Monday, December 10, 2012

some little lights

it's that time of year. dark, dark, dark. by six thirty i think it's bedtime and i wonder what i am going to do for the rest of the night. it's no wonder why so many religions have celebrations of light at this time of year.
here are some images from some of my books that make me feel light and happy, remind me of spring or childhoods from simpler times. they get me through.... 


put on your hat, time to celebrate

thank you lamp posts

bird chatter and spring will come...

christmas cheer

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays One and All!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


"Tintin! Are you dead? Say yes or no but answer me!” 


Of course Tintin always wins and lives on the minds of the world, good or bad.

Was the writer/creator of Tintin (Georges Remi aka Herge) creating early 'European Anime?' I don't know. Tintin was definitely overflowing in the spirit of action packed plots, adventure themes and colour-filled graphics. I do know that his work was a wonderful part of many of our childhoods. It took us away to far and distant lands and influenced our choice in dogs (in my case.)

Milou? No, it's Seussy.

So earlier in the summer I was pretty happy to win a special auction. I joyously outbid my competitors to find that I purchased twelve of what appear to be first edition Tintin hardcovers. They are all in good to near fine condition, with no writing on the inside and some minor bumping to the edges and spine. Some of them are a little beat up, but over all they are pretty great copies. Now trying to determine if these are actually first editions is next to impossible, unless I get on an airplane, have my own big adventure and fly to the Artcurial Auction House in Paris where the experts who care a lot about Tintin seem to be. Or maybe a Tintin diehard fan/expert will come visit me some day. Hint. Hint! :)

I have six different titles in both the English and French versions (Casterman and Methuen.) If you would like to see any of these, come see me this Sunday. We are having a studio opening from 10 am to 5 pm. I'd love to see you especially if you know a thing or two about Tintin. We will also be opening to the public on December 9th and 16th. 

Message me at  if you have any further questions.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kingston Symphony Book Fair

It was better than sleeping in. It was better than chocolate. I missed my pancakes because of it, and even that was no big deal in the end.
I put on my boots and walked the length of Queen Mary Road early this past Sunday and arrived at the Kingston Symphony Book Fair - $5 for a box sale. FIVE BUCKS FOR A BOX OF BOOKS! 
I had half an hour before I was being picked up so I had to move...
At the entrance I was met by a bunch of enthusiastic and very friendly volunteers who quickly handed me a box and I got going. There were fiction, non-fiction, paperbacks, hardcovers, sheet music, books on tape, children's books, first editions, some over-looked signed copies,  and every genre of book you can imagine. Some of them were so gently used, they may have not even been opened...  
It was such a blast. If you need to fill bookshelves this is 'the' event. Perhaps you want all blue books, or grey to match the colour theme of your living room..? Maybe you want all of your favourite classics, or you just need a bunch of books for five bucks to get you through the winter... This is the event to pounce on. Personally I felt like I had won one of those contests where you are allowed to run around the grocery store and fill up your grocery cart for free. It was quite the zippy adrenaline rush. 
And so, I will remain sufficiently nourished until the next big event and I am already on the e-mail reminder list. :) It was great getting the books, but to add to it all I felt really pleased to support the Kingston Symphony Association. I love that they do this once a year and I send out a heart-felt thank you to them and their very helpful and friendly volunteers.

Here are my newly filled shelves.

Books. I love them... for so many reasons. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Magic Fingers

These little ladies above introduced me to a strange term....

Finger-spitzengef├╝hl? Ever heard of it? Apparently it's this elusive quality rare book collectors may develop - or just naturally have - that leads them to finding jaw dropper books like Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming - first edition/first printing which just sold for $5095 for instance, or even to discover secrets about authors few of us have ever known. The two women above had it. They described it as, "a tingling of the fingertips (which) becomes an electrical current of suspense, excitement, recognition. In an artificially controlled voice, one of us calls to the other, 'Look! This may be something."

Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern spent their whole adult lives following the finger-spitzengefuhl and they discovered such gems as the fact that Louisa May Alcott was not only writing virtuous novels such as Little Women, she was also publishing under the pseudonym, A.M. Barnard. Under this name she published what was called "blood and thunder" stories about juicy topics such as, feminism, transvestitism and hash smoking. I bet the fingers were tingling when they found this out.

After I read their book, I became a bit obsessive. I thought for awhile that I had found a $20 000 Hemingway. But the more I learned the more I realized how impossible the odds are and how great the learning curve is. What I have discovered is how much I love the look of my favourite books on my bookshelf, and just how beautiful old books are. What was an obsession has now mellowed into something softer. I have become sort of romantically involved with the covers of books and the fact that each book holds a small universe of imagination within that I can pull off the shelf at any time and sit with while I drink my coffee.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hardy Boy Sundays

Sundays remain sacred days to me, all the way from my childhood until now. I spent my Sundays as a child being zipped around by my parents to church and relatives homes. We dropped in on everyone to say hi, and it was welcomed. I don't remember one Sunday of my childhood where we didn't share a dinner at someones house or have someone at ours. 
It was a check in day. We checked in on the people we loved. They checked in on us.

