Feb 192017
 

We’re back! [for now]. We want to extend our thanks to everyone in Oakland for a successful book fair, organizers, patrons, and booksellers alike! We packed enough material for two booths and after we attended CODEX, we acquired more excellent material for another. CODEX was a truly inspirational experience, as we were able to seek out some new extremely provocative and important work from book artists, including Maureen Cummings, Diane Jacobs, Ximena Perez Grobet, Lorena Velazquez, Xiaoding Xu, and Xueling Dong.

We managed to organize our booth and showcase our collections, in the Lux Mentis way! Images first, a booth tour video at the end. Fun for all!

 

Feb 012017
 

We will soon follow the sun and be present at the 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, Oakland (ABAA), February 10-12th, 2017. Please visit us at Booth #316 and do not hesitate to ask for passes, we have a limited number to give away.

As usual, we will be debuting a number of new and important items, including the work of Sam Winston (see images below), Occult and Esoterica materials, Fine Press and Fine Bindings, and are other eccentric cacophony of fun, including:

  • Anon. Sumatran Batak divination book [pustaha]. Indonesia, Early 20th century. Unique. Twelve (two-sided) panel concertina fold; fastened on handcarved alim (or agarwood) tree-bark original boards; inscribed and drawn on smoothed and pressed alim tree-bark; 4.75 x 39″ (unfolded); illus. Handwritten in red and black ink pigments. Boards stained with natural pigments, in remarkable condition, less one split in bark panel. An exceptional and critical book for Indonesia history and culture. Very Good. Hardcover. (#9148) $1,200.00
  • Cooksey, Gabrielle. The Book of Penumbra [Art Binding]. Tacoma, WA: [Artist Book], 2016. Unique. Tight, bright, and unmarred. Black leather boards with oval cutthrough, 7 carved skulls suspended upon gold wire strung web-like through the opening, marbled endpages. Large 12mo. np [19pp]. Illus. (b/w with gilt plates). Numbered limited edition of 23. Fine in Fine Box. Hardcover. (#9226) $2,250.00
  • Harman, Moses [ed.]; Edward C. Walker, Lillian Harman, Lois Waisbrooker, et al. Lucifer, the Light-Bearer. Chicago, IL: Moses Harman, 1902. First Edition. Some slights tears at folds and edge wear. Three large folio printed broadsides, 8p., 10×13″ Issues: Third series, volume VI, number 7 (February 27, 1902; whole number 906); volume VI, number 12 (April 3, 1902; whole number 911); volume VI, number 23 (June 19, 1902; whole number 922) Very Good. (#9192) $700.00
  • St. James, Margo. 1st Annual Hooker Convention Poster. Margo St. James, 1974. First Printing. Pinholes in corners, small closed tear at one edge with related minor rumple, handful of very pale moisture marks, else bright and clean. Orange paper, blue ink. 23 x 15 Very Good. Poster. (#9183) $750.00
  • [Photography and travel – Great Lakes] Collection of two scrapbook photography and ephemera albums assembled by an American woman traveller and companions, c. 1920s. 1925-1930. Set of two photography albums both secured in original contemporary 1920s tie and knot covers. Each album contains carefully clipped and placed black and white photographs mounted to black craft paper, some captioned by hand in pen. Other materials included are souvenir brochures, chromeolithographic color and black and white postcards, hand-color printed clippings from tourist ephemera and color printed maps with the annotated journey in pencil. Albums contain over 150 black and white silver gelatin
    photographs and approximately 100 pieces of clipped ephemera. Very Good+. (#9186) $650.00
  • Winston, Sam. A Dictionary Story. London: Arc Artist Editions, 2013. Limited Edition. Tight, bright, and unmarred. White cloth boards, black ink lettering, concertina construction; green cloth slipcase. Tall 8vo. np [24pp]. Signed by the artist. Limited numbered edition, this being 63 of 100. Near Fine in Wraps and Fine Sleeve. Original Wraps. (#9224) $1,450.00

We will be showcasing a remarkable collection of ocean liner material and a spectacular inscribed copy (by Charlotte Gilman Perkins) of Yellow Wallpaper.

Ocean Liner cruise ship Archive

 

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “Yellow Wallpaper” 2e, inscribed by Gilman

The show list for the California International Antiquarian Book Fair can be found here along with our other catalogs. Please note, we do not have miniature books listed in the show list, but WILL HAVE a selection of miniatures available!

