Happy Birthday, Steinbeck!

Steinbeck and Charley at his Sag Harbor home.

Imagine wrapping John Steinbeck’s home on Bluff Point with a gigantic red bow and presenting it to the literary world as a gift for the ages. This you could do today, February 27, Steinbeck’s birthday, with a cool $17.9 million, the asking price for the waterfront property where the Nobel Prize-winner once lived. In a more cultured world, that property and especially Steinbeck’s writer’s studio would be preserved for its world-wide literary value. Steinbeck wrote his last novel, The Winter of our Discontent, in that studio he named Joyous Garde, looking out on Sag Harbor Cove. His book Travels with Charley begins when Hurricane Donna kicks up those same waters and threatens his beloved boat, named for his wife, The Fayre Eleyne.  So maybe we band together with half a million friends and split the costs, however that would work out? Maybe squat the property? Better yet, let’s get local, regional, national agencies interested enough to add their voices and their coffers to this worthy cause. Sag Harbor village prides itself on being a writers’ village. Steinbeck was deeply fond of our place, and even founded our first Whalers festival. Couldn’t the village, the state and beyond recognize the importance of preserving this literary treasure? We sure hope so. Happy Birthday, John Steinbeck!

Listen HERE as co-owner Kathryn Szoka joins the Southampton Press Group to discuss saving Steinbeck’s place.

SIGN this PETITION to SAVE his Sag Harbor home. Sign NOW. Share widely. Many thanks!

Enjoy a literary Thanksgiving

Imagine you’re hosting a literary Thanksgiving. Who’d be at your table? We’d invite Herman Melville (natch), and sit him next to Rebecca Solnit. Her new book Orwell’s Roses would necessitate George himself be invited. Certainly we’d love to invite Toni Morrison and James Baldwin. Guests of honor would be Joy Harjo (Poet Warrior) and Louise Erdrich (The Sentence). Plus Colson Whitehead (Harlem Shuffle) and Nikole Hannah-Jones (The 1619 Project), making for lively conversation. Pass the cranberry sauce, please! With exciting new work by Richard Powers (Bewilderment) and Anthony Doer (Cloud Cuckoo Land) among many others, this fall’s literary harvest is bountiful, sure to keep us well fed for months to come. We can’t wait to share these titles, and more with you. Let us know who you’d like at your table!

40 Years of Canio’s in Sag Harbor!!

Where did the time go? October 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of Canio’s Books in continuous business at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor. What an extraordinary joy it’s been to provide our exceptionally creative and caring community with good books and interesting events all these many years. Come to our ZOOM party on Thurs. Nov. 19 when we’ll hear from special guests: founding owner Canio Pavone; New Yorker Comma Queen Mary Norris; ecologist/writer Carl Safina, and more. (Register at Zoom link on our Calendar of Events. )

To celebrate, we’re collecting & sharing stories.  Your stories. Your favorite “Canio’s Moment.” We want to celebrate how Canio’s Books has been a literary gathering place for all in Sag Harbor. 

Tell us about a book you discovered, maybe one that changed your life. Tell us about an author you met at one of our events, a writer you long admired. Tell us about what it was like for you to read your own work at the bookshop. Tell us about a hidden gem you discovered while browsing. Tell us about a friendship that started in the stacks. Tell us what the bookshop means to you now. Especially now, in this year of unprecedented challenges. Let’s remember together some of the joys you’ve experienced at Canio’s Books. 

Have FUN with it! . Send us your video clip or written piece (details below).   

Thank you for helping us celeberate! We’re so grateful for our supportive community. You’ve helped the bookshop thrive through these four decades. We look forward to more stories being created each & every day we open our doors.

with gratitude & thanks,

Maryann & Kathryn


Submission Guidelines

WRITTEN: Submit your story (prose or poetry welcome!) by email to caniosbooks@verizon.net  Subject: Celebration Story . Please send prose in 12 pt. type, double-spaced. Maximum ten pages. And one concise paragraph is just perfect!

VIDEO:

  • Production: It doesn’t have to be high art; it’s content that counts! Be sure the audio quality is clear and we can see your face. Facial expressions are key; be sure you’re close to your camera. Shoot during daylight to make lighting easier.
  • Landscape mode: Please shoot video in landscape mode otherwise, your face will be small and most of the screen will be dark. If you shoot from your phone, be sure to turn it lengthwise!
  • Keep it short: 30sec-2min is ideal; but if you’ve got a really good story to tell, longer is fine!
  • Uploading:  When your video is done, send it via WeTransfer.com to caniosculturalcafe@gmail.com.  

Elena Ferrante Day! Sept. 1

Come Tuesday, September 1 all other books you’re reading must be put aside to make room for the new Ferrante novel. What is it about the propulsive pace of a Ferrante sentence that pulls us along? Before we realize it, we’ve fallen deep into the inner reaches of her narrator’s psyche. We’re breathless. Everything else must wait.

