Archive for the 'Books we love' Category

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!

Poet Grace Schulman Honored

We’re thrilled to join in celebrating poet Grace Schulman, winner of the 2016 Frost Medal, the highest award given by The Poetry Society of America. Grace has been a frequent reader at Canio’s Books, and we can’t think of a better person to receive this honor. Her poetry, essays and literary criticism have long been among our favorite works and are always highly recommended by our staff. Her poems about the East End landscape, about New York street corners, about jazz, aging and love are living examples of what poetry aspires to: transforming the lived experience into art.

Grace joins highly esteemed previous winners of the Forst Award: Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Lucille Clifton, Charles Simic, Marilyn Nelson, and Kamau Brathwaite, the 2015 recipient.

Grace Schulman is author of seven volumes of poetry including Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems, The Paintings of Our Lives, and most recently Without a Claim.   She is editor of The Poems of Marianne Moore. Her essay collection is First Loves and Other Adventures. Grace has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for Poetry, and  a Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is Distinguished Professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY, the former director of the Poetry Center, 92nd Street Y, 1974-84, and former poetry editor of The Nation, 1971-2006. A lifetime of achievements, indeed! But what’s more, Grace is someone who lives out her name. Congratulations, Grace!

 

More Moby Madness

Another busman’s holiday this time up the Massachusetts coast to attend the 20th annual Moby-Dick marathon reading at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Melville aficionados came from near and far (Fairhaven, MA and California respectively), and read in languages ranging from English to Dutch, French, Mandarin, Portuguese, Hebrew, Spanish. Some 6000 listened via podcast from all points around the globe including Australia and the Arctic! Nathanial Philbrick, whose In the Heart of the Sea, is now playing in theaters, was the kick-off reader who got to utter the famous opening line, “Call me Ishmael.” A mini-marathon was held for children reading a much abbreviated version in one hour. The full-blown reading lasted 25 hours or so with intrepid readers sleeping overnight in the museum. A new Herman Melville room was dedicated, and a 4-hour reading in Portuguese was such a success, it will likely be repeated in years to come.

At the pre-reading Friday night dinner and presentation, we met a father and son, age 16,  from nearby Huntington. It was the son’s second experience at the New Bedford marathon. His proud father beamed with love and pride as the young man read clearly and forcefully later that weekend on Sunday morning. We met the great, great grandson of Melville, who with his two nephews also took their turns at the reader’s podium.  Author Philip Hoare whose book The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea, is a best-seller at Canio’s, infused his reading with dramatic flair that brought the story to life. Mr. Hoare mentioned another Moby marathon reading in April in Provincetown. Sounds like good reason for another road-trip!

For the famous sermon scene, some 300 audience members scurried over to the Seaman’s Bethel across the street from the museum where a real-life pastor gave an inspired rendition of that Jonah story. The entire assembly joined in signing the hymn accompanied on organ and with help from the local church’s choir.

Kathryn was reader #5 on the list of 180 stand-by readers. Reading slots as well as seats at the opening and close of the event, are, in the words of organizers, “competitive.” At a pre-marathon event with members of The Herman Melville Society, an august group of literary scholars from various universities, Maryann was awarded a button reading, “I Stumped the Scholars” for her question: “How does Melville’s Moby-Dick speak to 21st century woman readers?”

If you’d like to offer your own response, we’d love to hear from you.


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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