Please check the schedule of events and times of show floor opening. A couple of things to note:

  • Exhibit featuring the Special Collection from The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. This year’s Book Fair will include a special exhibit from The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, which has a long history of collecting the literary fiction of California. In more recent years, that scope has expanded to include mystery and detective fiction, fantasy and science fiction, and western fiction
  • Also, the newly formed ABAA Women’s Initiative invites women and women-identified book and manuscript sellers working in the trade and women and women-identified individuals connected and/or interested in the trade, i.e. librarians, collectors, community members, book artists/binders, to attend a networking reception on Friday, February 10th from 8pm-9pm after the CA Book Fair, at the Oakland City Center, Room 208, Oakland Marriott Hotel. Wine and refreshments will be served. Event invite here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1399736753383558/

If you have any questions about any of the material, do not hesitate to contact us! See you in California!

Dec 122016
 

While it has been easy to be a pessimist at this time of year, especially in lieu of worldly affairs, in spirit of Jolabokaflod in Iceland, we continue to celebrate the book and specifically the art of the book. We are pleased to release another catalogue list at the end of the year: “[Artist [Book] Art]: Exploring the nature of the black arts,” and like the title suggests is a selection of some of our recent book art and fine press titles from various talents representing the medium. Please visit our catalogue list here.

Please remember to mark your calendars as the next two big book fairs are rapidly approaching: the California ABAA Fair will be from Feb. 10-12 and the NYC ABAA Book Fair will follow, March 9-12.  We will be showing at both, do let us know if you need a pass or two (there will be a reminder after the first of the year

Enjoy!

Nov 042016
 

If you missed the 40th Boston International Antiquarian Bookfair, then you missed the trifecta of awesome between Lux Mentis, Jonathan Kearns, and Brian Cassidy. We even had Halloween candy and dorky costumes. In addition to the wildly reoccurring appearance of sex, death, and the devil, we featured new work by Gabby Cooksey, Colin Urbina, and Alexandra Janezic.

When we weren’t gabbing at people, we did happen to find some new and amazing items to share with the world, selections below. As usual, keep in touch!

Oct 262016
 

As promised, here is a selection of materials we are bringing to Boston, much of which is recent acquisitions and new items.  Content is arranged by sections: Primary Source [Archive] Collections; Artist’s Books & Fine Press; Science, Technology, and Historical Medicine; Ephemera; and Esoterica. The catalogs, including the previously released OCCULT short list can be found here: Boston preview list(s)

If you would like to contact about any of the items in advance of the fair, please do so: ian@luxmentis.com, kim@luxmentis.com

Otherwise, we will see you on Friday, October 28th, 5:00-9:00pm!  We have passes for the Friday night preview night, if you would like to attend, please get in touch.

Oct 112016
 

Boston approaches! And it is Halloween, for all you muggles, Samhain, rather.  In lieu of this, Lux Mentis, Booksellers is offering a twee short list of occult, witchcraft, other spiritual beliefs, mythology, and magick-related items for preview [there’s more too].  We will have another more comprehensive list featuring fine press, artist’s books, and new acquisitions shortly.

If you would like to contact about any of the items in advance of the fair, please do so: ian@luxmentis.com, kim@luxmentis.com

See you at the Fair!

boston-40th-international-abaa-book-fair-occult-short-list

Oct 042016
 
What we do is secret

What we do is secret

YABS is really well-timed, so after 3 days of instruction and dialogue, you can put your study to practice at the York National Book Fair. I’ve done a few fairs already, but it’s always something new to see and find.  I helped out Jonathan Kearns this year, but we were able after the initial opening to scout around ourselves.

Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiousities

Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities

A special find for me, in my opinion, was a 1810 “family” herbal from Sir John Hill, another one of these folk herbalists who despite their university training, found herbal remedies compelling for the layman.  The text block was re-cased splendidly, with hand-colored illustrations at the end.  Lux Mentis will bring this and many other good finds from York to the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair 2016 at the end of October! Halloween weekend, in fact! Here are just a few more images of delicious items we found and more to feature in a Boston pre-list soon:

 

Oct 042016
 

The last day of YABS was something more than I expected. While we dispersed at the end of the day, I hope somethings stuck with people. Not sure how often, other than exclusive or private conversations, booksellers have frank discussions.  I won’t belabor the negatives here, rather that the discussions trigger some action. Before the end summary, we started off the day actually handling materials, one of my favourite things. Sophie facilitated a hands-on session discussing printing techniques and showing examples. It is definitely worth knowing the difference between lithography, engraving, etching, woodcut, photo polymer, etc.

Our after break speaker lead us through a fascinating narrative regarding the extremely real issues around fakes and forgeries. I’ve always known the book world is like detective work, in a sense (not even ironically if you are a mystery specialist). There are people that would spend a lifetime faking antiquarian books, as presented by Adam Douglas of Peter Harrington.  No big surprise in our fraudulent and suspect world. Ian even pointed out, it might be interesting to collect faked books, as a theatre of the absurd aspect in a black library. We ended out the rest of the seminar with personal narratives and expertise in the trade from Nigel Burwood, Ed Maggs, and ended the day with gems of wisdom from Jonathan, once again.

