Thursday, February 27, 2014

At the Book Fair, we'll have $5 kids' books

We're getting ready for the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair that's coming up March 14-16 at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg. This is a much anticipated event for us, and we always look forward to it each year.

Every year we have a special table where every book is marked $5. There is a particular reason why we do this. As some other booksellers do, we firmly believe that the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair ought to have really affordable books along with highly sought-after pricey ones. That way, all readers who come to the Book Fair can go home with something special.

To be sure, we'll have a special glass case with a collection of those really remarkable, very scarce items that make the Book Fair the perfect place for collectors. But we'll also have just plain readable books that have been enjoyed for years.

By now you know that this year's Book Fair theme is Children's Literature: Pages of Wonder. We're delighted, of course, because we have a whole section of children's literature in the store. What's special this year is that our $5 book table will all be children's books. That's right, an entire chunk of our booth will be devoted to old favorites from everybody's youth.

Among them, Beatrix Potter, the English author of Peter Rabbit fame. As you can see from the photo above, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (most likely the first book in this series) is missing but there are numerous other Beatrix Potter tales certain to delight readers.

Potter always illustrated her own books. She was heavily influenced by the work of Kate Greenaway, Randolph Caldecott, and Walter Crane. What many readers may not know is that Beatrix Potter had an abiding interest in natural science and she developed quite a skill at drawing or painting her specimens. This skill is reflected in her illustrations of children's books, which are remarkably anatomically correct.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happy birthday, John George Nicolay

It is the birthday of biographer John George Nicolay (1832), who served as President Abraham Lincoln’s private secretary, and wrote The Outbreak of Rebellion (1881), volume 1 of Campaigns of the Civil War, and, with John Hay, A. Lincoln, a history, a 10-volume history of Abraham Lincoln, which was first published in The Century Magazine. Lincoln appointed Nicolay U.S. Consul in Paris, where he served for four years after Lincoln’s assassination. Nicolay and Hay also edited the 12-volume Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln (1905).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy birthday, Frank G. Slaughter

It is the birthday of prolific Florida novelist Frank G. Slaughter (1908), who wrote 56 books that sold more than 60 million copies. He wrote while he was a surgeon at Jacksonville’s Riverside Hospital but eventually left to devote full time to writing. Slaughter’s books were never considered literary achievements but they were widely read and immensely popular. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings met him once while she was a hospital patient. She told him he should to stick to surgery. His first book, That None Should Die (1941), gave a young surgeon’s view of socialized medicine. It was a bestseller in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries. Many of Slaughter’s books were set in Florida. Among them was Fort Everglades (1951), which was set in a fort on the Miami River during the Second Seminole War. It served as the basis for the 1951 Gary Cooper film Distant Drums. The film swiped scenes from the book but the studio didn’t buy the movie rights until a suit was filed after the film was made.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy birthday, Wilhelm Grimm

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
It is the birthday of storyteller Wilhelm Grimm (1786), who is remembered with his older brother Jacob for collecting German folklore, and giving the world such stories as Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Wilhelm was born 13 months after his brother. While in college, the two brothers developed an abiding interest in folklore. They also became cultural researchers, and authorities on linguistics. They lived together their entire lives, even though Wilhelm married, and raised four children.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

James Russell Lowell was a Fireside Poet

It is the birthday of poet James Russell Lowell (1819), the first editor of The Atlantic Monthly and one of the writers known as the Fireside Poets, because their use of standard meter and structure made them easy to memorize and very popular for home entertainment around the fireplace in the 19th century. Lowell's contemporaries included William Cullen Bryant, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Greenleaf Whittier. His ability to capture New England dialect and his use of satire in his work inspired William Dean Howells, Ring Lardner, H.L. Mencken and Mark Twain.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Happy birthday, Carson McCullers

It is the birthday of writer Carson McCullers (1917), whose first novel was her best known. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940) tells the story of a lonely deaf man in a southern mill town in the 1930s and the people he encounters. She wrote it when she was 23 years old. It was adapted for film in 1968 and the stage in 2005. McCullers works examine the loneliness of outcasts and misfits. She also wrote Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941), The Member of the Wedding (1946) and a short story collection, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1951). She was friends with W.H. Auden, Benjamin Britten, Gypsy Rose Lee, Truman Capote, and Tennessee Williams, who said of her work: “Carson's major theme: the huge importance and nearly insoluble problems of human love.”

