Canio’s Books was founded in 1980 by Canio Pavone, when Sag Harbor was still a “charming fishing village,” as some have described it. Driving through Sag Harbor after reading Joe Pintauro’s novel set there, Canio discovered a shop in an old building with a FOR RENT sign in the window.
His dream of owning a bookstore was realized on October 1, 1980 when the doors of Canio’s Books opened, and the shop’s storied life began. Nelson Algren, a recent arrival to the village, became a regular, sharing coffee and talking books with Canio Saturday mornings. Algren inaugurated Canio’s author reading series in May 1981. Later, the Moby Dick marathon readings brought crowds to the bookshop in celebration of this great American novel that mentions Sag Harbor. Readings, art receptions, concerts, community events, and more continue year-round.
In 1999, Maryann Calendrille, a writer, and Kathryn Szoka, photographer, took over Canio’s Books developing the tradition and adding their own particular interests and talents. Both teach workshops at the store, and Kathryn focuses on photography and has expanded Canio’s Gallery to highlight local artists. The carefully curated book collection includes new and used literature, fiction and non-fiction, lovely children’s books, art, poetry, and history, plus books on cooking, food, the environment, nature and spirituality. One requirement is that all books are very well written and worth reading.
In 2009 Maryann & Kathryn created the 501c3 not-for-profit Canio’s Cultural Cafe. The CCC hosts lectures, workshops, seminars and other public forums that include a diversity of artists, writers, educators, independent scholars, students, and community members who might not otherwise be heard. Writing and photography workshops, environmental and spiritual community courses are part of the mix.
In celebration of our 35th year, we’re bringing back the Moby-Dick Marathon reading…a popular event launched by Canio and supported by voices famous and unknown over its many years. We’ll celebrate through the year with special events. Join the Marathon reading by contacting the shop to register to read, or sponsor a chapter.
290 Main Street * Sag Harbor, NY 11963 * 631.725.4926
info at caniosbooks dot com