Since mid- spring we’ve been eager for the official release of Lying Life of Adults. Books are stacked waiting for their readers. September 1 is “Elena Ferrante Day” so stop by to get your copy then cancel all other appointments, except for our Zoom discussion with translator Ann Goldstein and author Mary Norris, Saturday, September 12. (Check our events calendar to register for this event.

AND on this auspicious day, join us on FACEBOOK LIVE at 6 p.m. with beloved author Adriana Trigiani (Big Stone Gap, Tony’s Wife, Kiss Carlo & more) whose fascinating weekly book talks feature terrific authors and showcase an independent bookshop. On Tuesday, September 1, Canio’s Books’ co-owners Maryann & Kathryn will share the spotlight. Author guests include Dr. Eddie Glaude, Begin Again;  Nancy Pearl , Writers Library; and Lorenzo CarcaterraPayback. What better way to celebrate great contemporary novels than with Elena Ferrante & Adriana Trigiani. Fantastico!

Connecting You with Books

Browsers welcome! Masks are a must for in-store browsing. We’d love to see you and help you find just the right book. We’re now open all week. Sun & Mon: noon to five; Tues. through Sat. 11 to 5:30. Stop in soon!

If you’d prefer curbside service, we’re happy to assist. Contact us by phone or email. Send specific titles or requests for recommendations to: caniosbooks@verizon.net.

Or call 631-725-4926. Give us a few hints about what you like to read, and we’ll do the rest.  Free shipping for orders over $50.; free local delivery (Sag Harbor area); and curb-side pick-up.  Credit card pre-payment is preferred.

Beyond books, we have word games, puzzles, and notebooks to keep your household engaged. It’s  a great time to try our Simpson & Vail literary teas for a cup of warm refreshment through the day of your stay-at-home. What better way to wash up than with Southampton Soap Company‘s lovely selection of gentle, all natural hand soaps.  Add a literary T-shirt to your stay-at-home wardrobe for a comfortably bookish look.

Consider opening a house account via our Canio’s Community Supported Books program.  Start with a $100. minimum balance and make purchasing easier. We appreciate our support of Canio’s Books. We’re working hard to keep you connected to the world of books you love. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sit Tight in the Buggy

What with no basketball to watch this month as both the NBA and NCAA have canceled games, this waiting out the worst of the corona virus will take some resilience. But we can handle it! We at Canio’s are taking extra precautions, stepping up sanitizing at the shop, practicing social distancing, and teaching our photography & writing workshops on Zoom. While our in-house events are postponed for now, the lights are on, and we’re open for business, with reduced hours: 12-5, closed Wednesday.  We are also available other times by appointment. You are welcome to call or email in an order anytime!

We’ll get through this crisis as a caring community. We want to be sure you’re healthy and safe, and also well read. We’re offering FREE shipping/delivery and curbside pickup.  Please know we value your health and safety and your business.

We are looking into setting up virtual events via Zoom, YouTube & Facebook Live.  Stay tuned for details.

Many helpful healthful tips are provided in this article by Dr. James Hamblin writing in The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-what-you-can-do-help-slow-outbreak/607369/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

As a dear customer once advised us during another rocky time we had to endure: “sit tight in the buggy”  a local expression handed down from his mid-west ancestors accustomed to arduous rides over miles of rocky terrain in horse-drawn carriages. They must have been some strong people. And so are we!

James Monaco, film expert, publisher, friend

Jim came to one of our literary costume parties dressed as the poet Paul Oppenheimer. We hadn’t heard of the poet, but with Jim you were always learning something. He wore a tweed jacket typical of any college professor, jazzed up with an outrageously loud tie, the poet’s signature fashion statement. Around his neck, Jim wore a placard with an Oppenheimer quote: “The Battle is To Rescue Life from Abstraction.”  Through our friendship, we learned something about the significance of that quote.

We first met Jim when he presented a set of field guides he’d just published by naturalist Mike Bottini a much-admired and longtime friend. Jim’s list with Harbor Electronic Publishers includes many important works that celebrate local history and document cultural and natural life on the East End – those very qualities that make our community unique. He published Voices of Sag Harbor: a Village Remembered; True Tales of Old Sag Harbor by Jim Marquardt; On Montauk: a Literary Celebration; Oh, That’s Another Story, featuring full-color wood block paintings by Whitney Hansen and oral histories gathered by Alexandra Eames. A fishing memoir On the East End: The Last Best Times of a Long Island Fishing Community by Clarence Hickey; an artist’s memoir, A Life of Lights and Shadows by Nicki Gioia Mitchell; and our own collection, Sag Harbor Is: a Literary Celebration. That first encounter led, over time, to a much cherished friendship.