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy birthday, Dorothy Canfield Fisher

It is the birthday of author and activist Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1897), who is credited with bringing The Montessori Method of early childhood education to the United States, advocating for women’s rights and lifelong education, and writing best-selling novels and short-story collections. The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award honors new American children’s books. The annual winner is chosen by a vote of Vermont schoolchildren. The first award was presented to Old Bones, the Wonder Horse in 1957.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy birthday, Henry Brooks Adams

Henry Brooks Adams -- Harvard graduation photo. Adams lived to be 80 years old.
It is the birthday of journalist and historian Henry Brooks Adams (1868), whose posthumously-published The Education of Henry Adams (1918) won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize. It tops the Modern Library’s list of the best 100 English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century. It deals with the author’s transition from the 19th century to the 20th. Adams also wrote the nine-volume History of the United States 1801-1817 (1889). It covers the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. President John Quincy Adams was his grandfather and President John Adams was his great-grandfather.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Happy birthday, feminist Susan Brownmiller

It is the birthday of feminist writer Susan Brownmiller (1935), who is best known for her controversial book Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (1975), which argues that all men benefit from a culture of rape that keeps women in constant fear. Brownmiller’s sweeping conclusions drew much criticism, especially from the political left wing. Activist Angela Davis took Brownmiller to task over her apparent disregard for black women in the discussion. Brownmiller also wrote Shirley Chisholm: A Biography (1970), Femininity (1984), Waverly Place (1989), Seeing Vietnam (1994), and In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution (1999).

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy birthday, bad boy Frank Harris

There's just something intriguing about this bad boy of letters. This is a reprint of a previously publish profile of a man whose birthday happens to fall on Valentine's Day.

 It is the birthday of journalist and raconteur Frank Harris (1856), who served as editor of the Saturday Review, cultivated friendships with Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw (about whom he wrote biographies), and worked as a cowboy in the American west. He is probably best remembered, however, for his sexually explicit and highly exaggerated memoir My Life and Loves (1931). It was known for its racy drawings, nude photographs, and gossipy details about public figures such as Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Carlyle, George Meredith, Cecil Rhodes, and Wilde.

He was born in Ireland of Welsh parents, sent to boarding school in Wales, ran away from school at age 13 and went to America, where he supported himself with a series of odd jobs, including as a construction worker on the Brooklyn Bridge. He went to Chicago and worked in the meat packing industry, then went west and became a cowboy. He earned a law degree at the University of Kansas and settled down to practice law.

That didn't last long though, and he returned to England, then traveled throughout  Europe. He worked as a foreign correspondent for American newspapers, then became editor of several London papers before settling in at the Saturday Review. Beginning in 1908, Harris started writing novels and other books. Among them were The Bomb (1908), The Man Shakespeare and His Tragic Life Story (1909), and The Yellow Ticket and Other Stories (1920).

In 1914, Harris came back to America. He became editor of Pearson's Magazine, which had a slightly socialist bent to it. Once, during World War I, an issue of the magazine was banned at the U.S. Post Office because of its political content. However, the magazine continued to survive during the war years, despite the dim view many took of the leftist press at the time. Harris became an American citizen in 1921.

In 1922, Harris went to Germany to arrange to privately publish his racy memoir. He published four volumes from 1922 to 1927. For 40 years, it was banned in Britain and the United States. However, in Paris, it once sold for a much as $100. In 1931,  notorious Obelisk Press in Paris (the same one that later published risque volumes by Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin) produced a four-volume edition of Harris' memoir.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cotton Mather stirred up Salem Witch Trials

It is the birthday of prominent New England Puritan minister Cotton Mather (1663), who largely set the stage with his writings for the Salem Witch Trials. Although Mather did not attend the trials himself, he did attend the public execution of some of those found guilty. Mather wrote more than 450 books and pamphlets. Scholars consider his most important work Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), a seven-book opus that offers details of how the American colonies developed. Another interesting book is Pillars of Salt (1699), a collection of sermons offering details accounts of a dozen crimes and subsequent punishment. Scholars consider it an early example of true-crime literature.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy birthday, activist Lydia Maria Child

It is the birthday of Lydia Maria Child (1802), who was an activist against slavery, for women’s rights, and for Indian rights. She wrote fiction and non-fiction books on her causes, edited an anti-slavery newspaper, the National Anti-Slavery Standard (1840), started the first children’s magazine in America, Juvenile Miscellany (1826) and wrote domestic manuals.  Among her books are Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times (1824), The Indian Wife (1828), The Mother’s Book (1831), An Appeal on Behalf of That Class of Americans Called Africans (1833), and The Freedmen’s Book (1865). For all that, she may be best remembered for her Thanksgiving poem, Over the River and Through the Wood (1844).