I think for me, the important bit was the discussion afterwards, sparked by Jonathan and continued by several of the participants in the class. Gender and race should always be on the table, especially in a profession where the representation is not there. The book trade, much like the rare book librarianship, is desolate with representations of diverse communities and has had a history of marginalizing women. The difference with the profession is the library field has actively tried to cultivate relationships with marginalized communities through mentoring programs, scholarships, and encouraging women, people of color, people who are differently-abled, and gender diverse communities to seek professions in the library. The book trade, well, not so much. Part of that is there isn’t an incentive or action to do so, partially due to the fact that the trade has little to no accountability. I’ve already experienced some form of harassment, and it is almost up to individuals or a few concerned minds to address the issues, there is no Ombudsman Office in the trade.  Conflicts begrudgingly get worked out over drinks and sometimes produce piss poor attitudes from people. No one is asking everyone to be at the front of the protest or the march, but more recognition of privilege and some forthright decency and respect would be amazing.

As I suggested, in order to challenge or at least instigate change, even if a small part, YABS might consider supporting a diversity scholarship for individuals from underrepresented communities, with an emphasis on ethnic background. Rare Book School has had great success with their scholarship initiatives with demographics, but it will take some active follow-up and target communication to encourage people to apply without tokenizing communities. It takes thought and work. I think the trade is and should be up for it.  However, I don’t think participants ended the seminar feeling threatened or irritated. Rather, prodded consciously to perhaps recognize issues more soundly or even thoughtfully in the future.

So, if you are still reading [blather]… Again, without the support I wouldn’t have been able to attend YABS, ironically what I am talking about here. I could rant on about issues, but would rather end on a note of productivity and inspiration from the collegial nature and accumulated knowledge from YABS. Now, let’s put all this to good use. 🙂

 

 

Sep 272016
 

“It is hard to be so old, and harder still to be so blind. I miss the sun. And books. I miss the books most of all.”- A Storm of Swordsgame-of-thrones-wall

We traveled far beyond the sea, far beyond the wall. As dramatic as it sounds, given the choice between spending a week or two in the United Kingdom or not, well, the story speaks for itself.

The York Antiquarian Book Seminar takes place in September nestled between the languishing summer months, almost every bookseller dreads and the first major book fair of the Fall in Europe, York Antiquarian Book Fair. It took a quick minute to take realize how lucky I was to be able to attend YABS this year, due to the generosity of Between the Covers Rare Books and the fiendishly fabulous Jonathan Kearns. With that support, I spent three solid days immersed in a comprehensive lathering of many years of book trade wisdom.  It was as if a bunch of owls got together, got drunk, and talked about their favourite hunting grounds for three days. The collective knowledge at YABS was cumulatively longer than the Hundred Years’ War [without the bloodshed]* well, maybe a little. (will get to that later).

Micklegate Bar, heads will roll

YABS is situated at the Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre [and nunnery, shhhhhh] smack dab in the front of this amazing Bar. Not bar like booze, but bar like gate [You are awesome, Norse.]  Micklegate Bar, in fact.  So, not only do I wake up in a 17th century nunnery (and I didn’t burst into flames), I look out the window at a 14th century gate. My A Knight’s Tale fantasies are real, kids.  Apparently, a bunch of important white dudes’ heads were severed and left there on display.  Aside my personal anachronistic glee, the location was perfect for the seminar. It was close to the train station (thank you Virgin), pubs, shops, points of interest, and even the racetrack for the book fair. The first night we were there, we happened upon a pub with decent food, drinks, and a server with a 12″ spiked mohawk. Am I dreaming?

THE WALL, where’s Jon Snow?

img_3577

Day One:

I did, I really did review my binder full of preliminary notes. Perhaps it is the librarian in me, but I like to be prepared. In good fashion, the seminar opened with warm welcomes and introductions from Anthony Smithson of Keel Row Books and a chance to out myself as a ‘recovering librarian.’ It’s funny, but true. Looking forward to the keynote from Heather O’Donnell of Honey & Wax Booksellers speaking not just of the epigram: “use books as bees use flowers,” but “The Signal and the Noise.” I listened intently on the ‘meta’ of bookselling about boosting the signal and filtering out noise and picked up a quote that stuck with me, “Can one place a value in being surprised?” Short answer is yes, to me, the intrinsic nature of the trade rests on the value of response. For me, sometimes that noise is a beacon.

