Archive for the 'Books we love' Category

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 1956 – 2019

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.

Got Moby?

If you’ve groaned whenever someone mentioned Melville’s  Moby-Dick, if you’ve tried to read it but couldn’t, or if you’ve run screaming away from it,  we want you! One of the reasons we continue the marathon reading tradition, begin around 1983 at the bookshop, is to introduce this leviathan beauty to new readers. Sure we love the book. Sure we cheer when it mentions Sag Harbor (twice). But we really love the way it calls to new readers even in 2019. We want to give folks an easy way in to the language, the poetry, the vast sprawl of the book. Come listen for a bit. Hearing the great work read aloud makes quick converts. You can’t help get swept out to sea with Ishmael, Quequeg, Starbuck and Capt. Ahab. This year’s event will be our best-ever. It’s Melville’s Bicentennial! We’re honored actors Harris Yulin and Alec Baldwin will read. We want to be sure you’ve Got Moby, too. June 7 through 9.  See our 2019 MOBY-DICK MARATHON EVENTS SCHEDULE

Just One Book

If we could recommend just one book for all on your gift giving list this holiday season, it’d be, with a doubt The Lost Words written by British nature writer Robert Macfarlane and illuminated with gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Jackie Morris. This oversized art book collects nature words, simple ones like “fern”, “ivy”, “magpie” and “starling” and spins poetry around them, splashes pages with greens and gold and rich earth tones in stunning displays. Collects these words and paints them on outsized pages, reweaving them into the language. Why? Because they were left out of the recent junior edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. In their place, words from the world of technology crept in. But careful readers noticed and objected and turned their concern into action, creating a charity dedicated to inspiring young people to become advocates for the natural world. A portion of book sales is donated to Action for Conservation. Just one book. But with so many important words to say. Copies available at Canio’s. How many should we reserve for you?

Remembering Barbara Wersba

Remembering Writer, Teacher, Publisher Barbara Wersba

We remember fondly and with great admiration Barbara Wersba a longtime customer and friend of Canio’s Books.  Barbara’s keen intelligence, sharp wit and literary insight were a few of her qualities that distinguished her in a community of literary types.   Barbara Wersba wrote  Walter, The Story of a Rat, a charming story set in Safe Harbor about a friendship between a lonely writer, Miss Amanda Pomeroy and a rat with literary aspirations.  Other titles include Penny Parade: A Christmas Story; Let Me Fall Before I Fly among other titles. Her Bookman Press produced a series of chapbooks, designed by Jerry Kelly, noted for their physical beauty as well as their literary quality. Bookman Press published stories, essays and poems by such authors as George Sand, Kennedy Fraser,  Simon Van Booy, and Joe Pintauro among many others.

Barbara lived for many years in North Haven where she opened her home to writing students with whom she shared her exacting literary standards as well as her encouragement.

A graveside service will be held Friday, February 23 at 11 a.m. at Oakland Cemetery, Jermain Avenue, Sag Harbor.

The Only Poll You Need to Know About

Undone by the relentless vacillations in this year’s presidential election polls, to say nothing of that nail-biting late-night extra-inning rain-delayed World Series Championship win by the come-from-behind Chicago Cubs (whew!), I just had to consult our Parisian pollster and restaurateur Craig Carlson.

Do you know his amazing memoir, Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France? This highly recommended read takes us on a wild ride from Craig’s “crazy” idea of opening an American-style dinner in Paris, to realizing that dream complete with pleasures, pitfalls and panic-attacks along the way. Sort of like those Cubs, rallying after near elimination! Craig is victorious with three popular Breakfast in America locations in the culinary capital of the world! Craig read at Canio’s in September, and yes, we even served pancakes with Vermont maple syrup.

So how is the Breakfast in America “presidential election” going in Paris? Back in 2012 his restaurant offered customers “an election” choice between two blue-plate specials:  the Romney Omlette and the Obama Burger. They kept count, and announced the overwhelming winner: the Obama Burger by a landslide!

This year he’s featuring a choice between the Hillary “Hot & Nasty” Hamburger served with hot sauce, a nod to Secretary Clinton’s penchant for Tabasco, and the Trump “Totally-Rigged” Wrap with a “wall” of tortilla chips.  The count right now: 34 hamburgers to 4 wraps. Voila! That settles it for me! Bon appetite and happy reading!

Walt is coming!

“Starting from Paumanok”, and continuing all day in Sag Harbor, community readers will gather at Canio’s on Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. until around 6 p.m. to read from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Don’t miss a chance to meet “Mr. Whitman Long Island,” aka Darrel Blaine Ford, who in his eighties and with a long white beard bears a striking resemblance to America’s most well known poet. When he was only a child, Mr. Ford took a very long bicycle ride from his home near the South Shore to the  Whitman birthplace in West Hills.  Whitman himself trekked up and down Long Island from Brooklyn out to Montauk with regular visits to his sister in Greenport.

On Friday, May 20 at 6 p.m. learn more about Whitman on Long Island with speaker William T. Walter, president of the Whitman Birthplace who will join us at Canio’s and set us on the right path for our all-day reading on Saturday.

Finally, pick up a copy of Leaves, a tin of Whitman’s green tea blend, or if you’re reading with us, you’ll receive a commemorative button. And don’t miss our after-party, Saturday evening….after all, we’re celebrating Whitman’s birthday!


Canio's Books is located at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. You can drop an email to info@caniosbooks.com, or even check out some of our stock online. Thanks for visiting our blog!

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