But admittedly the best thing about Sundays in my childhood was the television marathon of Disney, Bugs Bunny and then the thrilling Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mystery Show. Oh yeah! Where ever we happened to be a tv was switched on and we lounged while waiting for a dinner to be made. How we loved to be spooked by the Hardy Boys and Nancy. How I loved it when my dad would jump out and scare us, as the most suspenseful part of the show was playing. We screamed to the roof tops. We were bundled in the safety of family and play. 

So when I found the Hardy Boy series in the old hard-back form, I had to buy them. Again, just looking at the covers tickles me. I was able to get the whole series minus two, to which I will be seeking determinedly. Any help will be welcomed! :) Most of these books are in barely cracked condition and they are just beautiful. Some are rubbed and worn and still lovely.

And for all you Ontarioans, be proud to know that one of the ghost writers for the series, who wrote many of the first books, up to 19 I believe, was born and bred in Ontario. His name was Leslie McFarlane. He was considered the best too of the ghost writers,  and of course the poor guy received a mere pittance for his work and never got a royalty. But he sure thrilled generations of children.

If you want to come see these books, come visit me at the studio. I am collecting the Tom Swift series as well which is a whole other story.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Perry Mason Pulp

I haven't over analysed what it is about these pocket book mysteries that I seem to love, but I do love them. Maybe they just remind me of old photographs of my mother and my aunt decked out in their glam 60's attire?

In many ways these books, that I picked up a couple of weeks ago from a used bookstore, yet another used bookstore that is going out of business, delight me for their covers alone. I can't say that I've ever finished an Erle Stanley Gardner novel, and I do admit the titles are shockingly politically incorrect, but I like these little paperbacks anyway. Little pieces of pocketbook history. Small items of beauty like costume jewellry.

My home from work, sickish husband just walked by one of the books, read the title out loud and laughed. See, they're awesome!

I also like the line I just read in wikipedia discussing the rigid plot patterns that states,

"...a study of Gardner’s novels by critic Russel B. Nye did expose a pattern. Nye called Gardner’s novels as formal as Japanese Noh drama." Funny.

So. There are a bunch of these beauties at the studio now, along with some other new paperback children's novels I've acquired. Come on by and see them.

We have selected our opening times so if you would like to stop by the studio and see some of Annette's work and/or pick up a quick read come see us:

wednesday to friday 11 - 6
weekends and any other time by appointment.
We are located in Portsmouth Village in 'the little white house' @ 55 Mowat Ave. Kingston, ON Canada 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

i wanted to talk about my mission for the storybook robin. Where did this idea come from, and why oh why am I doing this and where is this going? maybe it doesn't matter to you (then i'd suggest you read no more,) but maybe you'd be interested in this little bit of history. 
i like story, so maybe you do too?

this year has been a strange year where i've had a bit of a curse with my health and in the end a blessing. the blessing is that i've been given time to do some of the things that i absolutely love. one is writing, and two is collecting old books. 

both are born in the blood. 

re: writing. i don't think there is one member of my fathers side of the family that doesn't write - hasn't attempted it anyway. we write. all of us. 
re: old books - on that same side of the family we all like old things - maybe because we are becoming 'old thangs.' but all of us seem to be collectors of some sort - maybe a little OCD? as long as it's managed it is wonderful though, right? if it's not, it can just become a bad case of hoarding. :) 

in the storybook robin case i can assure you it is an art form that will be organized nicely and will offer a wide variety of books from escape reads to vintage beauties.

i'll tell you about the storybook robin now. 

to begin with i live in an absolute gem of a community. we have it all. good neighbours, the lake, an eclectic array of homes where no two are alike, we have a tavern, a walking trail, a post office... it goes on and on. but the one thing we do not have is a library or a book store. so that is where the storybook robin emerges.

it emerges from a passion for books, especially old tattered books - admittedly children's being my favourite. it will be built on the desire to give community a meeting hub to re-energize in the gentle art of reading and perhaps, just perhaps, the thrill of discovering an affordable gem. i believe that where quality literacy exists, people have the resources they need to build imagination, grow culturally and build a rich and vibrant community.

so i reclaim books. i pick them like golden apples.... from flea markets, yard sales and auctions and i now offer them to you. that's what i've been doing. and i now offer this to the community with pleasure.