After Heather’s illuminating talk, we dived right into to fundamental financials and business structures, firstly with Alice Laverty, also of Keel Row Books and Sophie Schneideman, Rare Books & Prints. Admittedly, not my favourite subject, but absolutely critical to be able to wade through the process. As someone who skates by most of the time, I realize structure is important, and I resonated with Sophie’s astute sensibility towards administrative time vs. everything else fun in the book trade time. The book trade is a rabbit hole at times, we are Alice in Wonderland, however dedicating chunks of daily time to administrative, bookkeeping, and follow-up is sound. It’s ok to be a lion and a lamb. Good practice, also, to get in the habit of “quoting something everyday.”

I was able to chat with some nice chaps, fellow classmates, generally everyone attending was charming and friendly. After the breaks and food, grateful for the veg selections and liquid gold tea, we forged on with Anthony and Justin Croft speaking about buying books, aka getting your grubby paws on something cool, something spectacular, something achingly amazing, that something you might just sleep with under your pillow. Does that make the estimate value go up? Literally, how do you come upon such stuff. Well, I’ve never done a *real* auction, other than when I was a kid in Indiana and I stared at the cows with a “I will free you” face. From their stories, I can imagine it can be tense and often shady. Auctioneers have techniques that are seemingly dodgy. Ultimately, as mentioned, like in the States with the ABAA, if you are a member, you want to try and have a sliver of ethics.  Really, as Jonathan Kearns eloquently mentioned shortly after, ‘best practice’ is your friend. You can operate with a sense of passion, but do so with a spine and a conscience.  The rest can be sorted.

York Antiquarian Book Seminar - Jonathan Kearns speaking in poetic tongues

York Antiquarian Book Seminar – Jonathan Kearns speaking in poetic tongues

We ended the session with charged brains to tackle bibliographical description aka Kim’s ‘only authority I listen to’ bit with Simon Beattie and Justin Croft. Coming from the land of AACR2, RDA, NACO and other fascist acronyms, I quite like bib standards.  Both Simon and Justin are like the NASA astrophysicists of books, not surprisingly could catalog an unpaginated book on Medieval methods of flaying turnips printed on mammoth skin while underwater and make it interesting.  While bookseller descriptions are quite fluid compared to library standards, I appreciate the moth-to-flame mentality to be consistent. Collation exists for a reason. It can be useful, not just as a check and balance formula, but a practice that makes you well aware of the material you are handling. How could you not resist becoming intimate with your books?

Stay tuned for Day 2.

Apr 212016
 

book-of-eli-quote

Part of the experience of a book fair, and not one overly discussed for a reason, are the partnerships and the collaborative aspects of the book trade. You don’t necessarily have to go at this alone. Your comrades have your back (or your spine, [excruciating pun intended]) which plays out when scouting or acquiring other material to add to the overall inventory.  How many times have you heard, “Oh, X, would love/need this!?” If you are willing and able, then serendipity has its moments, in addition to critical partnerships.

It was excellent for me to work along side Brian Cassidy, veteran bookseller and long-time Lux Mentis booth partner; Michael Laird, newly discovered witchcraft buddy; book goddess, Kara Accettola; the adorable and sharp, Jonathan Kearns; and equally as adorable and bright, Simon Beattie. I would also like to recognize, the entire Pirages team [good lord, ya’ll need a drink], Ken Sanders and Travis Low [horns up], Fuchsia Voremberg [hugs], Tom Congalton, and Ashley Wildes. I think Ashley encompasses the entire fair sentiment in one image:

Ashley diffuses the situation with mermaid-like qualities, as Kim wishes Ian to contract mind fleas.

Ashley diffuses the situation with mermaid-like qualities, as Kim wishes Ian to contract mind fleas. [Note: drinks handled with appropriate care] [Addendum from Ian: This image amuses me in so very, very many ways. Adore you both.]

It would be remiss to not recognize some of the book artists and book binders, very important, as representing strong work is a pleasure and a privilege. Both Colin Urbina and Erin Fletcher make overwhelmingly inspiring work, glad to have them in both physical form and function appearing in New York; Michael Kuch, again mind-blowing work; Peter Bogardus; Russell Maret, exceptional new work; Nancy Loeber, representing both fairs [shadow fair]; Christina Amato; Leslie Gerry; Mindy Belloff; María Verónica San Martín; Peter Koch; newly acquired book artist Alexandra Janezic; and of course, the dynamic duo of Marshall Weber and Felice Tebbe at Booklyn. [Do I sound like a broken record or an Oscar speech? geez.]

So, what’s next? Fortunately, we were able to jump over to the “shadow” shows both uptown and across the street to visit both book artists and snap up some “brutally cool” items for down the road to make appearances in iterations of catalog lists forthcoming.  What did strike our fancy this year? A selection of things that caught our eye:

 

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