscripts up from St. Petersburg, FL). A very manageable fair; I got through my first pass of all the booths in under two hours, then poked back around a few of them two or three more times. I swung through the antiques side briefly, but quickly remembered why it is that I collect books and not oh, antique tables or lamps or paintings or something: for what they offer us, books are a steal!

There were some really excellent offerings in the book department: a Historia Insectorum Generalis (1693), with some amazing insect engravings (magnified by microscope) really caught my eye ... sadly it cost more than a month's rent, and stayed on the shelf. The Brattle recently acquired a neat collection of books containing subscriber lists, and had some on display including a set of Laurence Sterne's works with William Franklin (Ben's son) as the first subscriber. Another work listed Washington and Franklin as the first subscribers. I could go on all day ...

I was delighted to have a chance to meet some of my longtime book-blog correspondents, including Joyce from Bibliophile Bullpen and Ian from Lux Mentis (who's got a couple dispatches from the show posted already, here and here) [update: Joyce has a dispatch from the fair up now too]. And it's always nice to see the Boston book community out in full force. I was surprised when the organizers finally opened the doors that very few among the crowd headed for the book-side of the fair first, but things filled out fairly well toward the middle of the day. Hopefully things got a little busier later in the day and will continue thus for Sunday (10-5 today, so you've still got time to get there!).

Of course the big question: what'd I buy?? Surprisingly I ended up spending more on prints than books: Paper Art (Newburyport) had a couple "bargain bins" that I sifted through and found a few goodies for $10 or less which I couldn't pass up. Seventeenth and eighteenth century images mainly: printing presses, the Radcliffe Library at Oxford, some geometrical perspectives, an Audubon portrait, and a few gifts. I also picked up a very nice copy of Extracts from the Writings of Francis Fenelon (the author of Telemachus, of which I saw not a single example yesterday). That was an excellent find, and one I'm quite happy with.

Like I said, you've still got today, so hustle out to Bayside and enjoy a Sunday with books.