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy birthday, William Allen White

It is the birthday of newspaper editor and Progressive political leader William Allen White (1868), who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for editorial writing, wrote numerous novels about small-town ideals, and biographies of Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge. He also wrote non-fiction political and social commentary, including The Old Order Changeth (1910), Politics: A Citizen’s Business (1924), Forty Years on Main Street (1937), and The Changing West (1939). He was a close friend of President Theodore Roosevelt and supported him politically. He never voted for President Franklin D. Roosevelt but staunchly supported his New Deal policies, though he considered them haphazard. His autobiography, published in 1947 three years after his death, won a Pulitzer Prize.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Happy birthday, composer Eubie Blake

It is the birthday of jazz composer and performer Eubie Blake (1887), one of the finest popular songwriters of his era. Among his hit songs were Bandana Days, Charleston Rag, Love Will Find a Way, Memories of You, and I’m Just Wild About Harry. Along with Noble Sissie, he wrote music and lyrics for the first hit Broadway musical by and about African Americans, Shuffle Along (1921). Blake remained a popular performer throughout his life and continued to captivate audiences until just before his death at age 96. Scholars have determined that records indicating he died at 100 are incorrect. Here is a performance of Charleston Rag, a song he said he wrote in 1899 at age 12.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Miami International Map Fair this weekend

We’re off to the Miami International Map Fair this weekend at the Miami-Dade Cultural Center in downtown Miami. This is one of our favorites, and one of the premier map fairs in the world. Dealers from around the globe show up here. You can find antique maps, rare books, panoramas, and atlases. Serious collectors from Latin America and the Caribbean often come to this fair. We’re taking some of our own treasures, especially our historical Florida and Caribbean collection. But don’t be surprised if we acquire some unusual finds as well. If you’re in the vicinity, stop by to see us.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy birthday, writer MacKinlay Kantor

It is the birthday of writer MacKinlay Kantor (1904), whose novel Andersonville (1955) won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1956. The book tells the story of a Confederate prisoner of war camp in Georgia during the Civil War. Kantor gleaned the stories of real characters from prisoner memoirs. He also created fictional characters to help tell the story of the camp and its inhumane conditions. During the early 1930s, Kantor wrote for pulp magazines such as Real Detective Tales, Mystery Stories, and Detective Fiction Weekly. Later, his work appeared in Collier’s and other slick magazines. He wrote more than 30 novels, also nonfiction books and children’s books, including Angleworms on Toast (1942), which was illustrated by Kurt Wiese. Kantor also wrote screenplays for several movies.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Happy birthday, Gertrude Stein

It is the birthday of writer and arts patron Gertrude Stein (1874), who is most famous for nurturing painters such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, as well as writers Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Thornton Wilder in her Paris salon in the 1920s. Much of her writing reflected the abstract art she collected and was virtually unintelligible, even to well educated readers. Nevertheless, she achieved stylistic notoriety with such quotes as “A rose is a rose is a rose,” perhaps her version of the more recent “It is what it is.” She also wrote the oft quoted “There is no there there,” to describe her hometown of Oakland, California. Her one great commercial success was The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), written in the voice of her lifelong companion but really about herself and the artists and writers she knew. She also wrote the librettos for two Virgil Thomson operas, Four Saints in Three Acts (1934) and The Mother of Us All (1947).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Happy birthday, film director John Ford

It is the birthday of acclaimed Hollywood director John Ford (1894), who is considered one of the best film directors of all time. He won six Academy Awards, four of them for best director. Those films included The Informer (1935), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), and The Quiet Man (1952). He also won for the documentary feature The Battle of Midway (1942) and for the documentary short December 7th (1943). His admirers include Ingmar Bergman, who called him the best director in the world, Frank Capra, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Elia Kazan, David Lean, Sergio, Leone, Jean Renoir, Martin Scorsese, Stephen Spielberg, François Truffaut, Orson Welles, and Wim Wenders. Here is a fascinating 1968 BBC interview with him.

Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

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