Archive for the 'Bookselling in the 21st century' Category



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.

Sag Harbor As Inspiration This Holiday Season

It’s that deep water port that makes all the difference. It’s what sets Sag Harbor apart from its flatland farm-town neighbors. It’s here where whalers, sailors, tradesmen, sturdy women, and visitors from four corners streamed through our little village bringing the exotic to our local shores. With them came the flavors and faces of distant ports. After whales vanished, busy factories drew workers to fire bricks, wind ropes, polish silver and solder watchcases. More recently, it drew painter Whitney Hansen from Santa Barbara and photographer Ann Chwatsky from New York City. They and countless other writers, painters, photographers, musicians came to find and create a community of artists of various stripes.  “It’s not just the light, ” Ann Chwatsky said during a talk  she and Whitney gave this fall at the bookshop, “but knowing that every day artists are at work in their studios here.” It’s that artists’ energy that gives her inspiration.

For 35 years Canio’s Books has been continuing the tradition of supporting and cultivating the East End’s creative community. With holiday shopping in mind, we offer suggestions for the aspiring creative on your list: For a recommendation about excellent books on writing, check with Maryann; for a sample of beautiful and affordable art and photography books, check with Kathryn. Both are offering workshops this winter, and a gift certificate to one of those would make an inspired holiday present. Our collection of local interest books is arguably the largest on the East End with lots of new titles plus some recently acquired out-of-print collectibles. Everyone knows to come to Canio’s for poetry, but we also have a hand-picked selection of literary novels and non-fiction by local writers perfect for winter reading retreats. Artwork and handicrafts by locals are also available.

We wish all our customers, friends and family a bright and inspired holiday season. Please join us at our holiday reception, Saturday, December 19 after a reading with acclaimed fiction-writer Simon Van Booy at 5 p.m. Peace & good reading to all.

Ferrante Fever

Ferrante small

Just finished book three, reluctantly. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the third of Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan Novels, ends with a bang. The books have a way of accelerating as they conclude, still I wanted to savor its last few sections. It’ll be a long wait til September when the forth and final book comes out. But just in time, an extremely rare interview with the reclusive Ferrante appears in the current issue of The Paris Review, #212 (available here at Canio’s). Check it out; it feels a lot like reading Elena, the narrator…

Once you start with My Brilliant Friend, you catch a sort of fever. “I don’t usually read like this,” said a customer recently. She spoke for many who read Ferrante rapaciously, ravenously. We’re caught in the fiery friendship, hateship, loveship between Lila and Elena, or Lenu as we’ve come to know her, in dialect. And it’s not just an “Italian” thing. Readers worldwide are captivated. “I told my friend, I’ve finished book one and she could borrow it,” a customer in for book two said. “I wondered why she wasn’t at my door first thing to get it.”  Which book are you reading? And if you haven’t started on them, what are you waiting for?

Canio’s is Here to Stay!

Winter’s eve at Canio’s … cozy!

While there’s lots of buzz in town since it was announced the building we’re in is for sale ($2.9 million), we continue on in the spirit of the great white whale, Moby Dick, still swimming in the vast ocean. Landlords come and go, but Canio’s is here to stay.

What’s more: we’re celebrating our 35th year in business and we’re bringing back the Moby Dick Marathon reading. Set for the weekend of June 12 through 14, the reading will begin and end at Canio’s and will include readings at other great local cultural institutions like the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, John Jermain Library, the Old Whaler’s Church and Bay Street Theater among other stops. We’ll be hosting other celebrations through out the year to come including a poster contest open to all artists. Contact us soon to register to read. Don’t miss the party!

Canio’s in the New York Times

If you haven’t seen this yet, please read:

Canio's in the New York Times

Canio’s in the New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/nyregion/fighting-to-preserve-sag-harbors-literary-flavor.html?ref=nyregionspecial&_r=0

Be sure to stop in at Canio’s over the winter and help us “keep Sag Harbor’s literary light glowing!”

He’s Back! Big white whale sighting at Canio’s

In celebration of our 35th year, we’re planning a special marathon reading of Melville’s Moby Dick.
Canio began the tradition many years ago and due to popular demand, we’re bringing it back. Voices famous and unknown have participated over the years, sometimes reading, or listening in their p.j.s during the wee hours. Plans are now underway for a whale of a celebration, a special anniversary reading with surprises in store, special give-aways and more; contact the shop to be part of this historic event!

Steinbeck Spirit in Sag Harbor

An afternoon of spring cleaning on a day that actually feels like the season, yielded a surprise. A charming copy of John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony surfaced like a fragile  crocus finally breaking ground. This limited edition volume, published in 1937 by Covici Friede Publishers , shows signs of age and wear, but also bears the tiny sticker from New York’s famed Holliday Bookshop. A beloved shop that specialized in British and American literary works, Holliday became an institution over its 30-plus years in business.

Later this month we welcome Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw back to Sag Harbor. She’ll speak on Saturday, April 26 at 5 p.m. as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath. Our copy of The Red Pony  is signed by Steinbeck and dedicated to his first wife Carol, (see also Shillinglaw’s Carol and John Steinbeck: Portrait of a Marriage).

The osprey are back now reminding us of Steinbeck’s love/hate relationship with these mighty raptors. Mostly love.  See his humorous essay “My War With the Osprey” reprinted in our Sag Harbor Is: a Literary Celebration.  His “war” turns out to be a jousting match between two clever species, one human, one avian. Guess who wins?

I field a call from a friend considering entering the book business. What advice do I have? Well, considering it’s the first of the month,  April Fool’s Day in fact, and our  rent’s due, I advise extreme caution.  Yet the appearance of The Red Pony feels hopeful. Our copy’s for sale. It’s number 535 of 699, signed and printed on handmade paper. What’s it worth to 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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