Day 0.5 of Rare Book School

   Posted by: rring   in book history, Random!

I am taking a week-long intensive course called “Teaching the History of the Book,” for professional development.

basbanesAfter driving 450 miles from Hartford to Charlottesville (and then getting lost in the town because I have no smart phone or GPS), I stagger to the front desk of my hotel and who should I meet coming out of a cab but Nicholas Basbanes—author of the recent book On Paper: The Everything of its Two Thousand-Year-History (Knopf, 2013). I first encountered Nick’s now-famous work on book collecting, A Gentle Madness, in graduate school in the mid-90s, and met him in person in 2002 when he spoke at a book collecting contest I was managing at Brown University. He is one of the featured evening speakers this week.

I stuck out my hand and said, “Nick, you don’t remember me but I use your books in my classes, and I brought my copy of On Paper for you to sign at your talk tomorrow night.” We were both travel-weary, and the rooms were not ready, so we went out for a beer and talked—mostly he talked about a book he has just sold to Knopf about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

At the registration and reception, I saw some old friends and met some new people, and most importantly caught some excellent gossip (a staple of the rare book world). No time to socialize more, since my instructor sent around a link this afternoon to another 1,200 pages of resource material to become familiar with before we begin tomorrow morning at 8:20am!! Welcome to Boot Camp for Bibliophiles!

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