Jim excelled at many things. A well-known film expert, his master work How To Read a Film published by Oxford University Press is considered the definitive film resource.  His other film books include American Film Now, The New Wave, The Encyclopedia of Film, and The Connoisseur’s Guide to the Movies.

Jim was an innovator and early adaptor of digital technology. But he also loved the outdoors. An avid gardener, recycler and environmentalist, Jim was co-founder in 2012 of Long Island Nature Organization a clearinghouse for scientists, educators and the public on all matters of Long Island nature. An annual LINO conference now in its seventh year brings together hundreds of participants to share important research.

Jim loved to walk the shore at Long Beach observing often overlooked flora and fauna. We’d see him there regularly combing the shore, reporting back on some little known plant just then in bloom.

Through Jim’s vast work writing on films, publishing local history, tracking the successes and failures of myriad Italian seeds he’d plant, observing the movement of turkeys in his yard, his life was a seemingly endless and creative battle against abstraction. Deeply rooted in the particulars was where Jim lived.

Jim Monaco died in late November. He was a dear friend, greatly admired for his keen intelligence, sharp wit, multiplicity of skills and interests, and mostly for his generous spirit, not one to toot his own horn though he had ample reason to. He will be sorely missed. But he’s left us a legacy of books and good deeds, a testament to his own love of our community.

20 Years at Canio’s!

How did we get here? How did we get to be counting 20 wonderful miraculous years as owners of Canio’s Books? We got here because of so many dear loyal fascinating smart quirky customers who’ve taught us much over the years. Who’ve supported us as their neighborhood bookshop, or who’ve ordered books from afar; who came to events in all kinds of weather, who were speakers themselves; who made donations, baked cookies, autographed copies; who volunteered to help keep our doors open.  Through twenty very full years as booksellers, we’ve been humbled, amazed, inspired by all those we’ve met here at Canio’s. The bookshop is indeed our University. Thank you for being part of our ongoing efforts to give back to this community so rich in creativity, in literary and artistic history, and precious natural beauty.

Read more about our anniversary here: https://easthamptonstar.com/20191017/20-years-literature-and-community-canios

Come celebrate with us at our Literary Costume Party, Saturday, November 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. Dress as your favorite writer, character or creative person. And that could be you!

Because We Don’t Live on Books Alone

We occasionally have to eat! Fans of the Mediterrean diet well before it became fashionable, we’d been long time diners at the Hellenic Snack Bar on the North Fork.  So when we first read chef/owner George Giannaris’ hilarious memoir Ferry Tales, we knew we had to invite him to Canio’s one day.  The book is a delightful collection of stories about the pleasures, pains and pure absurdities of restaurant life, serving the public and living in a beautiful “nowhere” close to a major transportation hub that links Long Islanders to the world beyond. Fast forward some years, and in comes chef George, his wife Maria and fixings for a feast for 50 people. In our cramped bookshop, and in under 50 minutes, George created an appetizing and bountiful display of delectables to satisfy everyone lucky enough to squeeze in. With Herculean effort George and Maria served up a generous portion of Greek hospitality, because that’s what they do so well. If you missed that colossal event,   check out George’s YouTube series AwareHouseChef. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKjFhi0evAA It offers helpful tips any home cook can follow to eat well, organically, and affordably.

Lucette Lagnado , Brilliant Memoirist

To read Lucette Lagnado’s captivating memoir The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit is to enter a world, a city, a family of exquisite beauty and complicated history. It illuminates a story of Jews in old Cairo, a family’s struggle with misfortune, banishment into exile in Europe, who eventually rebuild a home in New York. But even as the family manages to start a new life, how much have they lost along the way? To read this memoir is to encounter a paradigm of the genre. The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit won the 2008 Sami Rohr prize for best book of Jewish Literature, and garnered much critical acclaim.

To have befriended Lucette Lagnado and her devoted husband Douglas Feiden has been one of our greatest pleasures as proprietors of Canio’s Books.  So it is with deep sadness that we mark Lucette’s passing on July 10. A brilliant writer, tenacious reporter, deeply compassionate woman, she wrote passionately about health care issues and the elderly for The Wall Street Journal. Her first book, Children of the Flames describes heinous medical experiments perpetrated by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. Her second memoir The Arrogant Years tells her mother’s story entwined with Lucette’s own development as a headstrong young woman just coming into her own. Lucette’s words and work will live on indefinitely. Her indomitable spirit and warm heart we will always cherish.


Canio’s Books is located at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963, 631.725.4926. Call or email us, caniosbooks@verizon.net. While we love you to SEE you, you can also order new titles at our online storefront or some of our second hand inventory HERE. Thanks for visiting!